Exhibiting Roses

If you are interested in exhibiting your roses, you will find that there are many opportunities. In addition to local, regional, and national shows sponsored by the American Rose Society, many garden clubs and state fairs have rose sections in their flower shows. These can take place anytime during rose-blooming season and are often advertised in local newspapers and on the radio. The ARS publishes the dates and locations of its rose shows in its monthly magazine.

Rose shows are usually held indoors at shopping malls, schools, libraries, and other public buildings. Exhibitors arrive early in the morning, usually about 6 A.M., and spend three or four hours arranging tables and setting out cut roses in clear glass bottles or vases. Roses are often positioned alphabetically by class (such as floribunda, hybrid tea, and so on).

Judging the roses begins when the exhibits are ready, and is closed to the public, if feasible. Judges trained and accredited by the ARS work their way among the entries, usually in teams of three. The number of teams depends on the size of the show; a large national show may have as many as two dozen teams. Judges award blue (first prize), red (second prize), yellow (third prize), and sometimes white (honorable mention) ribbons by variety within each class. Only one blue ribbon is awarded per class and variety, but there can be numerous second and third prizes if the entries warrant it. After the judging is completed, the exhibitors and the public are allowed to view and enjoy the show.

After all the ribbons have been awarded, the blue-ribbon winners undergo a second round of judging. From among the one-bloom-per-stem, disbudded hybrid teas, grandifloras, and climbing hybrid teas exclusively, the judges select a grand-prize winner known as the Queen of the Show. Second- and third-place winners from these classes are often chosen as well, and are usually called the King and the Princess of the Show. Together with the best floribunda spray, grandiflora spray, one-bloom-per-stem miniature, miniature spray, old garden rose, polyantha, climber, and shrub (which are ineligible for the grand prize), these winners are placed on a separate table known as the Court of Honor.