Why enter daylily shows?

Why enter daylily shows.
H. ‘Topguns Eye Popper’ exhibited by Brenda Jindra and hybridized by Bob Scott who lives in Oklahoma. I’ll be buying this one I think.

You know I love my Hemerocallis. In fact, I am a bit of a Hemnut.

H. ‘Primal Scream’ exhibited “on vase” by me. Second place isn’t very good, but I lost points due to grooming (or lack thereof).

However, I never entered a daylily show until yesterday. I always enjoyed seeing others’ flowers, but I, selfishly, didn’t want to cut my scapes. I was also a wee bit intimidated  because I knew nothing about showing. Last week, though, a plea went out from the club asking for us to enter. I decided this was the year. Please, feel free to laugh as you read.

H. ‘Killer’ (Stamile 1992) in my garden

I took ten or twelve different AHS registered flowers, and by the time I escorted them to the exhibition hall to be prepped, two already had broken petals. I threw away H. ‘Karen’s Curls’ because it looked pi-tee-ful. My friend, Laurie Barger, entered ‘Karen’s Curls’, and it won as best Unusual Form. I went ahead and displayed H. ‘Killer’ because I wanted the public to see a truly sunfast purple. After judging, the show is open to the public for viewing, and seeing all of these flowers is a good way to get to know daylilies which perform well in a particular area. This is one of the reasons we show them. Daylilies aren’t too inspiring when held as a double fan. So, I didn’t know what I was doing, and everyone was trying to help, but they had flowers to prep too. I used other members’ tools, and I thank them. I didn’t even have the first clue how to complete the entry forms, but thank goodness Stephen Durham and Laurie showed me how, while Nick Barger ran back and forth to the computer to get section numbers for proper placement. Finally, my flowers, for better or for worse, were placed, and I couldn’t do anything else to them. About that time, Clint Barnes, who owns Prairie Lace Gardens, came bearing his flowers (dozens it seemed). I stood and watched him prep his daylilies with the utmost care, and I paid close attention. Once he finished, they looked as if he’d just picked them, as in “fresh,” a term used by daylily judges a lot. I then realized I need lots of practice. Laurie asked if I wanted to clerk for the judges. Right before I headed off with ribbons, stickers and hole punch in hand, she said to remember not to get my feelings hurt. I didn’t know what she meant, but I nodded.

H. ‘Banana Pepper Spider’, another one I fell in love with. They blooms were huge, and just look at that green.

The clerk silently follows the judges as they make their determinations. Dean clerked with me as it takes two. I learned so much from the three judges’ comments about presentation. The judges can’t touch the vase or the flower, so Dean or I turned the vase for them to see all around the scape (stem) because daylily judging isn’t just about a pretty face, but also plant habit and grooming.

Perhaps I’ll enter H. ‘Jedi Tequila Sunrise’, but if I had a double bloom like this, I would remove one. Judges don’t like touching blooms.

Daylilies shouldn’t be over half bloomed, and a scape with more buds (that don’t interfere with the flower) is better. Later Nancy K. told me why. “Your first flower is your biggest flower.” All these years I’ve grown daylilies, and I never knew. Bloom scars must be trimmed to look as though the spent bloom has just fallen. However, scapes should not be over groomed. If possible bracts should be left intact unless they are brown. If you must trim them, they should be trimmed to a point. Complicated, isn’t it? The flower should have the correct form for its type, and its color should be vibrant and rich. Washed out blooms need not apply.

Or, maybe H. ‘Vatican City’, but not this one. See the blotches on the left sepal? Judges don’t like blotches, and who can blame them?

The judges don’t look at the blooms to see if the flower is a new cultivar, or one they particularly like; only that it corresponds to type. I can attest they don’t pick favorites, and often, an older daylily wins simply because the form is perfect. H. ‘Brown Witch’ is a good example. The judges loved the bloom, and I’m sorry I forgot to take a photo of it. I just hate that daylily. The funniest part of the show for me and the most humbling was when they got to one of my blooms, I don’t remember which flower. Having heard a lot of people were showing for the first time, they were especially kind, but coming onto this one, the judges’ expressions bordered on horror. They sighed about how the scape was mostly bloomed out, and said the grooming was “deplorable.” Inwardly, I cringed as they continued, but I said nothing because the clerk is to remain completely silent. Besides, what could I say? Finally, one judge turned to me and asked if the club had a grooming class this year. I didn’t know because I hadn’t been to a meeting recently (too much going on at home). Dean spoke up and said, “Yes, the last meeting was an education meeting on grooming for those who came.” Now, don’t think Dean was getting on to me. He wasn’t. The entry forms are folded so that no one knows whose entry it is, so he didn’t know it was mine. I bit my lip, turned scarlet, and we all thankfully moved on. I hope, by now, you’re laughing. It’s good to be humbled once in awhile. Keeps the mind fresh, and I soaked up every bit of information I could from those judges. Next year, with my new grooming kit, I’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

Clint Barnes with H. ‘King Kahuna’ behind him. He won two purple ribbons, and his name will be engraved on the silver plate which remains on display in COHS’s case.

