Benching Camellias

a. Read the show schedule carefully.  It is the judges guide as to any special rules applying to that show. For information on Camellia classes, see the Camellia forms and sizes page.

b. A bloom should always be benched (staged) according to its own form and size, regardless of what the literature says about that cultivar.  Check whether the schedule has a class for that named variety, as usually a single bloom cannot be entered outside of its named class (if one exists), but can be in collections.

c. Judging is done by comparing the bloom to what a perfect bloom of that cultivar (grown in the area) would be like.  For example, a near perfect but small bloom of `Betty Sheffield Supreme’ entered with small informal doubles would be a “poor” specimen of its variety.  However since judging includes all features of the bloom (Form, Condition, Colour and Markings, Size, Texture & Substance and Presentation), it is finally the decision of the judge.

d. The leaves (preferably 2) should be clean.  Any damaged leaves should be removed and can be replaced with others from the same bush.  The leaf stems can be twisted so that the leaves face upwards with about 120° between them (like ears?), or they can be removed and placed separately.  If two blooms are judged as equal, it could be the leaves which determine the winner.

e. The bloom should be placed in a container of appropriate size so that it “looks” at the judge.  A judge is not permitted to touch or move a bloom, so any blemishes should be concealed at the back if possible.  Weather damage is usually unavoidable and is generally not judged severely.  The leaves can be used to support falling petals.

Not looking at the judge

Looking at the Judge

f. Rules do vary from show to show – grooming (removal of petaloids, pinning, etc.) is permitted, provided it is not apparent to the judges.

g. Collections are judged according to their overall effect, as a group of blooms, not (just) the perfection of the individual blooms.  Some shows will not consider blooms in collections for champion, so it is usually best to exhibit what you believe to be a potential champion as a single bloom, rather than as part of a collection.