This gardening season I have been thinking about my rose growing hobby a lot. I like rose horticulture exhibiting, making arrangements and growing the miniature and miniflora roses and I am moderately successful, especially since the move from the short growing season in Minnesota to western Washington. To do really well, a person needs some type of florist frig or other not frost-free frig that will stay at 36* F to hold roses for a week or so before a show. It will keep a perfect bloom in that state for days until needed. All the really good rose exhibitors have a special frig. I do not have such a frig. The frig really only needs to be using electricity for a month or so in June then a month in Sept. to cover all the rose shows in the Pacific Northwest. So I have been wondering, do I want to get such a frig? Do I want to continue showing roses at this level? How many more years would I really want to be showing roses? Would it be worth the effort? What do I really get out of all this? Heaven knows I don’t need more trophies and stuff. I like the recognition and thrill of getting on the head table. I only need one up there for it to be a success. I like being with rose people and judging. Judging is where the real action is, IMHO. So I am conflicted. I like my humble shrub roses with their full fluffy variety of colors. They are not show roses for the most part. Dr. Buck and David Austin are well represented in my rose collection. I am also trying a few of the Kordes varieties this year because of their reputation for disease resistance. So where does this bring me? I will probably continue life without a frig, but I would take one if it magically appeared.
Top row L to R:Honey Perfume, April Moon, Joy a miniature show rose on its second flush, Lena, a cute shrub born in Minnesota.
Bottom: Serendipity and Aunt Honey by Griffin Buck.
Competition roses in the Pacific Northwest are amazing! I recently returned from Vancouver, WA where I participated in the American Rose Society, Pacific Northwest District rose show. There were two main categories of competition: Horticulture and Arrangements. In horticulture, the hybrid tea rose is always the top winner and is awarded Queen, King, Princess. (I like that Queen is the best 😀) My favorite competition has always been making arrangements according to the guidelines of the American Rose Society. I still get a kick out of growing the roses and doing something pretty with them. Being recognized by my peers for good work is great too. It was a satisfying rose show for me.
I won the PNW trophy for my Oriental free style, naturalistic design using two containers. The roses are the David Austin variety ‘Graham Thomas’.
copyright Elena Williams
I was awarded a blue ribbon for a miniature mass design (10 inches). The roses are ‘Jeanne Lajoie’. I made several other designs winning blue and red ribbons.
My first flush of roses is nearly over, but with the temps in the 50’s and 60′ for highs, the rebloom is moving slowly this year. Our Pacific Northwest District rose show will be Saturday June 4th down in Vancouver, WA and I need some sunny warm weather to compete!
Here are today’s blooms from the first flush of some of my Austin shrub roses.
Being outside in the fresh air and sunshine is my time to think. This year I have been thinking that my roses are blooming ahead of schedule but actually that is not the case it is just that last year my garden suffered through a nasty period of downy mildew and I had to do a second spring pruning to get rid of the diseased leaves and canes, so it felt that my roses bloomed late in 2015 and now early in 2016. They are looking fabulous now during my first flush. The roses below from top left are ‘Darcey Bussel’ ‘Boscobel’ bottom: ‘Prairie Sunrise’ ‘Show Stopper’ and ‘Mutabalis’.
In my garden that was just started last fall, I now have a few of the David Austin English Roses blooming. First blooms on first year plants show great potential for this location. I was not sure if it would be sunny enough.
Last fall I made a conscious decision to buy Austin roses on their own roots from Heirloom Roses in St. Paul, OR. Not because they are cheaper than the grafted ones from David Austin in Texas – because they are not. Heirloom still has to pay a fee to propagate the patented roses. I wanted to see how they would perform in a newly renovated garden that gets sun all morning, until 1:00 pm. My plan for the bed was to include all own-root roses so the plantings would mature together, rather than have the Austin roses on Dr. Huey grow quickly and dwarf the others which are only available as own root roses. This bed also holds the Polyanthas I shared yesterday and a few Buck roses that I will share at a later point.
Here is the progress of the bed nine months later.
‘Sharifa Ashma’ is blooming well, with a touch of powdery mildew on the leaves.
‘Graham Thomas’ is blooming well. I also have ‘Abraham Darby’ in this bed however it is not blooming at this time.