Exhibiting roses at a show for the very first time can be rather intimidating.  On one hand, you are putting your roses into competition.  On the other hand, you are putting yourself into competition.  How will your beloved roses fare?  “What can I expect?”

Like any other endeavor, the first steps are the most difficult, but often the experience is quite rewarding.  Those who exhibit regularly, all started out as a “novice.”  We’ve all “Been there, done that!” Most of us have made every mistake imaginable. But with the help of really terrific people, we all learned a bit more at each show.  The rewards?  We all grow better roses and we all have found a new circle of friends.

To help alleviate your trepidation, here are some helpful hints of rose exhibiting.

Decide on a way to transport your roses to the show  Used milk cartons in a box or crate are a safe way to move your roses.  The goal is to keep your blooms separate and safe from damage.

Prepare Your Grooming Kit  Rose exhibitors have accumulated many tools for preparing their roses.  You may want to do the same.  First find an inexpensive tackle box or partitioned box.  Basic tools for exhibiting roses include: a soft, lint-free cloth, cotton swabs, Q-tips, ballpoint pen, paper towels, a small amount of aluminum foil, tweezers, cuticle scissors, rose cutters, name & address labels or a rubber stamp. Put all these things together into a little tool kit, and keep them ready for every rose show.

Cut Your Best Blooms  The day before the show, cut your best rose blooms when they are 1/2 to 3/4 open. For those roses that have few petals and show their stamens, you want to make sure those stamens are fresh and bright. Cut your roses early in the morning, and recut the stem under water. It’s a good idea to put your roses in a cool, dark place, with the stems in cartons of water and floral preservative.

Cut the longest stems possible, you can always shorten them before entering them in the show.  Do not remove any of the leaves because you can be penalized for missing foliage above the lip of the vase.

The goal is to bring your cleanest, freshest rose blooms to the show.  This may mean that you actually cut some roses the morning of the show.  Have everything ready for those last minute blooms.

Know your Rose  You will need to know the variety name of the rose you enter.  You can label your milk carton or carefully attach a paper label loop around your rose stem.  If you are not sure of the variety name, there are plenty of people at the show who can help identify your rose.

Arrive Early to the Show  You should arrive early at the rose show site, around 7:00 am. This way you will have plenty of time to prepare your roses, and you won't feel so rushed.  Our shows require that you use the vases we furnish so that the vases look the same and do not distract the judges.

Find a Place to Work  Seasoned exhibitors often arrive very early in the morning with lots of roses.  Don’t be intimidated!  You won’t be competing with them.  First time exhibitors, novices, typically place their exhibits in a separate category, only competing with other novices.

Pick up a show schedule that will list the various classes for entry, or download the schedule ahead of time from the links on the previous page.

Find a spot where you can work.  Introduce yourself to those around you.  Let them know you are entering for this first time.  They will help you get what you need or introduce you to those at the show who have volunteered to assist you. Often we will offer suggestions about how to proceed, tips for improving your exhibit, and offer encouragement.

Groom Your Roses Clean the foliage with a damp cloth, primp the bloom, and remove unwanted growth.  It's all right to remove damaged petals, and trim foliage, but you will be disqualified if you add anything.  Never apply any foreign substance to the leaves.

Fill Out the Entry Tag  To exhibit roses, you must use the official ARS entry tags that are available at the show. Fill in your name and address (most of us use mailing labels), the name of each rose variety, and the class you are entering. Attach the tags to each vase with a rubber band.

Enter Your Rose  Each exhibit goes in a specific place in the show.  Ask where the novice exhibits are to be placed.  Take your rose into the show areas, find that special spot, place your enter and step back.  Is your rose standing up straight and tall?  Does it have its “best face” forward? 

You’ve done all you can.  Are you still breathing?  Now the judges will go to work.  The show room will be off limits to you during judging.  When you come back into the show room after judging, you will probably go right to your exhibit.  What if it is not there?  Then it has been moved –TO THE WINNERS’ TABLE!  Congratulations!

Disclaimer:  While the advice and information contained within this website is believed to be true and accurate, GMRS does not accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may have been made.  GMRS makes no warranty, expressed or implied with respect to the material contained herein.
This page was most recently updated on 3/20/2013