To be entered in our Roses, Chalk & Kites, Oh My! festival to be held the weekend of May 31st through June 2nd. The rose contest will be held Saturday, May 31st and we’ll be publishing information about when and where to bring your blooms. In the meantime, here’s a great article, from the Tulsa Rose Society, about entering your roses in a show. It’s not difficult!

Rose Exhibiting by “Non-Exhibitors” By Baxter Williams of Houston Rose Society  

Judging: it’s probably because the thought of having an entry rejected would be a real  embarrassment.  Well, I have good news for you: Starting is easier than ever. Here are the elements.

Well-grown Roses. They are started by being fed, and watered, and trimmed, and kept pest free. Adequate nourishment is enhanced when the pH of the soil is in the 6.5-7.0 range, and when fertilizer additions include needed trace elements. It is probably time to invest in a soil test.

And if you have been using only natural fertilizers (manures, “meals”,  composts, etc.), remember that they are “naturally” weak, compared to manufactured  fertilizers, so they need to be applied very early in the first bloom cycle. And, just as an experiment, you might try using our Houston Rose Society Rose Fertilizer during this first bloom cycle – it is an “instant”  product that can act in time to affect (size, color, stem and foliage) these first blooms.

Selection of Blooms. The judging of a rose show actually begins before the blooms are entered. It begins as you first look at the bloom-stems for the purpose of cutting them from the bushes. You make the judging call as to whether to cut them and take them to the show for entry – the judges only confirm your choices.

In all honesty, bloom selection is not all that difficult. Just cut long stems having good foliage and with large blooms on top. 

And then, holding them under water, re-cut them (so that they won’t droop because of the air bubble sucked into the stems as they were cut off of the bushes).

Bloom Preparation. Bloom prep is a 2-stage process. The first stage has already been mentioned: re-cut the stems underwater, and then store them in the refrigerator at about 36 deg F. The second stage is a little more detailed.

Once put into vases at a rose show, it is time to tag the blooms. Hint: Valuable time is preserved when the tags are prepared the night before the show. Be careful to fill in all of the appropriate blanks on both halves (upper and lower) of the entry tags! Secondly, if necessary, bloom petals can be gently manipulated to arrange them into a  more concentric pattern. Thirdly, gently wipe the leaflets with a soft cloth to give them a shiny look (Note: You must not use any additive to cause the shine).

A few “tools” come in handy in the prep area: bypass pruning shears, small grooming (fingernail) shears, to trim away any damaged leaflet edges, tweezers, a small paint brush, for petal manipulation, a pencil, or two, a sharp penknife (or Exacto knife set), a square foot (or 2) of aluminum foil wrap, rubber bands, a recent edition of the  American Rose Society “Handbook for Selecting Roses.”, and a copy of the Show Schedule, and a smidgeon of gutsy resolve.

C’mon; we can do this! Besides, the judges really do need something to do. Let’s load ‘em up. See you at the Show!