George Dorner, Illinois

2013 Midwest Daffodil Show – Belated Report

May 30, 2013

Categories: General, Show Prep and Exhibiting, Show Results, Shows

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Irene Vass' Sovereign Small Grower Award

Irene Vass’ Sovereign
Small Grower Award

Last year we cancelled the show due to a season that came on much too early. That season allowed me to actually take blooms to the ADS show in Baltimore, some personal recompense for missing our local effort at the Chicago Botanic Garden. This year, at our meeting-before-the-show one week in front, we considered canceling due to a too-late season. Most folks at that meeting had nothing in flower and very little in bud. But some folks really needed to judge to keep their credentials up to date, so we put off the drop dead decision, hoping for a hot spell and more blooms.

By midweek we decided to go ahead with the show, but at week’s end things looked shaky. Even Nancy Pilipuf, our local daff guru and the lady with the walk-in cooler which extends her show season on the back end had few to offer. More cool did not aid on the front end. Help came from Beth Holbrooke in St. Louis. She had only had a few (was it 11?) blooms for their show, but she motored north with a car full of blooms we locals could only dream about. Also, I drove to Niles, MI on Friday, got a whirlwind ride around the Oakwood Daffodils field in the cart with John Reed and gathered a crateful of the best blooms John pointed out, getting back to the CBG in time to help Al and Carol Champ set up. As always, a trip through John’s fields was peppered with too much to digest at once, and I struggled to keep records as we rode, John related what we saw to past and future crosses, and I picked.

So, come the morning of April 27, we had a show. Nancy P. had groomed everything she had by the time Beth H. arrived at Nancy’s house, but they were up most of the night grooming Beth’s carload. We reorganized the display room so the sparse offerings would look better. The ADS banners were helpful here, and the design division helped fill the room. By opening time we were almost ready. The photo section was unorganized, and we ended up with lots of photos lying on tables, but that still drew interest from the visitors. At the teardown on Sunday everybody was glad we had persisted and the show was acclaimed a success. Several members and friends who attended have confirmed that since then. But the show was small: 11 exhibitors in the horticultural section and only 212 stems with seven individuals entering desplays.

You can get a peek at the setup and some of the blooms at This video was not made for public consumption, but to make a record of the blue ribbons, but it will give you an idea of the room and some of the beautiful but lonely blooms.

We did have some glitches. One collection of 5 of John Reed’s blooms got mislabled, this due to confusing notes taken in the field. Beth H. reported on this collection and posted photos on Daffnet on April 30. Queries and comments, especially from Jason Delaney, who was in the fields later the same day that I was there, helped clarify. But that collection won the Red-White-Blue, the Purple, and contained both the Rose and the Gold ribbon winners. Nancy Pilipuf and Rose Bradley Finnegan entered John’s blooms. BTW, Rose was a member when she was in her teens (maybe pre-teens) with her mother back when Charles Wheatley was the backbone of the MDS. She has recently returned to the fold and has implemented a Facebook page for the MDS. We didn’t get a full array of photos at the show, but we’ll post a few at the Facebook page “soon.”

A treat for all was the attendance of Ray Rogers and his containers of daffodils, the best we have seen at an MDS show. His huge pot of Salome and a pot of many-floreted Hawera deserved their ribbons. Passionale was striking, too. Ray now lives in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, so we look forward to seeing his entries in the future. And, Nancy P. was glad to have another judge with Ray’s keen eye and sharp knowledge.

As one walked the rows of the show, one thing was evident. Nearing the classes of higher divisions, there was usually only one bloom per class. That’s because those flowers were blooming in St. Louis but had not deigned to appear in Chicago yet. One visitor, seeing all the blue ribbons in a row, asked, “So, is this like kindergarten, where everyone gets an award?” I told her to come back next year when the tables will, I hope, be more full and the competition more intense. Or, better, to go to a national show to see more even distribution of the full complement of ribbon colors.

It must have been embarrassing for Beth H., one whom I have heard deride those who pursue the “Silver Sow” award for the most blue ribbons, to receive same at our show. I counted 33 blue ribbons but I reported 33 +/- 5. Of course, many of the ADS ribbons went to her, as well, and I think she really came seeking the Wells Knierem Ribbon which she also received.

There weren’t many collections and none of the big ones. Beth had a beautiful Havens and Nancy had a fine Lavender, but John Reed’s multiple winner was the highlight. There were multiple instances where a nice stand in the garden produced both single and 3-fold ribbons. Bruce Eckersberg had Minnow for the miniatures awards. Irene Vass had a beautiful Sovereign for the Small Growers Award. Geri Gilbert had half a dozen blues, Jim Kochevar had some nice ones and some terrific photos, and newcomer Lorraine Kirkpatrick did well in both the horticultural and the design categories.I left a Bozievich on the table unentered and had several collections of 5 which also did not get in the show, this due to my own indolence and last minute demands on the Show Chair. I commented to Nancy P. that she must have pined at the inability to put together a collection for the Maroon collection, but there weren’t five reverse bi-colors in the show, i think. Better next year, on all fronts.

Meredith Schnelle had coordinated the design portion of our show again, and it was again very well done, not showing any lessening of quality due to few blooms and drawing much attention from the sizable attendance in the afternoons when it warmed up. Eve Southwood helped out with the design show, stepping in for her parents, the Hessels, who really established the design category here, and she won some ribbons, too. Our design show is as good as any I have seen in conjunction with an ADS show, and it really is a good adjunct for the public, most of whom just wander in while having a nice day at the Botanic Garden and are delighted to be entertained by our show as a bonus. One amusing indicator of the season: Meredith had chosen themes for five classes in the design section, all under the main title “Worldwide Daffodils.” Under the description emphasizing white flowers for “North America” were named Mount Hood and Ice Wings. I think there were only one of each in the show and none for the pool of flowers we kept for the design folks.

I confess to being very happy about this show which almost never was. But that is greatly due to the fact that when one can lay out any display of our favorite flower at a venue as superb as the Chicago Botanic Garden with the guaranteed attendance of many people who appreciate flowers, gardens, and other things horticultural, a good time will inevitably be had by all.

George Dorner
Show Chair
Midwest Daffodil Society


NR To be Carrot Nose John Reed

NR To be Carrot Nose
John Reed

It's an oldie - Slim Whitman But the pic was nice.

It’s an oldie – Slim Whitman
But the pic was nice.

MDS Show Judges  after lunch.

MDS Show Judges
after lunch.

One response to “2013 Midwest Daffodil Show – Belated Report”

  1. Rose Bradley, Illinois Rose Bradley, Illinois says:

    Hi George,
    I have added a few photos I took at the show to MDS’ facebook page as well as a list of the blue ribbons awarded at the show. I believe I caught them all. Thank you for working so hard to organize a great show (despite nature’s intervention). I learned a lot going through John’s blooms with you on that Friday and sitting with Nancy Saturday morning. Also, thanks for the video walk through that I will be rewatching in January!