The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs, Inc. has a new Accredited Judge in the Region 3 which includes Darke, Preble and Montgomery Counties.
Kim Cromwell, Ladybug Garden Club, recently received her accreditation from OAGC and is ready to judge flower shows in Artistic and Horticulture.
“I knew many years ago that I would like to become an OAGC judge after watching my Grandmother, Louise Sheffer, judge flower shows. I knew it was a daunting task but also knew how rewarding it would be to have the knowledge of what was required as a judge.”
Kim entered her first flower show at kindergarten age. Her first rosette came from the 1971 Darke County Fair Flower Show in the Horticulture Junior Division for a First Lady marigold. She became a member of the Ladybug Garden Club in 1987 and has been a very active member ever since. She is also a co-leader of the Butterflies Junior Garden Club. Kim is mother of 2 and grandmother to 5.
There is a lot of learning, memorizing, comprehension, and constant studying in the process of becoming a judge all while working a full time job.
For example, a student judge must attend 6 schools and pass tests after each school. Kim’s first school comprised of 7 different tests in a 2.5 hour time frame. Subjects in these 6 schools are Period designs, Oriental designs, Traditional designs, Table settings along with the many Creative Designs comprised of 35 various designs just in that one area. A judge must know and understand the elements and principles of design.
Schools emphasize cut cultivar judging for all annuals and perennials, shrubs and trees. Before the actual school, each student judge is given a list of 30 different plant species; everything from trees, shrubs, perennials, biennials, annuals, herbs, houseplants and wildflowers. At test time 20 or 30 items are set out on a table where you are to identify each knowing the common name and the Latin botanical name.
Kim wondered how you remember the common name of Eastern Ninebark and botanical name Physocarpus opulifolius with correct spelling as points are counted off for incorrect spelling. She tried to associate the common with the botanical in some way, shape or form. She did a lot of her plant studying with her Mom, who also helped Grandma Sheffer when she went through the schooling many years ago. Her Grandma had to learn and know 50 plants so Kim knew she could do it with 30.
Once all of the schools are completed and all tests passed, then you are required to complete student judging with an accredited OAGC judge at 4 different flower shows, judging both artistic and horticulture. These can be county fairs, home shows, garden club shows, regional flower shows, etc. Kim’s student judging was done at Fairfield County fair, Ashland County, Knollwood Garden Center Christmas Show and Celina Christmas Show with several of OAGC’s finest judges.
After the student judging is completed, you are approved by OAGC’s Executive Committee and then are free to judge any flower show in Ohio on your own.
Kim has served on the OAGC State Board as chairpersons for Nature and Conservation, Junior Exhibitors, Membership Committee and is currently serving on the OAGC Exhibitors and Judges Development committee.
Kim states, “I grew up exhibiting in the Darke County Fair flower show following her grandparents Frank and Louise Sheffer as well as her parents, Donn and Charlene Thornhill. 2020 marks my 21st year serving as Flower Show chairperson and having served on every committee. “
She hopes the fair will go on this year and encourages everyone to come to the basement of the coliseum to check out the flower shows that show cases the talented Adult and Junior Divisions.er first rosestte cam