AGS Shows: Online show.
Started by: Mel LinneyGo to latest contribution by Chris McGregor, 04 February 2010, 22:45. Go to bottom of this page.
I am happy to see that trophies will be competed for at this years online show, and hopefully at future competitions. I think it would also be a good idea to consider an award for the best submission to the Members online Discussion.
Good idea Mel, and it doesn't have to be anything fancy just a means of complimenting a fine effort.
And everyone else, only 8 on line entry posting days to go!
And now I see we get to have a popular vote on each class. Is that so we can see how often we agree with the judges expert opinion or vice versa:-)))
Great idea. Something to do on those long winter nights when the greenhouse is frozen solid
I agree Martin it is a good idea, though I have 'judged' the entries in the past just for personal interest and I havn't been too far from the official judging decisions. I'm not sure if that makes me competent or lucky! Lucky I guess.
Hello Martin and Mel,I see we have only just topped last years entry,I thought there would be many more entries this year,the new members judging will be interesting,Do we ever get to know the official judges ?,I never disagree with the judges decision at all.See you soon Tony.
From my last post on the 22nd entries have gone from 460 to 625,and very good images,The judges have a hard task,well done to all.
I've just sat, while listening to the radio, and paged through all the on line shows to date. It really is pleasing to see how this has grown since its inception. Well done Jim & the team.
Thanks Martin. The judges have finished judging and I just need to process the popular vote. Results coming in the next day or two.
I see the results of the online show have now been posted. I would like to congratulate all those involved for a splendid display. The judges must have had a very tricky task - thanks to them and Jim for all their hard work, and the exhibitors have produced a tremendous variety of plants and images. Particular congratulations must go to Brian and Maureen Wilson for an excellent set of photos of a wonderful collection of plants, in a beautifully designed and tended garden. It would be very interesting to see an article in The Alpine Gardener exploring this garden in more detail.
The only aspect of the judging which concerned me slightly was the number of entries which were NAS (not according to schedule). There are two main ways in which entries were adjudged NAS
a) because they were submitted in the wrong class, sometimes in a class which specifically excluded them. It seems to me that this is a show for all members of the society, and that not all of us are as well-informed botanically as the 'show fraternity'. It would be more forgiving, and perhaps more encouraging for new exhibitors, if in future shows an initial 'stewarding' pass was made before judging, and where NAS entries were identified, either the exhibitor was contacted (if possible ? I don't know whether their email address could be stored), or the entry was moved automatically to a more appropriate class. I was also puzzled that a cold-hardy cactus was adjudged NAS when I thought there had been recent movement at AGS shows to be more accepting of cacti.
b) because the plant was felt to be too large for an alpine show. This competition is not primarily for plants in pots, but for plants in gardens, and I feel the judgements about size ought to reflect that difference. The rules say the plants must be "suitable for cultivation in a rock garden of moderate size" but clearly, given the list of classes, "rock garden" must be extended to include other types of garden habitat including meadow settings and woodland beds. I would not wish to argue that large rhododendrons, for example, were suitable, but several plants were excluded which seem to me to be perfectly appropriate to a moderate-sized garden, including species peonies. If the judges wish to retain the same size restrictions employed at shows, then I would urge the inclusion of classes for 'larger alpines', with clearer indication of what the size rules are.
I should like to point out to the exhibitors that while this is not a photography competition, but one for plants, it is clear that care is needed when photographing the plants to portray them as best as possible. Pictures of groups of plants in beds should be composed so that the judges can see clearly the different plants, and how they are arranged. Pictures of individual plants should show as far as possible the whole plant, and not just a single flower or group thereof. The results demonstrate this clearly. It also helps if the photos are of a reasonable quality, showing the colour of the flowers, and avoiding distracting backgrounds; it certainly didn't hurt Brian and Maureen's cause that the photos of their plants and garden are so good.
