Serious rose gardeners love to talk (and write) endlessly about roses. And we also love to exhibit roses, which is what we did on Saturday when the RI Rose Society had its annual “Six Pack Rose Show.”
This show is very low key and lots of fun. Everyone is invited to bring in no more than 6 roses displayed in bottles of any kind — water bottles, wine bottles, juice bottles or beer bottles. This late season, informal rose show encourages Society members, who may never have exhibited roses before, to give it a try. It’s also educational because Mike organizes an “open-judging” format. Judges verbalize the judging process out-loud as they critique each exhibit, explaining the awards – first, second or third place – that each entry receives. It’s an interactive process with the audience that asks questions throughout the judging.
On Saturday, Mike was joined by fellow ARS horticultural judge Dave Long from Old Lyme, CT. They presented an informative peek into the enigmatic world of show roses and how they are judged. Especially appreciated by novice and seasoned exhibitors alike, were their tips and insights on grooming show roses.
Another perk at having an informal rose show in the fall is that we get to appreciate the subtle differences that occur in roses due to changes in light and temperature from June to September. Our Playboy and Hot Cocoa roses have more saturated color now than they did last spring and our Julia Child roses were smaller than they were in June. We also have more of a chance to check out all the entries than we do at our big June rose show. This helps us decide what varieties to add to our “wish list” for next year.
At the end of the judging, Mike and Dave culled all the “Blue Ribbon” winners (we used blue stars instead of ribbons) down to five. Then the members were polled to determine the best two entries. They voted again for “Best of Show” which went to Clive Nickerson for his picture-perfect bloom of ‘Distant Drums’.
The “Six Pack Rose Show” was one more way to enjoy rose gardening as this 2011 rose growing season winds down. Plus, look at the beautiful vase of roses I had when I came home!