Preparation for Exhibiting Roses
When active growth begins, frequent and almost daily, attention to your plants becomes vital. Two and sometimes three growths may develop from one eye, and only the most promising should be retained (usually the middle one if three are involved). You should remove the unwanted growths with great care when they are large enough to handle without causing any damage. Some varieties are apt to produce ‘blind’ growths which will not produce a bloom: Keep a sharp look out for these; if they appear, they should be removed.
Strong growths with promising terminal buds must be staked in those gardens where wind can cause damage (these stakes can be used later if the variety requires protection from rain or sun). Each stem should be limited to one bud, which will develop as the shoot grows. Smaller side buds often appear just below it, and they must be removed as soon as possible without damaging the main or terminal bud. An exception to this practice occurs in the case of a variety that tends to produce ‘split’ blooms — that is, blooms in which there is a defect in the symmetry of the arrangement of the petals around a well-formed centre, making a break in the circular outline of the flower. Exhibitors overcome this by removing the terminal bud and taking a side bud which has been spared for this purpose. This results in a smaller but more perfectly shaped flower, usually some days later — which may be an advantage or a disaster, depending on the date of the show.
Cultivation must not be neglected, and should be a matter of routine: a heavy feed just before the show is not likely to produce top-class blooms. Many exhibitors prefer to use liquid fertilizers, which can be more quickly absorbed by the plants; this is often supplemented by foliar feeds. Reliable proprietary brands of fertilizer specially compounded forare available. Avoid heavy doses of nitrogen: although it encourages the growth of foliage, on roses its effect flatters to deceive. Potash-rich mixtures are much better, improving the substance. Of their blooms and enriching the colour of the petals.