Finally, I should like to observe that I personally consider, this show to be primarily for plants which cannot be taken to shows, e.g. because they are grown in the garden, or because they flower at the wrong time of year. So for me at least, when placing my votes, plants got a slight advantage for being in a garden setting rather than a pot or container, and in particular, plants in pots photographed at shows lost points for that.
Obviously these are personal opinions only; I would be interested to hear what other members think about the issues raised and suggestions made here.
Thank you for your kind comments, Jon, and thank you to the judges for all their hard work, and regarding our plants so favourably especially to the Gesneriphile judge for his comments in Class 86 (we are certain we know who you are!!)
This is not a gripe, but I would agree with Jon about the sizing of plants: fair enough the Cardiocrinum, but two others were considered too large which do not grow to more than 60 cm for us. Yes, they may grow taller in the wild, but what about all the others like some of the Rhodos, Daphne retusa (3ft wide with us), Frit imperialis etc which don?t get a mention in that respect.
I have already made some suggestions privately for ideas for future years, I would also add that I don?t think the same photograph should be allowed to be entered in more than one class, especially now that the numbers have snowballed. After all, you couldn?t do this on the show bench.
For the technologically challenged (i.e. me!) could I also make a plea for more precise instructions about entering pictures. Last year, I enquired and was told file size should ideally be around 200K, but that the software automatically adjusted the width. Being mindful of people still on ?dial-up? I complied with this request, only to find my vertical pics smaller than everyone else?s. It doesn?t seem to have made a difference, but a level playing field would be a good idea.
There may be more comments to follow, - haven?t had time to digest it all yet.
I must say that to see the plants in the on-line show is a real treat, especially at this time of year when thereis not a lot to see in the garden and cold frames. Congratulations to everyone who took part, exhibitors, judges and organisers, it is a very worthwhile opportunity to display alpines, especially those in a garden setting.
Taking up what John Evans said, I have to wholeheartedly agree with everything he said. Some of the NASs were a bit harsh and surely to move the pictures to the more appropiate class would have been easy and could have been mentioned on the website.
About size of plants, some were a bit big but the point was made that they were by and large alpine plants and being in a garden setting made them more interesting and it was possible to see those plants that are too big for shows.
I would agree about the exclusion of the Mammilaria, many Cacti and Succulents are true alpines, grow on mountainsides and freeze over in Winter and come up smiling in Spring. I have seen a few beauties in the shows and seen them win prizes too.
I agree with Maureen Brown about repeat pictures in the classes, in fact I raised it before. I feel that as a plant can only appear in one class in the National Shows, the same rule should apply to photos too.
These are not meant to be nit-picking comments but constructive criticism and I would not like to see the On-line Show abandoned simply because of criticism. It is a great thing and something to be proud of.
Finally I would congratulate the Browns on their fully deserved success in the show
...And I'm sure that Brian and Maureen WILSON would agree wholeheartedly, Liz!!!
Yes, Cliff, you are quite right, I got it badly wrong. I was so busy writing my thoughts that I could not remember the surname but I was not able to look back at the item to check what it was. However the sentiments are still the same.
For me this show is an opportunity to exhibit my plants mainly in a garden situation and without the constraints of too many rules. I don't have the space to grow too many plants in pots and I don't aim to grow that perfect plant. Nor do I have an alpine house to protect my plant from the elements. My garden and plants are for my pleasure. This competition is an aside that I enjoy throughout the year; taking the photos and then entering and awaiting the results.
I think one of the problems is the lack of consistency in the judging and interpretation of the rules over the years. In the first couple of years nothing was commented on by the judges and nothing was disqualified (NAS). 2008 saw the first judge?s comments and the first NAS and they have increased this year.
It seems that the judges have started to apply the rules more stringently this year. In the early years there were plants exhibited in the wrong class without comment yet they now receive an NAS. In 2008 a Dranunculus vulgaris received a third place but this year it is too large in one class but not commented on in another. This year an Alstromeria in class 7 ?rock plant not covered by a specialised class? was given an NAS for not being bulbous!!!
This lack of consistency in the judging is confusing.
As this is an online show the people entering have some abilities with a computer, and it isn?t difficult to do a search to see which family your entry belongs to. The AGS also give a guide to the classes. So I don?t think that the AGS should spend their time ensuring that plants are in the correct classes.
I think that plants should be allowed in more than one class if those classes are a specialised class and the second or third class is for a plant from a particular continent or one for foliage effect. For example a Primula species could be entered in its specialised class and also in one of the ?continental classes?.
Perhaps the show has gone through its honeymoon period and the AGS should have a look at the rules again and clarify some of the points raised in this forum.
This is a competition BUT PLEASE don?t spoil this show by making too many rules and turning it into a show for the specialist.
Great show. Congratulations to all the winners and also those who didn't win. I've often said it's the rest of the plants in a show that make it. If we only had the winners it would be a little boring.
I agree with the suggestion that as the show has grown it is perhaps time to consider restricting an individual plant to one class.
I also think we need to pay heed to the non national show exhibitors who paricipate and try not to get too serious about this. It is meant to be a bit of winter fun.
Having said all that I must take issue with a Judge's comment on one of my plants, Crassula socialis in Class 26. I agree that this plant is not hardy outside in the UK (including Devon!), but then neither are Dionysias or most Androsaces.
This plant is grown under cold glass along with my collection of Primula allionii, another group I wouldn't dream of trying to overwinter outside. It has survived 4 or 5 winters now and is perfectly happy with very low temperatures as long as overhead water is avoided and watering is carried out with caution. It appears to have survived the recent very cold weather here in the East Midlands except for one small corner which has been subjected to an overhead leak during the post that rain.
In conclusion it is winter wet that kills this plant, not cold.
Oops, last line of second last paragraph should read 'post thaw rain'
I thought long and hard before posting this as I realised it could appear to be
critical/defensive just by the nature of the written word - I truly have no axe to grind over the comments and take them as constructive, as I am sure most are meant. Jon asked directly for the thoughts of other members regarding the 'on-line' show and a few comments from others implied a tacit request by their content. As one of the judges I felt a need to respond. From the start I would stress that these are purely my thoughts, without AGS sanction. The judging process, at least from my part, is taken very seriously. There are several judges involved, I personally judged ever class but some of the other judges did a certain number each, guaranteeing that at least four judges presided over each exhibit ? at no time could we see the other judges scores but could see any comments they added (not all of which are still shown). The process may seem pretty straight forward but you would be surprised just how long it takes; (a bonus of the 'at home' nature of the judging is that it is easy to look things up - even then I made a mistake last year). At a National show one can look at all of the exhibits en-masse, on-line one has to scroll backwards and forwards between all of the entries to get the same feel - this takes days rather than just hours.
With Jons first point, I guess you're liking it to plants submitted in the wrong classes at National shows; as you will know, these entries are often moved by an accommodating Director of Shows to an area where the plant would be eligible - the problem with this 'on-line' is that the judges don't know who the entry is from (as with a National show, its totally anonymous) and as such will not know if the entrant has another plant already in a more suitable class. Jim McGregor - who wisely stays out of judging - is the only other person with official access and has far too much on his plate already to have time to do the 'initial stewarding passes' (which would take
hours) ... unless you can think of somebody who would like the job?????
NAS has always been a thorny subject and I will go out of my way to avoid giving them unless an exhibit is totally against the rules, though on occasions they are unavoidable. This links in with Jons next point - 'because the plant was felt to be too large for an alpine show'. It does say in the preamble of the competition 'Ever wondered how that plant in your garden would have fared at an AGS Show or did you have a potential star plant that never made it to a Show. - as such the competition is judged as if the plant was 'on the bench' at an AGS show, so even 60cm plants (MW) would look a little out of place; under the present rules anything deemed unsuitable for an Alpine Show would also be deemed unsuitable in this competition. I would never NAS an exhibit purely on size, unless it?s a 3 metre Rhododendron, though it does play a very big part in my thinking. Rule 20 talks of point allocation and out of the 10 available, 2 are for 'suitability' - any large plants would lose these 2 straight away; the same applies to hardiness (I know there is comment that we should not be too hard and fast with rules but unfortunately, as a assistant Director of Shows, I have a need to make sure they are applied and applied correctly - if the rules need changing then that is a different matter) Primula marginata will always be in a better starting position than Primula japonica or Primula x kewensis!.
