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2001 Paul Barlow

Staging blooms for exhibition

staging-intro.jpg (21018 bytes)

Good blooms that are well staged will take some beating on the show bench. Chrysanthemums are usually exhibited either one, three or five blooms/stems in each vase.

Three blooms per vase

3blooms.jpg (29029 bytes)

When staging 5 blooms there's no choice about how we position the blooms - 3 at the back and two in front. With 3s we have two choices, what I call 'two up and one down', and '1 up and 2 down'. There are definitely times when one style can be used in preference to the other. For instance, with one bloom larger than the other two I would put this one at the back and the two smaller blooms lower at the front, the reverse is true if one bloom is smaller than the other two. When all blooms are uniform in size the we have a choice how to place the blooms in the vase.

Staging six vases of three
6x3a.jpg (25649 bytes) If the class requires six vases then other choice we can make is how to arrange the vases on the showbench. We may find that space is limited and we are forced into three rows of two, at other times when space is plentiful then the 3-2-1 style might be most appropriate. These pictures show the the real thing in two of the options mentioned. 6x3b.jpg (28599 bytes)
Three rows of two Exhibits with three blooms per vase 3-2-1 in 'two up one down'

Five blooms per vase

Staging 3 vases of 5 is probably the most common multivase entry for most of us. I like to be able to view my entry from the side if possible, and this is what I'm looking for.

3vases.jpg (20675 bytes) I try to imagine a straight line as shown on the diagram. You might think this is an obvious outcome after staging the three vases, but it's not always the case. When the staging is not uniform - in other words the drop between top row and middle and middle row and bottom is not the same it will be necessary to stage at slightly different heights in order to get the exhibit to look right. This does mean deciding in advance the order that the vases will be staged.

Positioning blooms in the vase

With 5's I like to see the back row as a gentle curve, the centre bloom an inch or so higher than the two side blooms, this is why cutting all blooms to the same height is important. In most cases, with mediums at least, without any further trimming the natural splay of the vase will ensure that the two side blooms fall nicely below the height of the upright centre bloom. It doesn't always work but in the majority of cases it works out just right.

5blooms.jpg (21377 bytes)

The front two blooms are staged lower again, sufficiently low to expose about three quarters of the back blooms. The blooms being spaced such that the stem of the centre back bloom is visible and the back bloom itself is centrally positioned above and between the two lower blooms. I like to see for a gentle slope from back row to front row - not a step down caused by significant differences in heights . Front blooms which are too high such that they obscure the back blooms is equally as bad.

In this example the staging isn't too bad. Front blooms could possibly be a little lower.

'Peter Rowe'
Best Vase Incurved
N.C.S.  Early National 1991
new peter rowe.jpg (35859 bytes)

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Last updated on 26 December, 2001