Rose Shows are a chance for growers to show off their prized roses. There are opportunities for experienced and novice exhibitors, including first time exhibitors. As well as roses, there are usually decorative and floral exhibits.
Often a member of the public thinks to themselves as they are viewing the show exhibits “I have got a nicer one of that at home in the garden”. It may very well be true, in which case the person might be interested in having a go at showing their rose next time.
Obtain a copy of the show schedule in advance as there are limitations on the number of entries per class, etc, and you often need to register your entry before the day of the show. The schedule should contain the general show rules, dates, times and contact details.
Preparing a rose for a show takes a little bit of care, in general only HT, Floribunda and Mini roses are shown in the individual bloom sections, other roses such as Austin/English roses and Old Garden Roses can be shown in specialty or decorative sections. So you need to have the right type of rose for a start. Whatever the type of rose there are certain things you need to do to make sure it is properly prepared for the show:
Make sure the bloom and leaves are in as perfect condition as possible.
Try to pick the longest stem possible, you can always cut some off, but if its too short, that will count against the bloom in points. You are aiming for a balanced exhibit.
Some damaged leaves and petals can be removed but seek advice from someone with experience before doing this, obvious removals will be down pointed.
Roses can be picked a few days ahead of the show and will last quite well in a cool, dark environment, with ample water. Some people even have special fridges to store and travel the roses in.
Be careful when transporting roses, the leaves can be torn in transit by the thorns of other roses.
Points are given on the freshness and look of the bloom, dont pick one that is a bit faded and tired.
It probably seems like far too much work, but if you are prepared in advance, keep an eye on the weather and keep bugs away from your intended show exhibits, that is the majority of the work done already. At the show there will be other exhibitors and stewards available for help and advice, especially if you let them you know you are a first time exhibitor.
The roses are “staged” which means they are put in special vases (provided by the Society at the show) and held upright and in place by adding something like newspaper, spaghnum moss or strips of sponge. They are presented so they are ‘showing their best side’ for when the judge sees them.
If this really does seem like an impossible task, think about this for a minute. I took a few roses along to my very first rose show a couple of years ago, got some advice and tips from a very knowledgeable sounding lady who was preparing her roses next to me, and guess what? My rose got FIRST in its Novice class and went on to win the PREMIER Exhibit for that set of Novice classes. On my very first rose show! Talk about beginners luck, and it was such a thrill. I got a lovely certificate to take home and I have it still. Maybe this year it could be YOU? – Stacey Hill
The Society has two publications on Rose Showing for sale, Official Rules for the Judging of Roses and Guidelines for Exhibitors. More information on them can be found on the Publications Page.