As to your point on how you would have allocated points, I would agree wholeheartedly except there is no exclusion in the rules for pictures of plants in pots at shows and as such they were rightly eligible under the present rules and therefore needed to be judged objectively.
I can't find a cactus that was NAS - only the Echinocereus polyacanthus in
class 73 which had a comment that 'Judges felt this was unsuitable for an Alpine Show'; this would have down-pointed it but not totally excluded it (not NAS) so it was just seen as not worthy of an award. The comment about repeat pictures in several classes has obvious need for discussion. My view is that its OK ? the only reason that it?s not possible at a National show is because it is physically impossible to have the same plant in two places at the same time, obviously not a problem with a picture.
The Alstromeria was a plant which I personally asked for clarification on,
Alstromeriaceae is not on either the bulbous or non-bulbous list. After discussion it was obviously deemed to be bulbous and not suitable for the class it was entered in - the problem is that the comment said 'Alstromeriaceae not bulbous' but should have said 'Alstromeriaceae is bulbous, therefore NAS'.
Some of the decisions may seem harsh but it must be seen from both sides, if, for example, the Lilium regale or Veratrum californicum in class 61 were given 'Firsts', imagine the outcry from the exhibitor of the Uvularia who won the class - they could rightly complain that the exhibit was 'far too large' for the definition of the show, the same would apply to Fritillaria imperialis v's Fritillaria meleagris in class 64. As an aside, I have had more than one discussion at National shows that if someone has entered a plant into a class incorrectly that it should not be moved but instead given an NAS ? I do not prescribe this way of thinking but it does show ?both sides? of any decision that is made.
With regard to changing the rules, it would be very easy to 'knee jerk' and follow all the recommendations given but the silent, hopefully majority of exhibitors seem to be fairly happy with the present format (please let me know if that is untrue). Obviously things need to be tweaked or at least better explained but this can only be done by dialogue and these discussions go a long way to sorting things out.
I don't know why my previous entry appears like it does - it was not layed out like that.
Thanks Ray, it's good to hear the practicalities from the other side of the process.
When I finally get old enough to retire I could be tempted to take on the job of pre judging steward, you are right that it would be a significant effort and needs a separate individual. Sadly, unless ERNIE coughs up the jackpot there are a few years to go!
This has developped into a very interesting thread and I guess I can agree with a lot of what has been said from both sides, judges and exhibitors alike.
I did get some NAS' myself and on some I was surprised, on others I had myself to blame. As an overseas member I am definitely not familiar with the AGS show regulations and therefore have to live with the judges judgements. But I'm learning on every occasion and from every single remark.
Being rewarded with a ticket every now and then, largely makes up for the inconveniences.
Surely, there's room for improvement, but I'd like to state that I, for one, am already quite happy with the way things are at this point in time ! Judging must be a very difficult task which I don't envy !
Thanks for everyone involved in making this online show (The only one I can participate in) the succes that it already is !!
I agree totally Luc (and congratulations on your successes by the way) - this on-line show provides an opportunity for all members (near and far) to participate and to show off their beautiful plants and gardens. The rules seem appropriate and fair and, as always with these things, we should appreciate the efforts, time and input of the judges and accept their worthy judgements with a smile and a visit to the solicitor!
If their decisions are not acceptable or stir you to anger then it is very easy to withhold your entries from next year's competition - I haven't entered the artistic section at any AGS show for many years for just such a reason - but it really will be your loss - this is an excellent resource and a highly enjoyable novelty during the long winter break.
