Floral Design & Flower Show Committee

Tips for Exhibiting

From Olive Coghlan GCA Rules for Flower Arrangement

  1. All arrangements must include fresh and/or dried plant material. Artificial material is NOT allowed.
  2. Fresh material must be in water or conditioned to remain in pristine form while on exhibition.
  3. Live animals (including fish), taxidermy and natural bird's nests are NOT permitted.
  4. Mechanics should not be visible unless they are an integral part of the design. Plant material may not touch the table.
  5. An entry must be arranged by the exhibitor(s) under whose name(s) it has been entered. All participants must be listed.
Possible cautions: Although permitted (unless otherwise stated), the use of cut fruit and cut vegetables is discouraged and should only be undertaken with the proper treatment to prevent spoilage. Although permitted, the treatment of fresh plant material should be done with the utmost discretion. Important Points to Remember for Flower Show Entrants
  • A NOVICE arranger is a member who has not in any previous in-Club year received a FIRST in an arrangement class.
  • A member will remain a NOVICE for the full Club year, regardless of which month her first blue ribbon was awarded.
  • Read the Class Description and be careful to adhere to the directions, paying particular attention to size and content specifications.
  • While there is officially no limit on the number of members working on an exhibit, it is recommended that it be a maximum of three.
  • When doing a group entry, if any member of the group is not a NOVICE, the group may not enter a Novice class.
  • Entries MUST be presented for passing no later than the stipulated time. (usually 9:45 a.m. for a 10:00 a.m. judging)
  • Completed entry cards MUST be submitted with the entry. Please prepare these cards in advance. If you need help with this, please come before 9:15 a.m., as there is a limited number of passers. Know your entry number (available from Martha Wickenden).
  • List each plant material's common name and botanical name.
  • Good sources: The American Horticultural Society's AZ of Garden Plants; www.davesgarden.com
  • You are responsible for logging the entry in the red books. Out-of-club entries must also be recorded in the back of the red book.
  • Do NOT use plant materials that are considered "invasive".
  • Consider that the exhibit tables are 42" high, so check how your exhibit looks at that level.
  • It is a good idea to have some spare plant materials in case of damage in transportation. Also certain materials may not do well overnight (e.g. hydrangea).
  • You may use a 'title' card or photograph, if necessary, to help convey your interpretation of the class.
  • Plan ahead. Collect your container, oasis, props etc. a week in advance and start to think about plant materials and where to source them.
  • Strictly adhere to directions and dimensions and remember, no invasive plant material.
  • Feel free to work with a partner. Have fun!
  • Come with all materials identified - ask florist; check A-Z encyclopedia of Garden Plants (American Horticultural Society); t here are also wonderful resources online. Try an on-line resource, Dave's Garden Guide or The Better Homes and Gardens Plant Encyclopedia.
  • Google to find Botanical names.
  • Subscribe to GCA publications, including "By Design"

Flower Arranging Tips

By Daphne Townsend

  • Local supermarkets carry wonderful buys on flowers. Try Whole Foods, McCaffreys, and Shop Rite on Route 206.
  • When purchasing flowers, beware of stems that have had their leaves removed, the flowers may be old! If the flower is in bud form, it should be fresh. Bruised rose petals may be removed.
  • An elastic band may be placed around a tulip to keep it from opening. Add an English copper to the water and it gives strengths to the tulip stems!
  • Cut stems at an angle, it allows more water to enter the stem. Roses should be cut under water. When picking garden flowers, it's best to take the water with you! Their stems close quickly in the heat.
  • Pick flowers in the early morning or after 5pm. In the spring, when picking buds to force (forsythia, lilac or quince, etc.), the temperature must be 32 degrees or higher.
  • ALWAYS RECUT a stem that you have taken out of oasis and want to put back in another spot. If you cut a stem too short, put a toothpick in the end to make it longer.
  • In arrangements using just a few flowers, an odd number is usually more pleasing.• Determine the front of a flower with the prettiest side facing you, the same applies to branches.
  • Peel gladiolas to force open. This can be done CAREFULLY with lilies. Remove pistils from the lilies, they will stain your clothing. (If this happens, do not attempt to remove with water. Let it dry and then brush off.)
  • Florists have many types of greens but if you are as Scotch as I am you go to your own or a neighbor's garden. Suggestions: ivy, box, cherry laurel, helmlock, holly, pachysandra, leucothoe and ferns.
  • Use "Instant Oasis" and allow it to soak completely. This can take well over an hour! Tape to bowl if necessary.
  • Use a CLEAN bowl and CLEAN water. Remove all leaves that might be under water to avoid contamination. This also allows water to go directly to the flower. No side trips to the leaves first.
  • Start with greens to form the shape of the arrangement. Next add the flowers using the buds at the top and the larger flowers below. Lighter colors above and darker below. No two flowers should be at the same height!
  • Usually your arrangement should be about 1 ½ times the height of the bowl. (This does not apply to many modern arrangement styles such as pave.)
  • When using candlesticks an "o-adapter" can be placed in the spot for the candle. Fill this with oasis and place the candle in the center of the oasis–proceed with arrangement.
  • RELAX!

