While the judges looking over the entries at the Fort Dodge Federated Garden Club Flower Show at the Crossroads Mall have to go by appearance, that’s not always the case for a few who are tempted by the edible entries.
Sela Bryhne, a club member from Fort Dodge who was helping a group of judges by tabulating their ratings explained.
“Little kids will come along and eat it,” she said.
The judges are kept from temptation by a strong sense of professionalism and another factor.
“We treat them to lunch,” Bryhne said.
To keep the contest fair, none of the club members are allowed to judge the entries, instead, judges are gathered from far and wide.
Julienne Bramer, of Greene, was among the group of judges Bryhne was recording results for.
She, like all the judges at the show, have taken extensive training courses and ongoing education classes to be able to judge shows. Bramer will admit she has her own preferred flowers. She won’t, however, say what they are. She is, after all, judging.
“Our personal preference is not supposed to influence us,” she said.
Lunch might though. Fellow judge Victoria Rute, of Spencer, explained the pay scale.
“We judge for food,” Rute said although none of that includes the heirloom tomatoes or egg plants.
Club member Jan Krass, of Fort Dodge, had seven entries in the show. She did well.
“Five of them got blues, one of them got the petite award and an award of distinction,” she said.
So how many hours of work are involved? A lot.
“I can’t even put a number on it,” she said.
Her entries start with a concept or idea that she then needs to put into a creation, each item in the display is carefully considered and planned.
“You have to think about it and plan it out, even just getting the right color for your backdrop,” she said, “It’s a thoughtful process.”
In spite of the advance planning, some of it is still comes down to the wire.
“Some you cannot do until the last minute,” Krass said as she pointed to one of her displays, “I put it together when I got here this morning.”
Krass began designing in 2001. She said it’s an ongoing process of learning.
“In my case, from my errors,” she said.
She has taken one of the courses required to become a judge, although not for accreditation.
“I took it just to learn,” she said.
Audrey Elliot, of Webster City, had a good reason to drive to Fort Dodge. The flower show was it.
“It was my main purpose,” she said.
She liked what she saw.
“It’s a lovely show,” she said. “I enjoy it very much.”
Carlos Sanchez, of Fort Dodge, was also enjoying the show. He stopped to look at the flowers while taking his break from selling remote control helicopters.
Sanchez stopped to take a few photos with his phone. He grows flowers at home
“For my wife,” he said.
His favorite, and hers, roses.
The show continues today from noon to 4 p.m.