Kirby Fong, California

Maximum size of intermediate daffodils in the U.K.

January 3, 2013

Categories: Daffodil Types, Intermediates

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I’ve just gotten around to reading The Daffodil Society’s 2012 Newsletter and was interested in the paragraph on page 6 that says:

“Exhibitors Please Note: It has been approved that for 2013 the maximum size for Intermediates will now be 85mm for all The Daffodil Society Shows. The Classification Committee after a great deal of consideration thought that many of the new releases are just over the 80mm limit but not big enough to go into other divisions.”

As I’m not familiar with how shows are organized in the U.K., I wonder if some Daffnet readers there can tell me whether most of the local shows are sponsored by affiliates of The Daffodil Society and will therefore be accepting flowers up to 85mm as intermediates.  Do the R.H.S. shows have classes for intermediates?  I see on the ‘List of Approved Cultivars January 2013’ that Brooke Ager is back after having previously been regarded as too large.

Kirby Fong

4 responses to “Maximum size of intermediate daffodils in the U.K.”

  1. Brian Duncan, Northern Ireland Brian Duncan, Northern Ireland says:

    Hello Kirby,

    Your questions do not surprise me. I think many of us were surprised – even dismayed, when we learned that the Daffodil Society had taken this unilateral decision. None of the shows in Northern Ireland are controlled by DAffodil Soc. regulations and I’m sure will continue to use the RHS and World recognised 80 mm standard for Intermediates. I am a member of the Daffodil Society  but I fear this decision will cause much unnecessary confusion around the country and I feel it is unfortunate that such a decision was taken by a few people without any consultation with members or International and UK Societies. Though I cannot predict what the RHS might do  I suspect that it is most unlikely that they will make any change from the current 80mm measurement.



  2. David Adams, New Zealand says:

    My personal view is that Intermediates should be from 50 to 80mm. Allowing that some flowers  overgrow in some seasons there is some leeway for slightly larger flowers. To have the starting point at 85mm means that 90mm flowers may be judged in the Intermediate classes if they are on an approved list. A 90mm standard cultivar can easily win Best in Show.

    I believe that most Societies have it correct at 80mm.

    Dave Adams

  3. Bob Spotts, California Bob Spotts, California says:

    Daffodil friends,

    The size of the bloom of a cultivar varies by the climate in which it is grown. So, its registered size is dependent on where the measurement was made. ‘Pink China’ , whose bloom was measured at 80mm diameter in Oregon, is typically smaller in California and typically larger in the UK.  Its registered size would have been different if it had been grown and registered elsewhere. Fixing the same maximum registered diameter ceiling for Intermediates for all climates ignores this. To assure that Intermediate show classes include exquisite (but smallish) blooms such as ‘Little Tyke’ and ‘Brooke Ager’ where they grow somewhat over 80mm, it makes sense to me  to allow different size ranges for Intermediates in different climatic/geographic regions.
    In California, we have the reverse situation from the UK. Several cultivars with bloom size registered somewhat above 80mm when grown/registered in the UK, typically produce blooms below 80mm here. In California shows, those cultivars are allowed to be shown as Intermediates.

    A principal purpose of defining  “Intermediates” was to create an arena for small blooms normally penalized in show judging for their small size. Shouldn’t a local society be allowed to evaluate the situation for its shows?


