In preparation for our upcoming Daffodil Show, we wanted to give you some guidelines to help you with your entries:
1 - Look for a straight, untwisted stem long enough to be in proportion to the flower. The daffodil should be at an approximately 90 degree angle to the stem, so that it looks directly at you, not up or down, when held at eye level (exceptions: a group of small flowers, sometimes more than one per stem, that are naturally pendulous and easily recognized).
2 - The bloom should be fresh, with good thick substance, NOT with crepey texture, faded color or browning perianth (petals) edges. The overall color(s) of the perianth and cup should be crisp, even and clear.
3 - There should be no torn petals, cuts, rain spots or dirt evident. If the perianth has "thumbs" where a petal has gotten stuck while opening, don't try to fix it. If everything else is perfect, show it "as is", and hope for the best.
4 - It is possible to round out a slightly mashed looking cup by gently shaping it with your fingers. Orange and red cups burn easily in the sun, so keep track of them and as soon as they open, cut and bring inside.
5 - Wash dirt off carefully with water or milk and brush lightly. If stem is split or curled at the base, recut it. It is possible to very carefully smooth petals into place with fingers, and also to twist the flower even more carefully so that it is correctly placed on the stem. Try it with a flower you won't show to see how it works.
CUTTING FOR THE SHOW
The day before the show, carrying a sharp knife, indelible ink pen, and container with two or three inches of water, go out to the garden and look critically at each candidate. Cut the stem as far down as you can, being careful not to damage the bulb. Write the name of the daffodil (with classification, if you know it) on the stem and put into the water immediately. Bring your flowers into the house, cut stems once more, put into tepid (80 degrees) water for a while, then into 3 inches of cold water to harden. Daffodils can be kept for several days in a refrigerator (non self-defrosting is best). Failing this, put a damp bath towel into bottom of your fridge and put daffodils, properly placed in coke bottles or the like, on bath towel.
The morning of the show, transport your flowers, each in its own bottle and wedged with cotton or other material so as not to wobble. If you have the name of the daffodil, there will be copies of the ADS booklet "Daffodils to Show and Grow" available. In this, you will be able to find the division and the color code applicable to your entry. If you are unsure of the name, our panel of experts will be there with their classification books ready to help you.
The show will provide the containers and the wedging material they wish you to use. Carefully place your flowers into the container and try to have it looking its very best. Never place it so that most of the stem is in the water and the head (flower) barely above the container. For miniatures, small containers will be provided.