GCA Botanical Arts Rules & Guidelines

The Botanical Jewelry class features authentic looking jewelry designed and created from all dried plant material.

 - Entries must be or appear to be wearable.

 - Mechanics, including any use of a structural base may not show. All mechanics must be completely covered by accepted dried plant materials.

 - Entries should be accurately scaled and include realistic details like clasps and fasteners.

Not permitted in Botanical Jewelry :

 - The use of processed or manufactured materials such as couscous, pasta, or any processed food product.

- Milled wood or toothpicks

- Thick coatings of resins or epoxy

The Botanical Couture class features a fashion item (dress, hat, shoes, purse, etc.) created from dried plant material.

 A base may be supplied by the flower show committee.

 The class may require a base to be created by the exhibitor.

The Botanical Embellishment class features a supplied natural or manmade object of which all dried plant material is used to cover and enhance. Complete coverage of supplied object is not required unless specified.


 - All plant material must be dried.

 - Flowers, foliage, seeds, pods, nuts (in or out of shells), vegetables, twigs, vines, reeds, etc. may be used.

 - Only plant material, mechanics and their surface treatments (e.g. paints, nail polishes, varnishes, waxes, etc. may be used.

 - Natural plant material may be modified :

✓ Disassembled

✓ Combined

✓ Cut apart

✓ Figural forms must be assembled or judiciously carved from

plant material.

✓ Incised or shaped to enhance artistic effect.

✓ Painted, lacquered and/or treated with polyurethane or like


 Construction mechanics (must be completely concealed by permitted plant materials) of non-plant materials below:

✓ Cardboard

✓ Metal

✓ Twine

✓ String

✓ Cording

✓ Other

 A sample card, 4” X 6” white and unlined, must accompany each entry.

- Affix an untreated sample of each plant material correctly identified with Botanical names followed by Common names.

 - Unidentified collected twigs may be identified as ‘twigs’

 - If using fibers, a sample of each thread must be affixed.


Design 30

Craftsmanship 25

Originality 20

Interpretation of theme 15

Distinction 10


Entry Cards

Botanical Arts Entry Cards can be found here. Floral Design Entry Cards can be found here.

February 2020 Flower Show (not judged)

Class 1: Beyond Social Distancing - Botanical Arts Face Mask


Class 2 : Go with the Flow - Cascade Floral Design


Class 3: Sweet Valentine - Floral Design

 View Slideshow


Flower Arranging Workshop for Provisionals

November 05, 2019

You can watch Janet Haring and Daphne Townsend share their expertise with the provisional class of 2019/2020. 

Flower Arranging Workshop "Underwater"

October 17, 2019

Flower Arranging Workshop

September 24, 2019

January 2019 Flower Show "East Meets West"

January 08, 2019

​For pictures of the entries and winners, please go to the Photograph Albums page, or click here

Flower Show 2018 "Flaming Fall"

November 13, 2018

For pictures of the entries and winners, please go to the Photograph Albums page, or click here

Botanical Jewelry

February 26, 2018

Our talented club members have won prizes at the Philadelphia Flower Show and GCA Zone shows. Here is a collection of pictures of their marvelous work from those shows as well as from our own Club shows.

A Look to the Future! January 2014 Flower Show...

January 14, 2014

Congratulations SBGCers on your forward thinking creativity. Look at these spectacular entries in our two classes: "Techno-Metallica" and "Communicator"."Techno-Metallica"Channel your mind to the future via "Lost in Space", "Jetson's" or "Star-Trek". It's 3014–a minimalistic world where only the necessities of life exist and we reuse and recycle. "Communicator"Cellphones are a relic of the past. In 3014 we will use communicators – design your own whether it's worn on your shirt, ear or neck.

Anastazja's tips on Botanical Jewelry Making. 

November 29, 2017

Flower Arranging 101

November 29, 2017

The provisionals were treated to a wonderful flower arranging demonstration by our dynamic duo, Janet Haring and Daphne Townsend. They gathered at Olive's home and were instructed on the basics of flower arranging, getting them ready for their first flower show the November meeting. Enjoy the beautiful photos courtesy of Olive.

Please reload