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Show off your best flowers in a show

Entering a flower or horticulture show is a wonderful way to showcase your favorite flowers and vegetables, measure your green thumb against other gardeners and learn more about plants in general.

And you can take home some great ribbons, prizes, or premiums along the way.

But taking part in a horticulture show takes more effort than just picking a beautiful rose or a ripe tomato the morning of the show. Every show has a schedule, which is basically the blueprint for that show.

The schedule details the show’s theme, registration and entry procedures and any rules specific to that show. The schedule will provide the kinds of entries accepted and any size or quantity stipulations.

So reading the schedule tells you what plants to bring, how to display, and how to prepare.

For example, there may be requirements as to the size of the rose or tomato, whether the stem may need to be attached to the zucchini or cucumber or even how many beans must be included. You’ll want to know if they accept your plant, so check for common themes like annuals, perennials, fruits or vegetables.

Some shows are quite specific to the type of flower — such as a hydrangea or a dahlia.

It’s also important to condition or prepare your entry to look its best. There should be no signs of disease or pests and any old flowers and dead leaves should not be attached. Leaves and petals can be carefully trimmed to remove all brown edges.

Plan how you will carry your entry to the show, so there is no damage during transportation.

Remember to label your entry. Labeling means providing the variety of flower or vegetable in addition to the name. Don’t just label a tomato without providing the variety, such as beefsteak, big boy or cherry. Flowers also, should have their variety name on their tag.

Most gardeners know what they plant — provide that information on the entry tag.

For tips on preparing for a show, go to http://go.osu.edu/flowershow.

Locally, there are two well received flower shows. The Gardeners of Greater Youngstown will hold their 57th annual Horticulture Show Aug. 20 and 21 at the Davis Center at Fellows Riverside Gardens. Details are on the club’s website — GG-YO.org. The schedule for the show can be downloaded. It is great fun for ALL ages!

The Canfield Fair provides many opportunities for agriculture competition as well as for backyard flower and vegetable gardeners. Visit http://go.osu.edu/canfieldflowers for details.

Gardeners take great pride in their efforts to nurture their favorite plants. Entering a local horticulture show is a way of sharing your passion with other gardening enthusiasts. You could take home new ideas for plants in your garden and maybe even a blue ribbon.

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