Hearty congratulations to all the exhibitors whether you managed a sticker or not.
A fascinating insight, Ray, into what goes on behind the scenes, and fair comment about size. Put it down to the fact that like Luc I have no experience of AGS shows but it is no excuse, as it is all there in the rules. No doubt there could be as many different opinions/suggestions as there are members who enter the show! As has already been said, we are all grateful to everyone who makes it possible and puts in so much time and effort. My motivation for entering is the fun of taking pics and the pleasure they may give to others. Incidentally, my favourite entry in the whole show is Michael and Caryl Baron?s trough entry in Class 5. MW
As one who has taken part in this highly enjoyable novelty as Cliff so rightly puts it from the begining, I was a little worried at the start of this thread that things may not be the same again,however since Rays intervention and the comments since I think we will all be ready to have another go this year (I have already taken my first entry).Thank you to Jim and the Judges,and well done to all exhibitors.
At the risk of digging this hole deeper, I would like to try to correct some misinterpretations of my original posting on this subject. I had no entries of my own in the competition, and am not an aggrieved exhibitor; I simply don't grow plants well enough to have images to exhibit.
As a regular visitor and contributor to the website, I have thoroughly enjoyed the online competition the last few years, and started out by expressing my gratitude to all involved for their hard work. It is particularly exciting to see how the number of entries has grown over the years. One of the pleasing things about this competition has been the lack of formality, which I wholeheartedly support.
This year, really for the first time, a number of entries were marked NAS. Although perhaps inevitable, given the increased number of entries, this seemed to me to mark a move away from the lighthearted atmosphere associated with the competition, and to be undesirable, both for that reason and because NAS judgements tend to be very discouraging, particularly to new exhibitors who are unfamiliar with national show rules and procedures - exactly the type of exhibitors I am so pleased to see contributing to this competition. When I first entered the artistic section at an AGS Show, one of my best entries was NAS, and the combination of embarrassment at my own incompetence and fury at the lack of guidance from a steward very nearly stopped me ever entering again. I certainly don't want to suggest an increase in rules or red tape; my posting was simply trying to explore ways in which these NAS judgements could be avoided.
Of course, a pre-judging stewarding pass would take time and effort, and should not be conducted by the show judges, but I think it would be worthwhile, and would be happy to contribute to such an undertaking. I don't know whether exhibitors could supply an email address so they could be contacted, or whether any issues found would have to be posted to the forum.
However, I would find it difficult as a steward to make judgements about size, as these seem to me to be very subjective. Personally, I would have no problem with Frit imperialis beating Frit meleagris if it was better grown/more attractive. The show rules are not very helpful in this respect (there is a link to Rules, Procedures and Definitions at the top right when viewing the show), stating only "all plants, including shrubs, suitable for cultivation in a rock garden of moderate size or in an unheated frame or alpine house". Judges bring an interpretation of this from the national shows, but it seems to vary somewhat between different classes of plant (maximum size for Fritillaria is different from that for Rhododendron or Daphne), and is based upon the maximum size to which the species/variety can grow, rather than the size of the specimen exhibited. I believe that further guidance on size is needed for the new and inexperienced exhibitors we see in this show, and believe that it would help them to have a definitive rule e.g. max 50cm in height / diameter (or 100cm!) than the qualitative one used at the moment. Personally I feel that this show, primarily for plants in the garden, could have more relaxed size limits than the normal shows.
[ Incidentally, the page of Rules, Procedures and Definitions linked to from the show is garbled, which doesn't help, with some rules omitted, and others repeated three times. It is clear from what Ray says that the show is judged according to the full set of normal show rules ].
Finally, I still don't understand why Echinocereus polyacanthus should be unsuitable for an Alpine Show, when other cold hardy cacti including Rebutia and Mammillaria are deemed suitable. It is certainly pretty cold hardy when dry - it survived -8C here last January, in conditions which killed many Mediterranean bulbs we see regularly on the benches, for example Romulea bulbocodium. It seems to me that we might see more cacti in this show - one problem with bringing them to normal shows is that in many cases the flowers are so ephemeral.