By the way, several of our members won prizes. Clint’s flower, H. ‘King Kahuna’, a double, won “Queen of Show” which means it was the best of the best. Laurie won two medals, and I know Judy F. also won. I’m sure I’m leaving someone out, but if they will just comment, I’ll add them too.

Laurie with one of her winning entries. I can’t remember the cultivar, but perhaps she’ll tell us.

There are also entries for best display which is interesting and difficult because daylilies, being so water soluble, only last a little while. Below is one of the winning entries. I think the theme was “photo finish” or something similar. I thought it was beautiful.

Winning entry

Laurie sent the show results, and they are as follows: Best In Show:    “King Kahuna”, Crochet, 1994), Clint Barnes, Exhibitor Section 2 – Best Large Flower    –     Siloam Pink Platinum, Henry, P. 1998, Clint Barnes, Exhibitor Section 3 – Best Small Flower     –     Flash Force, Santa Lucia, 1995, Laurie Barger, Exhibitor Section 4 – Best Miniature Flower –    Siloam Tom Howard, Henry, P. 1985, Clint Barnes, Exhibitor Section 5 – Best Double, Polymerous and Multiform Flower    –    King Kahuna, Crochet, 1994, Clint Barnes, Exhibitor Section 6 – Best Spider Flower    –    Rococo, Biery, 1972, Brenda Jindra, Exhibitor Section 7 – Best Unusual Form Flower    –    Karen’s Curls, Reinke, 1997, Laurie Barger Exhibitor The Howard Memorial Award – Peach Whisper, Stamile, 1991, Judy Farabough, Exhibitor. The Howard Memorial Award was established by the Central Oklahoma Hemerocallis Society in 2001 as a memorial for two longtime members: Howard Estes and Howard Brown. The cultivar selected by the judges must be a Purple Ribbon winner exhibited in Division I, Section 2: Registered Large Flower. In addition to having the winning exhibitor’s name added to the Howard Memorial plaque, the exhibitor shall be awarded a $25.00 daylily gift certificate.


  1. Brenda says:

    Thanks for the honest report of how it really feels to enter your first daylily show. I remember feeling just like you when I entered my first show. Wilma Marley taught me how to groom daylilies. She used to enter nearly 100 varities, it seemed, and they all looked great. I don’t know how she had time to groom them all. Our flower show this year was extra special since we had more club members participating. I’m so glad you entered!

  2. Laurie says:

    This is one of the best articles I’ve ever read! Grin!

  3. marnie says:

    I’m intrigued. I would love to learn how to groom a daylily for a show. I don’t think we have a show in this area, if we do it is a well kept secret.

    This was a really interesting post. A lot to learn and a lot to think about.

    Marnie, I’m so glad you liked it. It was all very exciting.~~Dee

  4. Grin. As a judge I find it very amusing to read about a newbie who entered for the first time. I’m a cat judge but after reading your account judging cats or flowers are not all that different.

    Yolanda, it is very much the same I’m sure.~~Dee

  5. Fascinating! I had no idea the first bloom was the largest. I’ve been to quite a few Daylily shows, and this has been very educational.

  6. Gail says:

    Dee, Good for you for entering! It does seem funny to think of grooming a plant, but I remember at the Daylily Society meeting that members talked about all the tricks they had for transporting plants to the exhibition hall, getting out in the early morning to pick blooms by torch light and having their flowers break on route. They all laughed so hard, I think a sense of humor is greatly needed! I will say that your flowers all looked beautiful in your garden and ‘Primal Scream’ is one beauty that I will have to find spave for~Maybe I won’t be breaking up with daylilies after all;) Still wending our way home from my delightful OKC vacation. xxgail

  7. What a great experience Dee. With this experience behind you, you will be much more confidence and knowledge for next year. H.

  8. Daylillies are a favorite of mine. Competition would be very scary for me too. But you learned so much. And that just makes it more fun.

  9. Carol says:

    Sounds like a fun way to spend a day. Good for you for trying. Can’t wait to find out how you do next year with your grooming kit and your new knowledge!

  10. MA says:

    I loved banana pepper spider! But what a hoot.I hope you clean up your daylily act you hemnut.

    I learned a lot from this post.

  11. How do you learn which reds and purples are colorfast? Because mine certainly aren’t, but the best daylilies for OK are probably not the best ones for upstate NY.

  12. You’re right, Dee – it’s hard not to laugh when anyone unravels the minutiae of a new world… isn’t that newbie versus obsessed professional thing the basis of 1/4 of comedy movies?

    We’ve gone to daylily shows at Zilker and admired the different varieties (yellow spiders are the ones I covet, too) but did not realize all the work that went into them before the judging.
    Your daylilies look great from here!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  13. Pam/Digging says:

    Grooming, who knew? I think it’s great that you took a chance and entered, Dee, and 2nd place sounds like a good result when you didn’t even know what you were doing. Yes, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with next year.

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