Most of the plants are looking even better 3 weeks after the show than they did last week and the one before that! I'm making a note for future shows to repot and begin show prep about 14 weeks before showtime. Enjoy the pics.
After our show had closed, and we were breaking down the tables and removing our plants, I gathered all my show plants to prepare and package them for the trip back home. I had a bag at the ready for all the blooms and bloom stalks that I needed to remove. After all the hard work getting the plants into bloom, it stings a little to remove them all, especially when you know that in another week or two those plants will look even better. But, it must be done if you don’t want to bring home any unwanted creatures. So, I began the sad task of filling the bag with all the pretty blooms, feeling a little heavy that they were destined for the trash can.
And then, lo and behold, a club member approached me, a glint in her eye. “Are you going to throw those away?” She asked. Of course, I said. “Well, can I have them?” She was really excited! I said sure, what do you do with them? Turns out, she is one creative lady. She takes all the blossoms and dries them to be reused in craft projects. Some of her handiwork graced the sales tables at our show, and it was impressive! I handed over my big bag of flowers to her, glad that they were getting a new lease on life. What a way to recycle!
Of course, many of the plants I'd been prepping for the show were just not ready in time. It's been a little over a week since the show, so I thought I'd show you some pictures of how the other little ones are looking. Enjoy!
The show was held in the Southpark Mall in Moline, IL this year, and what a huge turnout of exhibitors, visitors and shoppers! And definitely no lack of beautiful plants. It was just a gorgeous show! For those of you following along, there were several little miracles for me this weekend! Wow, what a surprise!
I ended up entering 17 plants into the show. Three minis went into the AVSA Collection class, 5 went into the special Magill Cup collection class, one was in an unusual container, 2 were vintage, 1 species and the rest were in regular classes.
Here's the breakdown:
BEST IN SHOW/Best Semi-mini: Rob's Fuddy Duddy
Best AVSA Mini Collection: Rob's Jitterbug, Dolores' Royal Prince, and Jolly Joy
Best Magill Cup Collection:
Rob's Fuddy Duddy (Not pictured here), Shirl's Cranberry Smoothie, Rob's Hummin'bird, Ice Storm and Rob's Boondoggle
17 Blue Ribbons
2 Best in Class
One Special Award/Award of Merit: S. tongwensis
Best Unusual Container
Runner-Up to Horticulture Sweepstakes
I know some of my nearest and dearest have already chastised me for boo-hooing before the show and then running away with all the awards. But, this is just another example of Murphy's Law. If I had extolled the greatness of my plants, I would've been knocked down a notch by fate. Three days before the show, there was no indication that my plants would have nearly enough bloom. I pulled out all the stops to get them ready, but it's a crap shoot, really. Some things work, some don't. I try to critique my plants realistically, but I did use to be an AVSA student judge, so I tend to critique my own plants more harshly than perhaps others do. And in all honesty, there were some really beautiful show plants that would have seemed just as appropriate on the winner's table. I'm grateful the judges were generous with my plants. I mean, who doesn't love to win? I felt that my plants lacked bloom, which they did to a certain extent but not enough to warrant a lesser ribbon color. Yes, there were many, many plants on the show tables with more flowers than mine. But, African violets in shows are judged on their own individual merits, and many things are taken into account (not just flowers). They aren't judged against each other until you get down to the "Best-of" awards. So, you never know. Every blue ribbon winner has just as much chance as any other blue ribbon winner to find a place at the winner's court. Kudos to everyone who made this a really special show.
I will be packing up the plants and heading off to the show in the next couple of hours, but can you believe I still don't know how many plants will make the final cut and be entered into the show?! I wanted to be optimistic, and I'd love to say that there are so many more that finally came into their own in the past two or three days, but no. Not really. I'm confident that the extra light, warmth and humidity did help, though. I had every intention of leaving the stand lights on all last night, but the birds (even though covered,) decided to sing at 2:30 in the morning. I was way too tired to search the house for another darker cover. It was a lot easier to just turn out the light! How's that for lazy?
Even though I'm disappointed and don't feel as though I have a good representation of the quality of show plants I'm capable of producing, I still love the process and the challenge of showing. Even when it doesn't go as planned, I still learn and enjoy it. And even if I don't come home with a bunch of ribbons, it was still worth it. I can't wait to see all the other lovely show plants and make a new list of my "wants." I'm also looking forward to hearing Barbara Pershing's informative talk. I promise to take lots of pictures at the show. And even after the show is over, keep checking back, because I know I will have a lot of show plant flunkies that I will definitely want to show off in the next couple weeks. Some of them are going to be knock-outs! Cheers!
By Amy Cash-Allison
It's all about the violets! :-)