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Show off your own dahlias
Once you have got your dahlias happily residing in your garden, why not have a go at showing the blooms and your skill in presenting them?
Perhaps start off participating in the mini-shows at our monthly meetings where you will get hands-on practice in staging with guidance from experienced exhibitors.
The State and affiliated society shows have categories for novice exhibitors. There are classes for floral art based on the kinds of arrangements used in the home or in event and venue displays.
The highlights of the DSV State Show and shows by affiliated societies that have special dahlia sections are the show dahlias (see Dahlias for Showing) that are judged in accordance with the Australian Judging Standards (see the Judging Guidelines).
Dahlias are usually staged singly (one per vase) or three to a vase (usually of the same variety). There are specific classes for different types and sizes.
Championship classes require a combination of single and multi-bloom vases and a mix of sizes, types and varieties as specified by the society. For example, entries in the Victorian Dahlia Championship at the State Dahlia Show must have five blooms over 160mm staged singly, four vases of three blooms and must include at least four types. Exhibitors must identify each bloom type and variety. Other multi-vase competitions are not this demanding. There are single and multi-bloom vase and Championship competitions for Intermediate, Novice and Home Gardener exhibitors.
The State Show has Container and Display sections which allow for baskets and containers of all kinds. Some classes permit props and foliage or blooms from other types of flowers. There is also a Photography Section.
The schedule of classes for the State Dahlia Show is normally published a few weeks before the event, held on the last weekend in February. Click on the link for the latest schedule.
Dates and contact information for shows conducted by affiliated societies are posted in our Events Schedule. Contact the society for competition classes and conditions of entry.
Exhibitors can use their own vases or bottles to stage their blooms but most use two-piece green plastic vases supplied by the organising society. Blooms can be secured in position using paper or other material. They are usually staged using florists' foam which can be purchased from the society. Bloom quality is the main requirement for success but staging is important, particularly in the multi-vase classes such as Show Championships.
Dahlias, especially the Large and Giant forms are easily damaged by jolting or rubbing together as they are transported to a show. Exhibitors have developed various ways to avoid this.
Presentations and workshops on transportation and staging are an important feature of monthly meetings as the show period approaches. The January, February and March meetings include Mini-shows that are competitive but are primarily intended as opportunities to practise skills and get feedback and advice.
Know what the judges look for:
Freedom from blemishes
Conformance to standard for type
The State Dahlia Show results
Who won in the major categories.
What blooms they staged.
Photos of major award winners
The Victorian State Dahlia Show
Affiliated Society Shows