Tricks Of The Trade -How To Win Ribbons At The Rose Show

Sally Holmes is a white Shrub rose that has won the Best Shrub Class at many rose shows

It's that time of year to see if all of the hard work of pruning, fertilizing and insect and disease control will produce any show winners. This month's page will be discussing how to get prepared for a rose show. If you're not going to be entering in a show you can sit back and enjoy your first own show in your back yard. If you live in most parts of California you first roses will be blooming this month. Powdery mildew, blackspot and rust are the most common fungus diseases to be found on roses. Triforine is affective in controlling these diseases on roses. You'll need to be watching out for insects this month. Baldo Villegas has a great page on insect and pest management. His address is :
You'll be able to find just about any insect that will invade your garden on his page.

Other things to be doing in your garden will be cutting off old blooms. You will want to cut back to where there is a set of five leaflets. This will keep your bushes repeating their bloom cycle in about six weeks after cutting them off. Roses are heavy feeders and you will want to fertilize six weeks after your first feeding.

Milestone, a Red Blend Hybrid Tea, shows excellent hybrid tea form

Walking Your Garden

It's important to always be walking your garden to see how your roses are progressing for the show and to check for major outbreaks of disease or insects. About a month before your rose show you want to be out in your garden daily. This is where the "tricks of the trade" start. Hybrid tea roses and miniature roses that you want to consider for one bloom per stem entries need to have any side buds disbudded. Some varieties of roses produce more side buds than others, but those that don't need to gently have their side buds removed as soon as you can see them. By removing the side buds early gives the remaining bud lots of time to develop and it also will leave less scaring.

Paradise is a Mauve Hybrid Tea Rose. It needs to have q-tips or cotton balls put in the inner rows of petals to bring the petals down to fill the void from the lower petals. The lower damaged petal guard on the bottom of the rose needs to be removed.

For all spray entries that you may have-floribundas, miniatures, climbers, hybrid teas, grandifloras, polyanthas and shrub roses, you will want to remove the center bud of each spray. This is the largest bud in the spray. By removing it early will insure that the other buds can close the hole in the center of the spray and hide the scar that is left. Look for sprays that will have at least two or more blooms open for the show. Disbudding can be done up to the day of the show, but the later it is done the more noticeable the scars will be.

Crystalline a White Hybrid Tea, has good form but with the spacing or voids between the rows of petals may loose some points for form

Judging Scale For Roses

When judging roses several things are considered for the overall quality of the entry. Form of the rose is 25% of the points; color is 20%; substance of the bloom is 15%; stem and foliage is 20%; balance and proportion is 10% and size is 10% of the points. We all want to win Queen of the Show. All of your hard work will help, but the rose that has the perfect form color, substance, stem, foliage, balance, porportion and size on the day of the show is is going to win. MOTHER NATURE and LUCK do play a part in what roses will be winners in the show.

Bon Bon is a Pink Blend Floribnuda. Floribunda entries shown in sprays should have blooms with good form and be fresh

Tricks Of The Trade

GROOMING-that's where the tricks of the trade can play an important part in making your entry look better than it really is. Grooming can increase your odds of winning ribbons. If you haven't sprayed for insect and disease problems or you have and it wasn't very affective, your leaves are going to show it. Eventhough stem and foliage only count for 20% of the points in judging, it can make the difference when another rose that has good foliage with no damage will place higher than your entry if the bloom, form, color, balance, proportion and size are equal in points.

Peggy T is a medium red single-petaled Miniature. It would be shown in the Single-Petal Miniature Class

Tools Needed In A Grooming Kit

There are many items that need to be in a grooming kit-not everyones' kit is going to be the same. There are a few basic tools that should be included. They include: scissors, sable brushes, tweezers, cotton balls, q-tips, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, nylon stocking or wool sock and paper towels. Also needed are rubber bands, entry tags, the show schedule and reference books. With scissors you can carefully trim the edges of your leaves that have small insect damage or spray burn damage. Sable or camel brushes can be used to gentley coax blooms into better form by opening the petals up. Tweezers are used to remove extra petaloids from single-petalled roses and can also be used to remove damaged guard petals. Cotton balls and q-tips are used to open up tight blooms. They can be put on the bloom after cutting. Be sure to remove them before placing your entry. Q-tips can also be used to remove spots on petals. Plastic wrap and foil are used as wedging material in the inside of the lip of the conatiner. When blooms just won't stand up wedging material can really improve an entry. Be sure that it doesn't protrude outside of the container or your entry can be disqualified. A old nylon stocking or a wool sock I feel are the most important things you need. They are used to clean off foliage that has spray residue or other material on the leaves. Don't add any type of oil or other liquiid on the leaves because your entry will be disqualified if the judges notice it on the leaves

Jean Kenneally an Apricot Blend Miniature, is one of the highest rated of all types of roses and is almost always in the running for "Queen of Miniatures"

Photo courtsey of Baldo Villegas

Cutting Roses For Exhibiting

It is important to know how to cut roses for exhibiting. If roses are not cut properly air will get into the stem and the bloom will wilt. When to cut your roses will depend on the variety. Some varieties can be cut two to three days before the show. Roses that need to be cut earlier than the day before the show need to be stored in a refrigerator. Some varieties do not keep well in a refrigerator and will loose substance and color from being refrigerated.

Irresistible is a White Miniature. Some sprays will show only one stage of bloom and others will show all stages of bloom.

Cut roses in the early morning or late evening. With a bucket of water and sharp pruning shears cut the roses that you have been watching throughout the week. Cut the blooms 1/4-1/3 open which will let them open more on the day of the show. Hybrid tea roses are best shown 1/2-2/3 open. Cut the stems at a 45 degree angle and put them in the bucket you are carrying. Usually after about six blooms take them to an area where you are going to store them until the show. Fill another bucket of tepid water. Place each stem that you cut into the bucket and with your shears cut the stem again and submerge it immediately into the water. The second cutting should keep the roses from getting air into the stem and causing it to wilt. This hardening off process should always be followed even if you cut a bloom one hour before the show.

Nightengale is a Pink Blend Hybrid Tea. If your rose has poor foliage and cannot be groomed to look good, the rose can be used in the Rose in a Bowl or English Box Class

With the middle of the day left before the day of the show, you have time now to fill out your entry tags and look one last time in your garden to see if you missed any last minute "queen" potential roses. If you did they can be cut in the evening and hardened off.

Sweet Vivian is a Pink Blend Floribunda. Tweezers would be used to take out extra petaloids

Maybe now that you have finished this page you'll be excited enough to try your luck at entering in a show. There are many reasons to enter a rose show but the biggest reward you'll get is all the friends you will make. So don't say "no way" until you have at least given it some thought. Besides making new friends-it really is FUN!! And it's really exciting to see your roses with ribbons on them. GOOD LUCK!!

If you have any questions or comments, my e-mail address:

San Joaquin Valley Rose Society Top Page

This page hosted by Get your own Free Home Page

Last updated April 5, 1998
@1997 Linda Burg