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.
Do you see a difference between the display on the left and the one on the right? Here are some strategies to help you win the English box challenge.
1. Read the schedule carefully. Some will require six roses of the same variety.
2. All roses should be very close to the same size and open to the same degree.
3. Color placement should not be random. Place the roses so the darkest color roses are at the bottom (closest to the viewer) and the lightest color roses are at the top (farthest away). Also try them in reverse order.
Have fun with the challenge classes at your rose show!