2019 saw 88 plants awarded around the country. It also saw the successful National Expo held in Palmerston North, along with the first First Class Certificate awarded for a long number of years.
There have only been 13 awards ratified so far this year, a shame but understandable due to the lockdown. However, we started the year with an FCC! Now we are able to move more freely, I hope Judges will make an extra effort to seek out and award suitable plants.
The cancellation of the National Judging Seminar was a shame but unavoidable. David Banks would have been an entertaining and informative speaker but there is always another year. However, some of the items that would have been presented at the seminar can be sent out to the Judges by email and when they are I hope all Judges will take note of them and perhaps we can get a discussion going on some points.
In the past year I have had several general conversations with former trainees, and found that one of the reasons they left the Judging system is that they felt ‘unsupported’. These are comments from around the country so not from one or two areas. I would ask that all areas look after their trainees, what may seem simple to you after 20-odd years of judging may not be so simple to someone who has only been judging for a short time, remember there is only so much a person can take in at one time. All areas need new judges so please look after them.
I would suggest all areas revise the rules in the Red Book to refresh their memories, this could be done at your meetings which will be able to recommence soon, if there are any questions please ask. Most of all enjoy being able to reconnect, but stay safe.
– Margaret Lomas, chair COA