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Saffron Walden Horticultural Society


This guide has been compiled to help those members who grow flowers or produce but are deterred from exhibiting in our shows because they do not know what is required. The regulations for showing and the wording of a class should be carefully read before staging, as it is most disappointing for the exhibitor as well as the judge if the card is marked N.A.S. (not according to schedule). Exhibits should be named where possible, (this could affect the judge’s decision). If in doubt ask a steward or committee member.


Daffodils (Narcissi) are classified into 13 Divisions by the RHS, of which the principal ones are:
Division 1 Trumpet daffodils, the trumpets being as long as or longer than the petals
Division 2 Large cupped daffodils with cups shorter than the petals but longer than one third of the petal length
Division 3 Small cupped daffodils with cups less than one third of the petal length
Division 4 Double daffodils

Detailed Drawings of Daffodil Divisions

diagram of daffodil divisions 1-6 diagram of daffodil divisions 7-13

A good show bloom is rounded and has a clear colour with flat and evenly overlapping petals with the minimum number of nicks, tears, etc. Flowers should be clean and at right angles to the stem. The largest flower is not necessarily the best, as varieties differ in size and this is noted by the judges. Show vases are available at the shows.

Miniature Daffodils can be from RHS Divisions 1-13 and should be from the Daffodil Society approved miniatures list, which will be available at the shows or from a Show Secretary or can be downloaded here.


These should be clean, fresh, tender and without blemish. Root crops should be carefully lifted and sponged with cold water. Fibrous roots should be carefully removed. Exhibits should be covered to exclude light until required for judging. Uniformity is important.  Beetroot, Carrots and Parsnips should have their foliage trimmed to approx. 75mm long.


Select uniform size beetroot with smooth skin. Retain full length of tap root. For Globe type - not too large, approx 60 and 75mm diameter. For Cylindrical type approx. 150mm long. Judge may cut beetroot to check the internal condition.


Select good shape with fresh, solid heart. Retain surrounding leaves with bloom intact but remove outer discoloured leaves. Stage with approx. 75mm of stalk and head towards the front.


Select fresh roots of good shape, colour and size, free from side roots and from green at the crown.


Select heads with symmetrical, close, solid, white curds, free from stain or frothiness. Prior to judging exclude light from curd. Normally staged with approx. 75mm of stalk and leaves neatly trimmed back to the level of the outside of the curd.

Courgettes  Select young, tender uniform fruits approx. 150 mm in length or if round approximately 75mm diameter. Display flat and preferably with flower still attached.

Select fresh, young, straight fruits of uniform thickness, with short handles and preferably, flowers still attached.

French Beans/
Runner Beans 

Select straight tender pods of even length and good colour with no sign of seeds. Exhibit with stalk intact.


Select solid, thick, long-shafted, well blanched, tight collared leeks with clean, blemish free skins and no bulbing. Avoid excessive stripping of outer leaves. Wash carefully. Stage with roots to the front and foliage intact.


Select young, tender uniform fruits which should be less than 350mm long, or if round approx. 500mm in circumference. Stage directly on the bench after wiping clean.


For “dressed” (trimmed) class, select uniform well-ripened bulbs of good colour. Avoid over skinning. Necks should be firm and thin. Tops should be tied. Trim roots to the base of the onion. May be staged on rings or soft collars. For “as grown” class, wash and exhibit with leaves and roots intact.


Select well-developed, well-shouldered, smooth skinned white roots. Roots should be full length and free from side roots.

Peppers Select fresh, brightly coloured fruit – stage with stalk.

Select equally matched, medium sized tubers approx. 200-250g each with shallow eyes. Should be free from skin blemishes. Stage on plate. with rose end outwards. Cover with cloth to exclude light until just before judging.


For show purposes this is a vegetable. Select fresh, straight, long stalks. Trim leaves back to approximately 75mm, but do NOT trim foliage of ‘Forced’ rhubarb. Cut off any bud scales at the bottom and wipe clean.


Bulbs should be well ripened with thin necks. Remove loose skins and roots. Tie or whip tops neatly. Stage on dry sand in saucer or tray. Pickling shallots are subject to a ring size (check schedule).


Select fresh, cylindrical cobs with fresh green husks, intact silks and up to 25mm of stalk. Grains should be well set up to the tip in straight rows and contain substance of the consistency of cream. Pull down one or two husks to expose grains. Neatly tuck these husks under the cob.


Select medium-sized (approx. 60mm diameter), ripe but firm richly coloured fruit with fresh calyces attached. Avoid overripe fruit or those with “greenback”. Stage on plate with calyces uppermost.

(Small fruited/ Cherry) 
Fresh, ripe but firm, well-coloured fruits which should not exceed 35mm in diameter, with fresh calyces attached


Stage apples, pears and plums with the natural bloom on the fruit, they must not be polished. Fruit should be at least average size for the variety and perfect in colour form and condition. In culinary fruits size is a merit if quality is not lacking. Stage all fruit with stalks. Uniformity is important

Apples Select large, solid unblemished fruits of shape and colour typical of the cultivar with eyes and stalks intact. (to be staged eye end up)

Select large ripe fruits of good colour with stalks, calyces should look fresh and all point one way when staged.

Currants  Select large strigs with plenty of berries. Berries should be large, ripe and uniform on fresh stalks. Display on a plate, own foliage may be used for decoration.
Pears   As for apples, except that best arranged around the perimeter of a plate with stalks towards the centre.
Stone Fruit Select large, ripe, but firm fruits of good colour, carrying bloom and with stalks. Stage on a plate.


Freshness is essential. To obtain this, flowers should be cut in the evening or very early in the morning before the show and plunged in water up to their necks. Aim at uniformity when staging. Show vases are available at the shows.
Select flowers in good fresh “condition”, i.e. in the most perfect stage of its possible beauty and free from damage due to weather, pests and diseases.


elect clean blooms with florets intact, firm and free from blemish. Stem should be straight and proportionate to the size of the bloom and the bloom held at an angle of not less than 45 degrees to the stem. Stage with blooms all facing in the same direction, not touching and with a balanced effect. Retain some foliage on the stems if possible.


Same as for dahlias except that blooms should face up at 180 degrees to the stem. Foliage should be in good condition and retained on the stem.


Select straight, well balanced spikes still carrying bottom floret. Ideally one third in full flower, one third with buds in colour, and one third in green bud. Remove any secondary spikes.


Select blooms with a well-formed centre, free from blemish and with strong stems and healthy leaves.

Domestic Classes



No commercial markings on jars. Jams, jellies, marmalade and other sweet preserves must have wax discs and cellophane tops. Chutney and pickles must have vinegar-proof lids.

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