Be An Exhibitionist: How to Show Your Roses

Ron King

Now that you have a rose garden you are proud of, it's time to take the next step and let others see the beauty of your roses. Rose shows and exhibits are exciting events where you get a chance to see how your roses stack up against other rosarians'. It doesn't matter if you win -- the experience alone will be fun, and you'll learn a lot.

Visit a Rose Show

Before entering your own roses, visit a few rose shows to see how everything works. If at all possible, get permission to enter the preparation room to see what experienced displayers do before the judging begins.

Get The Rule Book

Get a copy of the rule book from the American Rose Society. Visit their web site at for more information.

When you decide you are ready, look for a show that's close to home to limit your travel time and expenses. Many exhibits offer special judging classes for beginners, so try to find one of those for your first time.

Follow this timetable and you'll be ready to face the judges on the day of your show:

30 Days Before The Show

It's easiest to start with 1 single bloom on a stem, so select the 1 rose you will be showing. Be sure to pick a rose with a sturdy and straight stem.

Begin preparing the rose for exhibit by cutting off all of the buds that are forming on the side of the stem between the top and the leaf. This focuses all the nutrients to the single bloom at the end of the stem.

Support the cane of your selected rose by staking it with a bamboo stake and some rose or twist ties. This protects the cane and helps to support the rose as it grows.

Spray fungicide when needed, and promptly remove any aphids or spider mites. Aphids can be removed by spritzing with soapy water. Spider mites can be lightly sprayed with plain water.

Water your roses as you normally would, and apply organics and fertilizer as needed.

Put together your tool kit for the day of the show. Most experienced rosarians carry the following in their kits:

* American Rose Society Rule Book
* Shears
* Several soft cloths
* Cotton swabs (such as Q-Tips)
* Plastic wrap
* Small, soft artist's paintbrush

7 Days Before The Show

Cover your selected bloom at night with a baggy that's secured below the bloom with a tie. Remove the baggie before the sun rises in the morning. Do this every night until you leave for the show.

2 Days Before The Show

Cut the rose, with the stem a bit longer than usual, because you will be re-cutting it on the day of the show.

Place the rose in a florist's bucket, cover the bloom with a baggie and tie it off below the bloom. Place the bucket and rose in the refrigerator.

Morning of The Show

Remove the rose from the refrigerator, place the container and rose safely in your car, grab your kit, and head for the show!

Ron King is a full-time researcher, writer, and web developer. Visit to learn more about this fascinating hobby.

Copyright 2005 Ron King. This article may be reprinted if the resource box is left intact.

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