From the Digest

Why Show Plants?

PhotoBy Madelyn Lee (July 2003)

This article is not to encourage you to work hard, prepare lots of plants for a show and compete-compete-compete or win-win-win. I would like you to consider another way to think about shows and your participation in them.

We all have plants in our collections that are not rare or exotic or even beautiful. They are there because we like them or think they are funny or weird or special in some way. We grow as a hobby, not a job.

It is pleasant and relaxing to putter around the plants, trim a branch here, remove a leaf there. Repot this one, cuss a mealybug on that one or just look at them and get a sense of accomplishment. We wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t fun and enjoyable. At least we shouldn’t do it if it’s a trauma or unpleasant.

Shows are not just for competition, they are for educating others about the many pleasant forms and shapes our succulent plants take in the fight with nature’s harsh and difficult ways. So why not approach showing your plants the same way? Don’t make competing to win the reason for entering a show, do it because it can be fun.

For instance, pick out your favorite plant – one you think is funny or weird. Pick out one you consider an example of your ability to grow plants. Pick out one that was a gift from a friend. Maybe even pick out one to play a joke on the judges.

Limit the number of your entries to five plants or less and then prepare them for the show by cleaning the pots and plants. You should be doing this anyway to make your collection look good and keep the plants healthy.

Now enter the show with the intention of sharing your plants with others. Let your favorites be seen and admired by others. Let others laugh with you at the funny or weird plants. Let others who have not tried or have failed see that they, too, can succeed in growing a particular plant. Really thank a friend for a gift by displaying it. You can think of many other reasons to show plants than pinning all your hopes on winning.

The judges will judge and the ribbons will be handed out. You will be relaxed. You will have fun and share your hobby with others. You won’t have to drag 50 plants home and put them away. And if you do win a ribbon, great! It’s a pleasant surprise, but doesn’t have to be the main reason you enter.