-Linda Kimmel

If you have never attended an American Rose Society (ARS) National Rose Show, you have no idea what you are missing. The best exhibitors in the nation gather together with the best roses in the nation, creating a mecca of roses. There are roses of all shapes, sizes and colors, more than the imagination can comprehend.

Why do we exhibit and judge roses? Because it is just a lot of good fun and camaraderie. I continue to learn something at every show, whether exhibiting or judging. It is always a manageable challenge and you meet such nice people.

Bob Martin, ARS President, wrote in an article, titled “Why We Grow Roses”, a description that beautifully sums up the spirit of rose exhibiting:

“Winning is great, as any rose exhibitor will tell you. But better yet, as most rose exhibitors will quickly add, is the wonderful opportunity that a rose show provides to meet people who genuinely love roses. Rose exhibitors are, with very few exceptions, great people. They come from all walks of life sharing only the common love of roses. They will tell you everything they know to give you the chance to do better than they. The warmth and friendship of rose show exhibitors lasts well beyond the fading of the memory of your trophy and will bring you back to the rose show again and again.’

Of course, many of the winners were from California, not surprising. Roses grow bigger and bloom more in California due to the wonderful amount and intensity of the sun. Californians’ do not have to contend with winter kill, but they were suffering from a severe invasion of chili thrips and have humongous watering bills! No matter where you live, one can expect some challenges to growing roses. But astute rose growers will overcome.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I would like to share a few of my rose show photos. First, congratulations to Andrew Plasz, Libertyville, IL for winning the Mini Duchess Arrangement Award. (Mini Roses: ‘Incognito’ and ‘Showstopper’)

‘The Squire’ is a beautiful dark red shrub rose, hybridized by David Austin, exhibited by Linda Clark, San Diego, CA, anointed “Queen of Shrubs Award”.

‘Sparkle and Shine’ is another winning rose hybridized by Christian Bedard of Weeks Roses. Bright yellow blooms, disease resistance and hardy. This specimen won the “Queen of Floribunda” certificate, exhibited by Justin and Lilly Ekuan.

One of the hottest new hybrid teas on the market is ‘Ring of Fire’, hybridized by Chris Greenwood, exhibited by Mr. And Mrs. Carl Mahanay. ‘Ring is Fire’ is a vibrant eye-catching orange color with good exhibition form and holding power. We sold this rose through our local rose society (Indianapolis), everyone that purchased it, had glowing reports.

I cannot forget the Gold Awards in arrangements. In the large arrangement class, three containers- modern design of ‘Love and Peace’, ‘Peace’ and ‘St. Patrick’ claimed the top award by Barbara Gorden.

In the miniature division, a traditional mass with ‘Joy’ claimed the Gold award, exhibited by Cherry Hoover.

Rose shows are fun and rewarding, if you get a chance, attend, even better, exhibit!

Part of adulthood is searching for the people who understand you.” – Hanya Yanagihara


For more about the conference and to see garden tour pictures, read on here.