SOOKE GARDEN CLUB: How to put your best zucchini forward

Loretta Fritz | Contributed

Wow, what a summer it has been for heat-loving plants! Roses have been spectacular, tomatoes and cucumbers are still heavy on their vines, and the green beans just keep coming.

It won’t be long, however, before cooler temperatures settle in and the production of new blooms slows or ceases altogether.

Nevertheless, September is a welcomed and beautiful transition month. In the fruit/vegetable garden, harvesting of summer crops is in full swing, cool weather greens are again flourishing, and emptied beds are being prepared for winter and spring crops. On the ornamental side, dahlias are at their peak, grasses are glowing, and leaves are beginning to turn.

September is also the month for many fall fairs. There the bounty of summer is on glorious display, and award ribbons signal to everyone the best items in each category.

But what makes one chrysanthemum better than another chrysanthemum or one display of three apples superior to the other groups of three apples? Why does one entry get a ribbon, but not another one that is just as big or just as pretty? What separates a first-place display from a second place display and a second place display from a third-place display? In short, precisely what are judges looking for when they examine all of these entries?

This month’s presentation at the Sooke Garden Club is entitled The Parlour Show Live. Many garden clubs hold parlour shows as part of their regular meetings. These are friendly competitions designed, in part, as practice for entering fall fairs and other plant exhibitions.

Drawing on decades of collective show judging experience and using displays from the evening’s parlour show to illustrate, Jacqueline Bradbury and Caroline Haywood will tackle the questions listed above. They will explain the criteria that judges use to award ribbons and the questions they have to ask themselves when making what are often difficult decisions. They will also talk about the value of parlour shows as a means for club members to have fun, show off, and learn from experts as well as each other.

Join us on Septe. 27, 7 p.m., at St. Rose of Lima Church on Townsend Road. In addition to the parlour show, potato contest winners will be announced. Photo contest entries are due. New members are always welcome. Questions? Visit our website at sookegardenclub.ca or email us at sookegc@gmail.com.

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Loretta Fritz writes for the Sooke Garden Club.