Chelsea Flower Show updates judging system

This year’s Chelsea Flower Show is already surrounded by controversy as changes are made to the judging.

Usually a sedate affair, the 2012 show could see a real battle between growers and the judges. For the first time in nearly 100 years, the scoring system is to be altered, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The decision by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) follows criticism that the previous judging panels may have been surrounded in secrecy and that a more open way of awarding winners’ medals would make the system much fairer.

Bob Sweet, the RHS head of shows development, explained that the 2011 results were correct but following a meeting with members there had been a review and that there would be “greater transparency” this year.

Ann-Marie Powell, a garden designer who won a silver medal in last year’s show, said: “Judging has been all over the place. The system is not transparent. It’s well overdue an update.”

The changes mean that there will be a great choice of judges and that they will be named in the show’s programme to make their decisions more accountable to those attending Chelsea.

It is thought by 2014, the garden designers themselves may also be allowed to listen to the judge’s decision-making process in order to understand how each medal classification is reached as part of the plans to help modernise the show.

This year’s Chelsea Flower Show will begin on May 22nd and is a perfect day out for those staying at luxury London hotels next month.

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