  4. Roger and Terry Braithwaite, England says:

    The Daffodil Society’s decision to increase the size to 85mm for intermediates


    Kirby, Brian and all daffodil growers throughout the world – as Chairman of the Daffodil Society Classification Committee I would like to explain the rationale and the facts on how this decision was made. For many years at every RHS and Daffodil Society Show members of our committee have taken the time to measure with Vernier calipers every seedling and new registered variety and record the actual measurement of each variety.  These results were recorded on a spread sheet and reviewed at our main classification committee meetings in June along with miniatures, because at the Daffodil Society Shows no miniature or intermediate can be show in the show unless it is on our approved lists, for varieties not on our approved lists special classes were made for the classification committee to evaluate the cultivars shown.  Over quite a number of years it has become apparent that about 50% of the new varieties were slightly over-sized by 1mm and 3mm in the worst case. The varieties that were slightly oversized were not rejected but results of the size and the reason for its initial rejection were recorded on a spreadsheet for the next year when the variety would be reviewed again at the following year’s classification meeting in June.  Members of the committee would either purchase or beg a bulb from the raiser/supplier to evaluate the performance and the development of the flower for each variety under review, these are mainly amateur growers spread all overEngland. After a few years it became even more apparent that the blooms were slightly larger than registered, proberly due to climatic condition were the blooms were grown. This left the committee who wanted to promote the showing of intermediates either to turn a blind eye to the oversized blooms or stick rigidly to the consensus of opinion. The latter did not help us to get more intermediate daffodils on to our approved list with a criteria set at 80mm. Although most new varieties were being advertised as intermediates in bulb suppliers catalogues when measured this proved not to be so. After a lot of thought and soul searching it was decided, being responsible people we thought how can we legislate for this growth due to water or climatic conditions – we could carry on disbarring excellent varieties for being oversized and we could not turn a blind eye to 1 or 2mm’s, but being honest folk we decided that the best plan of action was to increase the max size limit to 85mm.

    We did not do this lightly and before we sought full Executive committee approval our President presented our case to the RHS schedule committee in June – some of the raisers were in favour of the suggestion but the RHS meeting ran out of time and so it was put on the agenda for the next Bulb Committee meeting. As with all committees some of the members who were positive at the June meeting had become negative and some remained positive, the end result was that no decision was made but the RHS registrar was asked to write to the various world daffodil societies. This was reported back to The Daffodil Society Executive committee and after an in depth discussion and approved by a very large majority of that committee we decided that it was in the interest of the Daffodil Society and its aims in promoting the showing of intermediates that the new size for all societies who judge to the daffodil society show rules and regulations that the new Maximum size will be 85mm.

    I must remind all of you that the Daffodil Society as the oldest society in the world has fundamentally differed many times with the RHS and some of the other societies in the world and our judging rules and regulations are one example, we do not judge as seen but to the RHS classification, we operate an approved list of miniatures which we stick to, if any miniature is not on our list it is not eligible to be shown as a miniature at a daffodil society show judged to our show rules, unlike some societies rules if the variety for example Kokopelli is grown small it can be shown as a miniature.  With regard to the approved list of intermediates, again if the variety is not on our list it cannot be shown as an intermediate at a Daffodil Society Show when judged to our show rules.


    The Daffodil Society also operates another list of approved varieties of restricted cultivars; its purpose is to provide a list of reasonably priced varieties that are readily available to be shown in special classes. This was the brain child of the late George Tarry and his thought was to encourage new growers to daffodils with limited budgets to get started and build up a collection which is competitive without breaking the bank


    The above paragraphs are roughly how the decision was made with some factual information on how the Daffodil Society differs with our friends and fellow growers throughout the world. The paragraphs below are my opinion of how we intended to manage the process to obtain the result of more approved intermediates being eligible to show. No doubt this will be an agenda item at the Daffodil Society Executive meeting at the end of January    


    As our classification committee is very progressive and believes that by increasing the max size to 85mm we will be able to increase the number of intermediates eligible to be admitted onto our approved intermediate list and varieties like Brooke Agar would now fall into this criteria as well as many more. We have no intention of seeing the size increase any more that the max size of 85mm and it is intended to re-monitor every year to see that the trend is not an upward one to 85mm. If we can establish a reasonable amount of cultivars that consistently perform around the 80mm plus 1-3mm it is our intention to reduce down from the 85mm max size. But as you must appreciate this will take time to establish as the Norm here inEngland.


    The committee believes it acted reasonably and professionally and they tried to engage the RHS bulb committee into this debate through its sitting members basically could find the enthusiasm to drive and lead the debate. So we at the Daffodil Society  though that little a bit viva the difference is all that is needed to concentrate minds and get some progressive thinking going..


    Roger Braithwaite

    Vice Chairman & Classification Committee Chairman

    The Daffodil Society