Judging Criteria – Garden Landscape and Educational Landscape Exhibits *

When awarding Massachusetts Horticultural Society medals (gold, silver and bronze) exhibits are judged against perfection, not against each other. The judging panel selects medal recipients through a process of discussion and consensus based on the following guidelines and criteria.



Do all components support the exhibit’s Statement of Intent?

Is this year’s Flower Show theme evident in the exhibit?

Have responsible horticultural and practical design practices been followed?

If the exhibit contains a feature (structural, architectural, ornamental, water or other), is it appropriate to the design and well executed?



Are the principles of design: balance, proportion, scale, rhythm, dominance and contrast effectively used?

Are the elements of design: light, space, line, form, pattern, texture, size and color effectively used?

Does the garden as a whole present the viewer with a beautiful, harmonious and unified high quality exhibit of distinction and expression?



Are the plants of high quality, well related to each other (culturally and/or aesthetically) and to other elements of the exhibit?

Are any new or uncommon plants successfully used?

Is the forcing done to a high standard of excellence?

Have grooming, staking and pruning been done carefully?

Are labels correctly placed? Note any labeling problems.


* Copied from the New England Spring Flower Show Rule Book, 15th ed., Boston: Massachusetts Horticultural Society. January 2000, pp. 10-11. The introductory page states: “The Society encourages the exhibition of plants, floral designs, and landscapes which mark progress in horticulture. Judging is an inherent part of these exhibitions. It stimulates us to perfect our skills and, more importantly, make both exhibitors and the public aware of cultural and display excellence.”