Anyway, it is clearly time to move on from this discussion. If everyone is happy with the current handling of the show, let's keep the status quo.
As a first time entrant of the online show, I found the whole thing quite enjoyable. I made a few mistakes and even got an NAS but that was entirely my own fault.
Looking through the results, I am confused by how much of the plant needed to be in the picture. There is nothing in the rules about this but some entries that only showed the flowers had comment from the judges wanting to see more of the plant, but some did not. Perhaps a requirement to show the whole plant might help.
The most most confusing judges comment was about by Tristigma sp. entered in Class 52. The stems are not triquetrous, the leaves are not keeled, the flowers are held upright rather than nodding but the judges think it is Allium triquetrum, a species that I am, unfortunately, rather too familiar !
Many thanks for the positive feed-back to my previous posting. A couple of other points seem to have arisen; how much of the plant needed to be in the picture and the acceptability of certain members of the Cactaceae. To take the first point (again as a judge), I agree that there is nothing in the rules to say that the whole plant must be shown but, taking the 'Ever wondered how that plant in your garden would have fared at an AGS Show or did you have a potential star plant that never made it to a Show' point really requires the whole exhibit to be seen. It would be easy to hide dead flowers, areas of die-back and signs of poor cultivation - if the specimen was drawn or perhaps chlorotic; this cannot be seen from close-up shots of flowers alone. A well established ?clump? usually shows maturity and implies a degree of cultivation competence on the part of the exhibitor. Cactaceae is perhaps a tricky subject in terms of the on-line show, if you look at the ?short botanical list of non-bulbous plant families and genera? in the rules section, Cactaceae does not get a mention. To have eliminated them altogether would have been wrong (under present AGS rules) but the inclusion of Cactaceae at any AGS shows is still one of contention (and perhaps needs discussion under another topic heading - but anyway....) It was long thought that as Cactus had their own society that the AGS would leave the showing of such to it. In recent years a number have appeared on the show bench in the foliage classes (Mammilaria plumosa springs to mind) and have done quite well. As such, the Show Sub-Committee decided to include classes for a limited number of genera -for those who show at National events, you will notice that the list genera from acceptable Families in the front of the shows handbook is followed by etc. with the Cactaceae it is limited to Mahuenia, Mammilaria, Opuntia and Rebutia - and that?s it. Personally (and I stress personally), I think the average AGS judge is ill equipped to judge Cactus, to most they are alien creatures from a completely different discipline. Sure, there will be some judges who know them well enough but I?m guessing they are in the minority. Jon?s point is extremely valid but without the necessary knowledge it is difficult to build any judging consensus when it comes to ?suitability? on the show bench and as such I?m sure that many acceptable specimens are overlooked or badly rewarded, correspondingly, I am also sure that a few, shall we say, less suitable exhibits have fared better than they should.The long and the short of it is that far more Cactus are unsuitable than those that are and I for one feel uneasy, on behalf of the average AGS judge, when presented with exotic looking exhibits.
I would like to offer a perspective from across the pond. We have no alpine shows ( that I am aware of ) in the US. I have no experience with plant shows or their classes or regulations. The photographs and articles contained within the AGS and SRGC bulletins concerning these events are my only source of information. I consider it an honor to have learned and experienced judges consider the merits and faults of the plants I have attempt to grow. My thanks to all those who help put this show together and to all members who enter. To see the plants and gardens from around the world is truly inspirational and on a dreary winters day that seems a good thing. Keep up the great work!
Thanks for your comments Ken. May I offer you my warmest congratulations on prize winning entry of Stellera chamaejasme. We have just obtained the mounted print of the painting that you have won and this is being put in the post to you.
Congratulations also to Brian & Maureen Wilson on their winning entry. You will also be receiving your print shortly.
I shall look forward to seeing all your entries next year.