The Great Victorian Hanging Basket Competition
The Great Victorian Hanging Basket Competition was initiated by the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria and several industry supporters such as Debco and Scotsburn Nurseries.
The concept was simple. Members and Affiliated Groups were provided a free hanging basket kit. They prepared a hanging basket and displayed it at MIFGS.
The first competition in 2001 had 50 entries. The competition has developed to over 400 entries and now includes entries from members, affiliated garden groups, children, schools, TAFE Colleges, Disadvantaged Sectors, Youth Groups and a special Nursery Challenge for the Nursery Industry.
The baskets grown have expanded to include a diverse range of plants such as cacti & succulents, bonsai, Australian natives and culinary entries. Virtually anything is fair game as long as it can be successfully grown in a basket. Nowhere else can you view a bonsai in a hanging basket. The basket offers a platform for a grower to use their imagination and have fun and a challenge. The Royal encourages participation and it is not a competition of excellence but one where all can “have a go”.
The Royal aim is to encourage people to garden. Baskets are a good way to do this and is applicable to all gardeners. Some may have a large garden or a small yard or balcony. All ages and physical abilities are encouraged and supported. The baskets allow for a level playing field where all start equally. They are also more easily transported to and from MIFGS.
The entries are judged which is a major effort. The only conditions for the competition is the basket must have at least one living plant and accessories must not predominate (ie be bigger than the plant) and be in the basket provided by the Royal for that year. The features the judges consider are balance, proportion, plant quality, maturity, use of accessories, innovation, and the overall presentation of the basket.
Schools use the competition as an educational experience where the students, plan, plant and maintain their baskets as a group exercise, Some of the results are amazing and a credit to the teachers as well as the students. The TAFE sectors use it as an additional opportunity for the students to prepare a horticultural product, to maintain and manage it, and to present their efforts at the major horticultural event in the Southern hemisphere. It is great experience, displays their talents and a win looks great on a CV.
Significant prizes provided by industry and other supporters are awarded to the winners at the Gardener’s Day Out in June.
Come and check out The Great Victorian Hanging Basket Competition at Site B54 at the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show.