Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Festival of Roses

Are you ready for some RO – SES ?

I hope so. I think I was a little harder to convince. Only after attending the October meeting of our Marion County Rose Society this past Sunday did I get excited about the 16th Annual Rose Show that’s coming up in just ten days. Truthfully, I have never attended a rose show or even considered attending a rose show even though I have been growing roses in my own garden for four years. Seems odd, doesn’t it? Mainly, I guess that lack of interest was due to lack of understanding. Isn’t it always? 

Festival of Roses
Once I understood what the Festival of Roses would be, I was not only willing to attend but was eager in my anticipation of the event. Two bits of information piqued my curiosity. The first was a statement made by Consulting Rosarian, John Tucker, “We will be encouraging visitors to want to grow and appreciate roses by staging all classes of roses in their most perfect phase of possible beauty.” Imagine that…roses on display in their most perfect phase of possible beauty. John’s words inspired anticipation in me. The second bit of information was the announcement that this would be a twofold event, one being a judged competition of the most perfect possible rose beauty and the other being a non-judged display of rose beauty, the Roses On Display.

That means the auditorium at the Ag Center will be filled to the brim with many different varieties and classes of roses....roses competing for prizes and roses put on display to show that everyone can grow lovely roses in their own gardens. Tables, and tables and more tables will be covered with single stems, pairs of stems, triplets, sprays, bowls, boxes, frames, and bouquets of hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, miniatures, mini-floras, climbers, old garden roses, polyanthas, and shrubs. In some cases surely there will be no noticeable difference between a rose in competition and a rose on display, only a minor disqualifying detail such as “stem on stem”. Figure that one out. Another difference will be the display vessel. The rules of the American Rose Society apply to rose show competitions – even the type of vase that the rose can be displayed in. However, the Roses On Display have no such rules, and I’m sure many of the “vases” will bring a smile to our faces.

Forgetting my shyness, I accepted the invitation to clerk at the rose show. Clerks assist the Judges in their judging duties in the morning. This is a learning opportunity I’m looking forward to. And maybe there will be some beauties in my garden that morning that I can cut (extra long stems, please) and bring for the Display Of Roses. Maybe ‘White Maman Cochet’ or ‘Madame Abel Chatenay’ or maybe a cluster of ‘Clotilde Soupert’. If perchance someone says one is good enough to show, then I guess I could enter it in the Novice Classes. Wouldn’t that be exciting!?

So come and view some of the newest varieties of roses and imagine them in your garden. Free door prizes will be drawn every hour. There will be sales of potted roses and beautiful cut rose stems. You can pick up handouts on all aspects of growing roses. Our society’s publication, Growing Roses in Central Florida, will be available for purchase. Two entertaining and informative programs will be presented. A raffle for a wheelbarrow of rose-related items will be won by a lucky winner, and you will be able to ask our Consulting Rosarians your rose-growing questions. Admission is free.

October 29, 2011
Festival schedule

The Festival of Roses will be held at the Marion County Agricultural Center Auditorium at 2232 NE Jacksonville Road in Ocala, Florida. Here’s a map that shows exactly where that is or you can Google the address and/or building name to get driving directions online.

Map to Ag Center

So do consider attending the Festival of Roses and share our love of the National Flower.
I sure would love to meet you.

 All new members who join the Marion County Rose Society at this show will take home a
free potted rose.


  1. This event sounds like a lot of fun. Maybe you will be shopping for some more roses afterwards? I hope you will have a great time and am looking forward to reading about it.

  2. Have fun, Sherry, and take pictures !!!

  3. Even if you never plan on exhibiting your roses, attending a rose show is a wonderful, eye-opening experience. My roses are almost never in exhibition shape, but I learn a lot from the successful exhibitors in my own rose society in Richmond (va). Clerking at the show is my very favorite job. You get to see all the roses at their peak, and you see the inner workings of how the judges do their job. You will have a great time!!

    DO consider bringing some of your own roses. The Dowager and Victorian classes are always SOOO under represented. Show 'em your stuff!

  4. Oh Sherry, visit if you must, but don't get seduced into exhibiting....its a slippery slope to madness! A good read, along those lines, is the book "Otherwise Normal People" Aurelia Scott....a 5 year old or so book about competitive rosarians and rose shows.

  5. Sounds like a wonderful event to attend. Too bad it is not close by. Looking at roses and how they exhibit them would be a treat.

  6. I do hope you have a beautiful rose for display on the day of the festival. By the way, I really like the idea of enclosing your beds with brick in the previous post...great idea! Can't wait to see them when you're done.

  7. How fun! I've never been to a rose show, but it sounds so exciting! And to think - you're going to be right in the middle, next to the judges! What an experience! You'll learn so much. Have a great time, and good luck with your roses!