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Grow to Know ~ Show to Share

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Horticulture Department

Since the beginning of OAGC, promotion of horticultural knowledge and interest has been a powerful force driving The Association’s motto “Knowing, Growing, Showing and Sharing.” To stimulate interest in gardening, the Horticulture department will utilize educational opportunities, competitions, horticultural sales and exchanges.

faqs about the horticulture department and horticulture shows

2024 Convention Flower Show ~ Horticulture

Zinnia haageana (Zin-ee-ah  ha-jee-AY-nah), Zinnia ‘Persian Carpet’ is the featured variety for Section B Annuals, class 10 in the 2024 OAGC Convention Flower Show Schedule ~ Horticulture.  This class is one of several that highlight the show’s theme, “It’s the little things”, as chosen by President June Gebhardt.  The specific epithet honors J.N. Haage (1826-1878), seed grower of Erfurt, Germany, although the plant is native to Mexico and is often called Mexican Zinnia.  

‘Persian Carpet’, an heirloom and 1952 All American Selections (AAS) winner, grows to approximately 16” tall and offers double and semi-double 2” blooms in warm, rich bicolors.  With approximately 85 days to maturity (direct seed) it should be in full prime for the show date!  Information on where to obtain seed can be found in the class listing on the schedule. 

Check out another featured class, Section H Container Grown Plants, Class 33 Tiny Plants, related to the show’s theme in the 2024 winter edition of The Garden Path



Q.  What is a flower show schedule?

  • A set of written guidelines containing ALL details necessary to help an exhibitor, either adult or junior, enter the show.  It should be studied early and often to make sure that class requirements are met.  Classes that require pre-registration ahead of the show date are noted.  Awards are also listed. 

Q.  Why do some classes require pre-registration?

  • Pre-registration ensures that ample space is provided on the show table.  Both of the pre-registered classes in Section I, Special Containers, have unlimited entries.  All other classes can be entered on a walk-in basis on the show date. 

Q.  How many exhibits can an exhibitor enter?

  • More than one horticulture exhibit may be entered in a class as long as each one is a different named cultivar or variety, inclusive of Section I Special Containers. 

Q.  Why does class 10 Zinnia haageana, Zinnia ‘Persian Carpet’ require three blooms vs one bloom (like all of the other classes for a round flower form)?

  • This variety has a smaller bloom, thus three displayed on the show table has a greater visual impact.  Of note, this variety is a seed mix so be sure to select three blooms of the same color and display them in one container. 

Q.  What does non-competitive mean for Class 28, Nature’s Oddities in Section G Fruits or Vegetables?

  • They will be on display only.  The entries in this class will not compete against a scorecard and be evaluated by a judge as such.

Q.  Why do container grown plants need to be in the exhibitor's possession for 90 days prior to entering? 

  • The time of possession demonstrates the grower’s skills regarding the plant's care during that time frame.

Q.  Can you explain how the exhibits in class 34, Container Miniature Garden are to be displayed as a table centerpiece on the day after judging? 

  • In keeping with the show’s theme, “It’s the little things” these exhibits will be featured as centerpieces on the ballroom tables.  Had they initially been placed there on the show date, it would be awkward to judge them while attendees are seated at the tables.  

Q.  I see that a Sweepstakes Award can be earned.  How does that work?

  • Each exhibitor whose entry earns a placement, also earns corresponding points.  Points are totaled as follows:  First - 5; Second - 3; Third - 2.  In case of a tie, honorable mentions will count as 1 pt.  Thus, this award, a rosette, is earned by an exhibitor whose entries earn high placements, not necessarily the exhibitor who exhibits the most entries.

Q & A for Cut Flower Specimens

~ Horticulture Exhibition ~

Q.  My colored vase pairs well with my cut flower specimen, so why should I display it in a clear glass one?

  • A:  The vase itself has no bearing on the evaluation of the specimen, however, a clear glass one allows the judge to visibly see the stem.  The stem IS part of the evaluation of the specimen.

Q.  I don’t possess a clear glass vase.  Can I use a plastic water bottle instead?

  • A:  While the bottle aligns to the clarity of the container, its rigidity is now in question.  A judge is permitted to lift the container off the show table, so it needs to be sturdy enough to grasp without expelling water.  Generally, water bottles do not meet this criteria.

Q.  Why is the specimen’s variety name needed on the exhibitor’s entry tag?

  • A:  Two reasons.  First, judging is based on the cultural perfection for the variety.  Without the variety name, a judge is unable to accurately measure that perfection.  Secondly, variety names also serve to strengthen the educational value of the show.  A viewer interested in growing that variety now knows its specific name. 

Q.  My flowering tree or shrub specimen is top heavy and my container wants to fall over.  How might I remedy this so I can still display it?

  • A:  Unobtrusive glass marble, pebbles, etc. may be used for ballast but not as wedging.  

Q.  What is wedging?

  • A:  Wedging is used in conjunction with the stem for the purpose of supporting the specimen so that its pose is at its best for evaluation by the judge.  Wedging occurs in the narrow neck of the vase, still allowing the stem to be viewed in its entirety from the front of the vase. 


Q.  What materials might be used for wedging?

  • A:  Sprigs of yew or other evergreens, styrofoam wedges, wooden wedges, cotton balls, bubble wrap, plastic wrap rolled into a ball, packing peanuts, triangle-shaped makeup sponges, etc.


Q What falls under the department’s direction? 

  • A:  The promotion of horticulture knowledge and interest in gardening, stimulated by the use of educational opportunities, competitions and horticultural sales and exchanges.  

Q.  What are some educational opportunities?

  • A:  Plant identification is taught by the chair at Exhibitors’ and Judges’ Schools.  Plants include a variety of flowers, herbs, container grown, grasses, trees, shrubs, foliage, bulbs, etc. and may cover newer varieties.  Instruction includes the plant’s description with emphasis on hands-on strategies to help retain identification.  

Plant ID
  • A:  Third Thursday Horticulture Tips, voluntarily provided by regional horticulture chairs, are for the current growing season and will change each month, every third Thursday.  Many tips include techniques for growing plants. 

  • A:  Regional horticultural educational exhibits are displayed at the annual convention and at regional meetings held in the spring and fall. The purpose is to share an aspect of nature or gardening worth knowing and to provide inspiration to cause an individual to learn more about the topic.

Educational Exhibit

  • A:  Horticulture related topics, written by the chair, are published quarterly in The Garden Path.

Q.  What is meant by competitions? 

  • A:  The department organizes and hosts the horticulture division of the flower show held at the annual convention.  However, participation in any flower show at any level (regional, county, club, home, fair, festival) is highly encouraged.  A show provides an opportunity for those with a passion for a particular show class(es) and a qualified entry(ies) to exhibit that which they have grown.  Evaluations, made by accredited OAGC judges, give way to ribboned placements and top awards.  Knowledge can be gained by exhibitors and show attendees when a show is open for oral judging.  

horticulture exhibits

Q.  How do horticultural sales and exchanges work? 

  • A:  Affiliated garden clubs who choose to conduct an annual public plant sale(s) will submit their sales information to both the Horticulture Department and the OAGC State Treasurer.  The treasurer will issue a Nursery Dealer’s Certificate, necessary to protect consumers as any plants sold may be subject to inspection by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.  OAGC covers the fee to provide this umbrella service for its garden clubs.  The Horticulture Department compiles the information into a database that is shared via to help promote the clubs’ plant sales to potential patrons.  

Julie Divelbiss

Julie Divelbiss 


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