Greg Freeman, South Carolina

Judging “new” forms of historics

October 31, 2009
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Categories: Daffodil Types, Diseases and Pests, Historics, Judging, Nematode, Shows

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I sitll maintain that any “modern” form of a historic daffodil is a new cultivar.  If it IS NOT a clone of the original, then it’s identity remains dubious.  And I might reiterate that decades of hybridizing and improvement have taken place. I see no point in “improving” on 60- and 80-year-old cultivars, and I’m not sure why the Dutch desire to do this.  The average consumer at the box store or neighborhood nursery could care less what name is on the package of bulbs.
 
As for how to judge a labeled ‘Mrs. R. O. Backhouse’ (or whatever else!) on the show bench that vaguely resembles its presumed predecessor, that’s harder to determine.  I know things aren’t always black and white, but you know what they say, “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck….”  And might I add that if we were talking laws instead of flowers, a judge in a court of law would declare, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”  Do we want to discourage new exhibitors who unknowingly exhibit some “knock-off” of a historic?  Of course not!  Should we be clearer regarding the judging standards?  Obviously so, hence this discussion.
 
I might also point out that at least one person I know in the daffodil world insists that most historics are suspect since nematodes and virus invaded the Dutch stocks a number of years ago.  In other words, how are we to honestly know that certain cultivars are the real deal when so many were lost?
 
Historics are great for educating folks on just how far hybridizing has come, and they grace old properties quite well.  But if the historic classes are filled with “modernized” examples, I find that as unacceptable as intentionally showing a jonquil as a split-corona or double.
 
Greg Freeman

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