Learned members of the RHS form a committee to assess the relative merits of specific plants within a family. They grow some of their own in extensive trials, visit specialist growers and then debate the various merits of a particular plant. For example, after deciding to assess perennial sweet peas they will form a group of members interested in sweet peas, grow a wide range of varieties in extensive trials, visit specialist collections and nurseries and then have a round table discussion to decide which particular sweet pea should get an award.
The criteria they look for are:
So a plant may be truly outstanding in every area, but be too rare to be awarded a medal.
Founded in 1970, Fleuroselect is an association of flower seed breeders and trading companies. There are 23 trial grounds throughout Europe.
It recognizes its breeders in three ways:
Very similar to the RHS AGM, but obviously awarded by judges in America to plants/varieties specifically suited to the USA. Though, due to the huge range of climates enjoyed in USA, this doesn't make it any less useful than the RHS awards.