Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The District Rose Show

I went to Richmond this past weekend to help with the Colonial District Fall Rose Show, hosted by the Richmond Rose Society. I had no idea how much work it was for the organizers of this event, and how many people it took to make it happen.

For those of you who have never been to a rose show, here’s how it goes:

The doors opened at 6:00 in the morning. Exhibitors staked out territory to prepare their roses ... staging them so they would look their very best for the judges later in the morning.

There are ways to help the roses look exactly right, using what seems to outsiders like very unusual methods. These Q-Tips and cotton balls help hold the petals of this hybrid tea rose in just the right position so the rose stays open in perfect exhibition form.

All of this is removed right before the rose is placed on the show table. All exhibits had to be finished and turned in by 9:30.

The show room is divided by category and class, according to the show program. The placement volunteers (one of which was me) take the roses from the exhibitors at the registration table, and place them in their correct spot in the room. There are categories for hybrid teas, floribundas, miniatures and minifloras, old garden roses, climbers, shrubs, etc. By the time all the roses are placed and judging is ready to start, the room is full of roses.

There were eight judges who worked in pairs, with two clerks assigned to each team of judges (I was one of the clerks, too.). The judges have a list of categories that they judge. Each rose within the category is assessed against the ideal form for that rose. Roses coming closest to this standard are awarded Blue Ribbons (there can be many blue ribbons within each category). They also award ribbons for 2nd and 3rd place, and honorable mention.

The Blue Ribbon winners among the hybrid teas compete for Queen of the show. Each judge votes for the rose they feel is the best of the best in this group.

I placed two entries in the show. As I was packing the Jeep on Friday morning, I saw some particularly nice sprays of flowers on Elegant Design, a Ralph Moore floribunda from 1994. I cut 3 stems, and put them in my iced tea pitcher and placed them in the Jeep.

Since I was taking these, I took a minute to walk the rest of the garden to see if there was something else to bring. I really wanted to find an old garden rose of some sort … most of my roses, though, had nothing to offer. I found a flower on General Cavaignac that looked like it would compete, after a bit of tidying up and staging, of course.

My sprays of Elegant Design won a second place ribbon. They were tall and floppy, and it was really difficult to stage them so they stayed looking balanced and proportionate … and some of the flowers were a little past peak.

General Cavaignac, however, won a Blue Ribbon!! This was my very first Blue Ribbon for entering a rose in a show … what a thrill. My rose narrowly lost out to a nice specimen of Rose de Rescht for the best OGR trophy (an award called “Dowager Queen”. How unflattering).

At rose shows, trophies aren’t what we think of as trophies … you know, those tall awards with engraved name plates. Rose show trophies are usually something made of crystal, like a vase, a bowl, or a dish.

After the judging is finished, the show room is open to the public. Hundreds of people came, program in hand, walking the aisles of the show room and smelling the roses. There is no better place than a rose show to see how well roses can be grown.

This little bit of success has probably started a downward slide toward more rose exhibiting for me. I don’t have the time to travel the circuit to all the shows during the spring and fall seasons … but I will definitely continue to exhibit roses in some way when I can.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog)

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Ginter Plant Sale

The plant sale at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden this past weekend turned out really well! I have shopped this sale as a customer many times … this was my first experience there as a vendor. Having done the sale at Hartwood Days the weekend before, Steve and I were able to fine-tune what we needed to do and how we would do it for Ginter. This helped a LOT.

It looked for a while on Thursday like it wasn't going to happen.

I missed the first day of the sale … I was on Day 2 of a really nasty cold. I felt too bad to go out, and I had no business taking my germs on the road along with the roses. Steve (bless his heart) took the roses I pulled from inventory and he set up and manned the booth by himself. He decided that he could make it work, if I was available to answer questions over the phone. So, I sat on the couch, blew my nose a lot, watched TV, knitted, and answered about 30 phone calls from Steve. “Is this Rose Technical Support?”, he would ask.

Most of the questions were about the details or habits of specific varieties. Steve was able to answer almost all of the other questions by himself. He’s helped me in the garden enough, or watched me do it myself, to be able to advise customers on our routine of rose care … which is what many wanted to know. I cannot possibly thank him enough for doing this.

I was nearly 100% on Saturday, so we both went to do the second day. We loaded the truck with more roses, to replace the ones he’d sold the day before. There were more people shopping on Saturday than there were on Friday, and it was a good thing that both of us were working the booth. We were busy.

Our new rose tags with photos were great! They allowed people to browse the pots and see what each one would look like if it were blooming. I wish I’d thought of this before now. It would have made the first part of the season a whole lot easier.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Taking the Roses on the Road

This will be the second weekend in a row that I will have the roses away from the nursery. Our booth last weekend at Hartwood Days taught me a lot.

Hartwood Days

(That’s not my laundry in this photo … the booth next to me was selling skirts, tops, and sundresses.)

Lesson #1: If it’s not blooming, people probably don’t want it. This has been easy to deal with here in the garden, because I have the mother plant to show … can’t do this at a remote location like a fair or a plant sale. I had a vase of flowers to show as examples, but it just wasn’t the same.

Now, all the roses have photo ID tags. I’ll put them into the pots as I arrange them in my booth. That way, people can browse and ask questions … instead of having to shop from my list or know in advance what they want.

ID Tags

Lesson #2: It’s a waste of time to bring my crocheting, because there’s always someone who wants to visit. At Hartwood Days, many of the people who stopped to chat were locals who asked questions about our house. Others were drawn in by the display of roses, and they wanted to know how to better care for their own roses … or they wanted to tell me about the roses their mother or grandmother or neighbor grew … I love hearing these stories, BTW.

 Lesson #3: It’s easiest to make a point if I use a visual aid. The best idea I had while I was packing for the fair was to grab an empty bottle of fungicide and toss it in with the rest of my stuff. This was great because I could show people the actual chemical that I use to spray the roses, instead of just telling them about it. I think I’ll make up a rose care card if I have time, so I don't have to write “Bayer Advanced Disease Control … get it at Lowes” over and over again.

If you have the time, stop by my booth at Lewis Ginter, tomorrow from 10:00 – 6:00 or Saturday from 9:00 – 3:00. For details and directions, click HERE.

 The roses are on sale … $10.00 each, and I have brought back the Buy 3/Get 1 Free deal. See you this weekend in Richmond!

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ralph Moore (1907 – 2009)

Ralph Moore, the father of the miniature rose, died today. He hybridized hundreds of roses, and advanced the science of rose breeding more than any other man I can think of. He was a genius who seemed to have no regard for the word ‘impossible’.

As an example of just how much I admire this man and how much I love his roses … out of the 800-or-so varieties of roses I grow here, 150 of them were bred by Ralph Moore.

Here are some of Mr. Moore’s roses that are blooming in my garden today, offered here as my tribute to this very special man.

God speed, Mr. Moore.

(written by Hartwood Roses,  Hartwood Roses blog)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Beauty of Singles and Stamens.

The Fall flush of flowers is beginning here, and I was out in the garden the other afternoon with my camera ... taking advantage of a light overcast to get some really nice photographs for the web site. Singles and semi-double roses are some of my favorites, and many of these were blooming.

Here are some of my roses, proudly showing their stamens.  Enjoy!

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog)
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