What is Judges’ Council?

Judges’ Council is the organization of National Garden Club members who have completed Flower Show School (a series of four classes) and the other necessary requirements to become Nationally Accredited Flower Show Judges.  A new series of Schools was just completed in 2017 here in Montana.

The Montana Federation of Garden Clubs is sponsoring a Symposium in Missoula on July 21 and 22, 2017.  Any garden club member may audit the programs (see the Registration form.) Topics to be covered include Hostas, Zinnias and the new Handbook for Flower Shows 2017.  New designs introduced in this edition will be featured.  Those are the Cascade, Featured Plant Material, Grouped Mass and Low-Profile Designs.  Billie Fitch of Nordland, Washington and Gina Jogan of Molino, Florida will lead the classes.  Further information and a registration form may be viewed here. Symposium Co-Chairmen are James Sadler and Gary Clark, and Ellen Darling is the Registrar.

The Montana Judges’ Council has 37 members who meet regularly, twice yearly and informally, as frequently as possible. The Council’s goals include the promotion of Flower Shows and the education of the general public about goals and objectives of the National Garden Club organization.

Why become a Judge?

Most Judges will tell you one or all of the following reasons:

                                        • A good friend talked them into going along;
                                        • They regularly entered Flower Shows or Fairs and were dissatisfied with the results or found the results of the judging confusing.
                                        • They wanted to become more competitive (WIN the Blue Ribbons!).

NGC Accredited Flower Show Judges learn a common language and a standard objective criteria with which to judge both Horticulture and Design exhibits. Judges continually update their skill and knowledge by meeting with other Judges, exhibiting and attending periodic symposiums to study. Judges practice by exhibiting and judging exhibits whenever possible.

The Nationally sponsored schools teach us to look at any exhibit (design, horticulture, craft or educational exhibit) and judge it against a Standard scale of points awarding the exhibit a numerical score. These scores are ranked in each class with the highest score receiving the top award and so forth.

How do you become an Accredited Judge?

                                        1. Attend four Flower Show School courses and pass an exam at the end of each school with a score of at least 70. Each school studies several Design types and Horticulture families. Flower Show procedure and Judging ethics are also covered.
                                        1. Earn five exhibiting credits, two in design and three in horticulture or three in design and two in horticulture. Each credit is earned by winning a blue ribbon or getting a score of 90+ on the exhibit.
                                        1. Earn five judging credits.
                                        1. Successfully write a Standard Flower Show schedule
                                        1. Pass the Handbook (Handbook for Flower Shows) examination with a score of at least 70.

By becoming a NGC Accredited Flower Show Judge you join an exclusive group of wonderful men and woman who give of their time and knowledge to further the goals of the National Garden Club organization.

By accepting an invitation to Judge you will find yourself treated like a most welcomed guest whose participation will be the culmination of the Garden Club’s hours of work, creativity and preparation. It is an incredible and rewarding experience. Knowing that you are qualified to travel to any state and be fully equipped to repeat that Judging experience can be very exciting.


To find out more about the Judges’ Council, call or email Council Chairman Cheryl Carroll at 406-251-3298.