GCA Rules

  1. Please carefully read and follow GCA Flower Show Rules, General Information and Division Guidelines. All rules as stated in The Garden Club of America Flower Show and Judging Guide, July 2018 Edition, shall apply.

  2. All plant material must be correctly identified with the botanical and common names, if possible. Accepted references for nomenclature are:

    • AHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants

    • The Plant List at http://www.theplantlist.org

    • International Plant Names Index at www.ipni.org or http://www.internationalplantnames.com

    • Plant Systematics at http://www.plantsystematics.org/

    • Royal Horticultural Society plant finder database http://apps.rhs.org.uk/rhsplantfinder

  3. The Garden Club of America expects all exhibitors to be aware of the need to promote conservation of endangered and threatened plants. Plants collected in the wild and listed by the Connecticut Natural Heritage Program may not be exhibited in any flower show sponsored by a GCA club. Cultivated plant material listed by Connecticut’s Natural Heritage Program may be exhibited if accompanied by a typed card stating that it has not been collected from the wild or that it was collected out-of-state and giving information concerning its cultural requirements and methods of propagation. Natural Heritage Program lists of endangered plant material will be available before and during the show from the division chairmen and are available online at: http://plants.usda.gov/threat.html.

  4. Plant material showing evidence of insects or disease must be removed immediately from the exhibition area. This rule will be enforced at any time during the show, whenever the problem is identified.

  5. All entries in the Floral Design and Horticulture Divisions must include fresh and/or dried plant material. Fresh plant material must be in water or conditioned in such a way as to remain in pristine form while on exhibition. An entry not maintained in show condition may have its award removed. Entries in Photography are required to include plant material. Entries in Botanical Arts division must use dried plant material.

  6. Locally invasive plants, diseased plant material, artificial plant material, live animals (including fish), taxidermy, natural birds’ nests, feathers of any kind and protected sea life, including coral, are not permitted, http://plants.usda.gov/java/noxiousDriver.


General Information

  1. Entries are open to all GCA club members, including provisionals, and professionals in their disciplines, except as noted in the schedule.

  2. Registration is required for all classes, with the exception of those in the Horticulture Division that are weather dependent (cut specimens, etc.). Horticulture classes exempt: Classes 1- 30, 33-34, and 39-40. Registration forms are provided at the back of the schedule. Classes will be filled in the order registration forms are received according to the email date and time.

  3. Entering in a show constitutes permission to use images of the submitted content in all GCA channels of communication.

  4. While the Garden Club of America, the Garden Club of Darien, and The Tokeneke Club will exercise due caution in safeguarding exhibits, responsibility for damage, loss or personal injury cannot be assumed.

  5. Any clarification or change in the rules, as originally stated in the schedule, shall be communicated promptly in writing by the division chairman to all exhibitors in the class and, at the show, to the judges and to the passing committee.

  6. An entry card must accompany each entry. Entry cards will be available at the show and upon request from the registration or division chairmen, in advance of the show. Information required on the entry card must be completed in black waterproof medium.

  7. The passing committee must pass each entry before an exhibitor may leave the show area. The passing committee reserves the right to refuse any entry that does not conform to the rules of the schedule. The exhibitor has the option of correcting the entry, if time permits. If not corrected, the entry cannot be judged, but may remain in place, marked "For Exhibit Only" with a brief, constructively worded statement explaining why it was not judged. The judges may not disqualify any entry passed by the passing committee unless evidence of insect infestation or disease is identified.

  8. Once an entry is passed, the exhibitor(s) must immediately leave the show floor. The only exception will be flower show committee members who have entered and been passed according to the timetable. A passed entry may not be touched again by the exhibitor until after judging and then only to carry out necessary maintenance.

  9. Only participating judges and clerks will be allowed on the show floor during judging. Flower Show Chairmen and division chairman should remain nearby but off the show floor until needed.

  10. All containers and accessories must be inconspicuously labeled with the exhibitor’s name.

  11. A novice is an individual exhibitor who has not won a first-place ribbon or a GCA Special Award in the division entered at a GCA Flower Show, GCA Major Flower Show or Sanctioned Non-GCA Major Flower Show. An exhibitor winning a first-place ribbon in a GCA Flower Show is still considered a novice in a GCA Major Flower Show or in a Sanctioned Non-GCA Major Flower Show or in another division of any flower show. In addition, an exhibitor who has won a first-place ribbon or Special Award in a GCA Major Flower Show or Sanctioned Non-GCA Major Flower Show is no longer a novice in any level of GCA Flower Shows in the division won. Only individual novice exhibitors are eligible to receive the GCA Novice Awards or the Sandra Baylor Novice Floral Design Award. A novice exhibitor will be identified on the entry card, following the initial judging.

  12. A statement of intent is optional and must be submitted at the time of passing. The statement must be no more than 25 words, typed or printed in waterproof medium on a 4"x 6" white, unlined card.

  13. All exhibits must remain in place and in show condition until fifteen minutes following the closing time of the show.