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Old 02-23-2012, 11:42 PM
glengary54 glengary54 is offline
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Originally Posted by rangiku View Post
I've been told that going through OrchidWiz is very, very helpful. AQ+, too.
Not only helpful but essential to own both, in the case of AQ+, pay for access to.
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:46 AM
Discus Discus is offline
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Becoming a judge questions Male

Essentially read, read, read!

Also, there should be judging handbooks on the AOS site - there certainly are on the SAOC site. Yes indeed, there is a link to a PDF at the bottom of Judging Handbook
That will give you a fairly good overview of the judging process and so on.

What it won't do is teach you much about orchids, but judicious googling, reading a load of books and electronic resources such as AQ+ and OrchidWiz certainly will help. OrchidWiz is particularly cool when you're trying to learn about hybridising, and also contains tons of growing information.

With regards to books, if you don't already have any, get one of the fairly comprehensive encyclopedias (The New Encyclopedia of Orchids, Flora's Orchids or Botanica's are all good, Botanica's rather handier to cart around with you); this will familiarise you with the diversity of orchids and give you some idea of the growing requirements of various orchids.

Then get some more specialised books on groups you find personally interesting; I've really been enjoying both Stewart's Angraecoid Orchids - Species from the African Region and Koopowitz's Tropical Slipper Orchids. The latter sort of gives you an insight into the kind of info most judges seem to have memorised - the major breeding trends and important hybrid lines and the influence of certain species on hybrids. I imagine such books exist for other groups, but I haven't hunted for them.

If you're not a member of a society, join one, and if necessary drive/hitchhike/walk/crawl to get to their meetings, and especially, shows, and as has been said, volunteer! I do a ~270km round trip once a month to get to my "local" OS, but further involvement is rather precluded by distance! I was asked if I'd be willing to serve on the committee, but driving that distance twice a month seemed excessive (committee meetings are not on the same day as society meetings).

I don't think I'd ever know enough about orchids to become a judge, and I'm too selective in my tastes. I hate most cattleyas (actually "hate" is a bit strong "find overly fussy and showy" is closer), and I find some of the paphs horrific (any of the parvisepalums) for example, whilst others are enchanting. It's a shame you can't specialise in particular groups, but so far, orchid judging expects you to be able to assess the merits (and know about) all orchids.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:06 PM
Connie Star's Avatar
Connie Star Connie Star is offline
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Our local orchid society show is going on this weekend (Amherst Orchid Society), and for the 3rd year I clerked for the judges. I found it daunting to keep up with what was going on, and at times, literally had trouble keeping up with the group.
My problem is that I am too opinionated. For instance, I really don't like bull-dog paphs. I think they are ugly. If I don't like a color, I don't like the flower. To be a judge you have to know what makes a flower special. I think it's a little bit like judging a dog show breed.
Today at the show, a visitor asked me why certain orchids won ribbons and others didn't. I had to go into some detail about flower shapes, colors and standards for certain types. By the end of my explanation, I'm not sure which of us was more confused.
I will definitely not be training to be a judge!
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:39 PM
Bolero Bolero is offline
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Well I was asked to join the judging panel. I was fairly new like you, only joined a club for a few months with a limited knowledge and became a probationary judge. This is not normal however, I would like to say I came across as extremely talented but I would be kidding myself. The fact is the judging panel was aging and I was one of the youngest and keenest orchid growers they knew (at the ripe old age of 31). So I joined up and never looked back.

There is no reason a newbie can't develop the knowledge which will also lead to a great orchid collection but it takes a keeness and a willingness to read everything you can (which you seem to be doing). I would approach the panel and apply. I am not sure what criteria AOS judges use but I would be thinking that someone young and keen and willing to research would be a great asset.

Good Luck!
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