Formal or Informal Decorative.
On a completely different topic, one of my favourite flowers
is[ PHOTO ] KENORA CHRISTMAS,
BB very Formal Decorative, almost a Ball type. Brilliant RED colour
and competitive in any show. Good, healthy, bright green foliage,
good angle, good stem length and strength and proportion, floriferous,
and it sets seed well (!), so seedlings are worth trying.
And now my main point:Two Senior judges have now stated to
me, as a junior judge, that EDNA C is not really a Formal Decorative
and would never be classified as one these days. That got me to
thinking and looking and reading. The definitions from the American
Dahlia Society Classification Book are. . .
FORMAL Ray florets flat (1), partially
revolute (2), or partially involute (3). Petals uniform (4)
and regularly arranged (5), tending to
recurve (6) towards the stem. INFORMAL
Ray florets twisted (7), or curled (8), or wavy (9); imparting
a petal which is not flat (10). Petals
may be partially revolute (11) with their
arrangement irregular (12).
EDNA C [ PHOTO ] fits as follows. .
- 1.,2., 3. OK, this was an OR choice.
- 4. OK, this does not mean identical, but rather that a petal
plucked at random from anywhere in the bloom should be obviously
from that bloom,having the same general shape and differing only
in degree of development.
- 5. I say OK. Some serious contention here. Some feel that
petals should line up like shingles on a roof, and a Formal decorative
must be one that would provide a water tight roof. Their point
is, some petal tips do bend a little to one side or the other,
which could be called irregular, but I say NO water could get
through. Also see COOK's manual Figure 2. & 3. EDNA C is
not a bit irregular by the standards of these illustrations.
What do you think?
- 6. A terrible error here, as the correct word should be REFLEXED,
not RECURVED. In any event EDNA C is both reflexed and recurved.
The ADS should fix this misprint as soon as possible and put
an end to this very widespred and longstanding confusion.
- 7. I don't think that Twisted see COOK'S figure 3, applies,
but some folks do. Also refer back to number 5. Some blooms do
have an actually twisted petal, but these are rarely the ones
on the show table. Look at your blooms. Again; what do you think
- 8. Curled? this does not mean curled back, as that is recurved.
- 9. Yup, the edges are wavy. Now what?. . .see 10.!
- 10. The petals are not flat DUE TO 7.,8., or 9. This is not
a reference to the involute or recurved departure from flatness.
- 11. Not a bit. This feature of Informal Decoratives allows
some aspect of Cactus blooms to be a part of this classification.
Another difficult set of decisions!
- 12. Oh boy! now we're back to number 5. and the main contention!
I think that a symmetrically shaped bloom, especially most of
the recurved types like EDNA C, are Formal in the intended sense.
Informal implies (to me) a shaggy or irregular
outline. The outline becomes shaggy due to the waviness
or twisting or some other irregular feature of the petals or
their placement. This is not an easy decision to make at times,
but it is very, very important in the trial garden and on the
Copyright © 1996 Wayne Holland
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