Honolulu flower show draws best judges


POSTED: Friday, April 10, 2009

It takes a lot more than an appreciation of pretty flowers to be a judge at a competition on the level of next week's Triennial Flower and Horticulture Show at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.





        » On view: 10 am. to 4:30 p.m. April 17 and 18; and 1 to 5 p.m. April 19

» Place: Honolulu Academy of Arts


» Admission: Free


» Call: 532-8700




Evaluations are based on properties of design such as balance, contrast, dominance, proportion, rhythm and scale, as well as elements of design including color, form, light, line, pattern, size, space and texture.

Judges must be approved by the Garden Club of America, according to Paulette Stone, the event's co-chairwoman. “;Becoming a GCA judge takes a long time—often six to 10 years,”; she said.

An invitation to judge such a show is treated as an honor—to the point where all 65 judges are paying their own way here from the mainland.

“;There are two major shows in the Garden Club of America that are the best ... one is the Garden Club of Honolulu and the other is the Memphis show,”; said Bonnie Martin, a judge coming from Memphis.




        The Garden Club of Honolulu



Martin has won awards for her arrangements all over the United States. She has also written gardening books and served as a GCA officer in various capacities.

Honolulu has its share of qualified judges who are often invited to shows on the mainland, but they do not judge local shows. “;According to GCA rules, judges for a major flower show must come from clubs other than the club sponsoring the show,”; said Stone.

Lee LaPointe, a judge coming from Nashville, said she treats each show she judges as a chance to build on her own skills. “;It's exciting to view and appreciate the creative designs of the exhibitors,”; she said. “;There is always the opportunity to learn from the exhibitors and the other judges.”;

She's looking forward to new experiences in the islands. “;I have heard the abundance of gorgeous fresh tropical flowers is not to be believed.”;

The academy will be transformed into a men-agerie of living sculptures for the judges' review. Arrangements consisting of floral and plant material will be created onsite prior to the opening.

Almost all of the entrants are local, although 12 mainland entrants will compete in the “;In the Queen's Garden”; and “;High Tea with the Alii”; categories. Mainland competitors are also up for prizes in the photography and botanical jewelry divisions.

Judges will also compete in an “;Iron Chef”;-like challenge to create an arrangement that depicts the show's theme—using floral material, containers and supplies provided.

Horticulture exhibits will include an array of single plants, such as orchid, kukui and ti, that entrants have grown for at least three months. Another show category features plants owned for at least 15 years. And this year, an ethnobotany exhibit will feature plants brought to Hawaii before 1900, that were used by a single culture. “;It will feature plants used by Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese immigrants,”; Stone said.

Gail Emmons, a judge coming from Florida, is looking for harmony when she reviews the arrangements, making sure that the components of the design are in balance. She has won several awards and lectures in Japan and South America.

“;I look forward to seeing the creativity of each design and try to get into the head of the person who created the design,”; Emmons said. “;The fact that the show is in Hawaii makes it very special and unique. The tropical island feeling is always in play.”;