Exhibiting Roses / Displaying Roses

Exhibitions and Displays

Most gardeners take pride in their work and find it a rewarding experience to visit local, regional, and national shows. For the rose grower there is a special pleasure in visiting the shows mounted by the Royal National Rose Society. For the enthusiastic amateur, there almost inevitably comes a time when he wishes not merely to visit such shows but to take part as an exhibitor. How should he set about it?

Much depends on circumstances, but it is usually best to begin at a fairly modest local level. If you are lucky enough to have an exhibitor friend, you will quickly learn that it is almost as important to keep detailed seasonal records as it is to have green fingers. Good record-keeping is especially important in pruning because exhibition varieties differ considerably in the time they require to produce their blooms at the height of perfection. For instance, the full-petalled roses usually favoured by exhibitors may take as much as 15 or 16 weeks to reach their peak; whereas varieties of moderate petalage will open both earlier and more quickly. (Incidentally, it is true in rose exhibiting, as in other activities, that a good big ‘un’ will beat a good little ‘un’. This is not because the judges are biased: they are correctly giving recognition to the greater cultural skill which is required to combine size of blooms with quality, perfection of form, and brightness of colour.)

Your records, then, should include reliable information about the exact times that the varieties reach perfection. Such timing, of course, depends partly on where you live and whether the plants are growing in relatively sheltered or exposed areas of your garden. You will almost certainly find that local exhibitors will be pleased to give you basic data and hints on conditions in your area.

Novice exhibitors are usually able to enter their roses in special classes which enable them to gain some experience before coming up against the skills of the regular exhibitors. At the national rose shows classes are provided for those who grow 1,000 roses, 500, 250, or even less, and there are also classes for an unlimited number of exhibits for those with large gardens. These restrictions are designed to ensure equality of opportunity for growers operating on a large and small scale.


Varieties for Exhibition

Hybrid Teas

The qualities looked for are blooms that are three quarters open, with an upright, well-formed centre surrounded by a perfectly symmetrical circle of petals of fine colour. The following are varieties capable of producing blooms of this type; those marked thus * are varieties that Royal National Rose Society records show are exhibitors’ favourites.

• ‘Admiral Rodney’

• ‘Alec’s Red’

‘Alpine Sunset’

• ‘Big Chief

• ‘Bobby Charlton’



‘Charlie’s Aunt’

• ‘Chicago Peace’

• ‘City of Bath’

• ‘City of Gloucester’

‘Coalite Flame’

* ‘Embassy’

‘Ena Harkness’

* ‘Ernest H. Morse’

* ‘Fragrant Cloud’

* ‘Fred Gibson’

* ‘Gavotte’

* ‘Grandpa Dickson’

‘Honey Favourite’

* ‘Isabel de Ortiz’

‘Jimmy Greaves’

‘John Waterer’

‘Josephine Bruce’

‘McGredy’s Yellow’

* ‘Memoriam’

‘My Choice’ ‘Northern Lights’

* ‘Peace’

* ‘Perfecta’

* ‘Pink Favourite’ ‘Princess’

* ‘Red Devil’

* ‘Red Lion’

‘Rose Gaujard’

* ‘Royal Highness’

‘Silver Lining’


* ‘Wendy Cussons’


Floribunda roses for exhibition should have young, fresh flowers that are brilliantly coloured and have healthy foliage. As many flowers as possible should be open on each truss, and any aged blooms should be carefully removed, together with their footstalks, using a pair of nail or grape scissors. Some exhibitors believe that the most effective way of achieving large trusses with evenly spaced blooms that open simultaneously is by removing the large central buds and any markedly small buds at an early stage of their development.

The following are some of the varieties that have predominated at major shows in the last year or so. Three floribundas that are usually classified as shrubs but are eligible for exhibition in this class are marked thus *.

‘Anna Wheatcroft’

‘Anne Cocker’

‘Arthur Bell’


‘City of Leeds’


* ‘Dorothy Wheatcroft’

‘Elizabeth of Glamis’


‘Evelyn Fison’

* ‘Fred Loads’


* ‘Lavender Lassie’

‘Lili Marlene’


‘Molly McGredy’



‘Pink Elizabeth Arden’

‘Pink Parfait’

‘Queen Elizabeth’


‘Scented Air’

‘Sea Pearl’



11. March 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Roses | Tags: , | Comments Off on Exhibiting Roses / Displaying Roses


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: