New England Rose Society. The annual event was held at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts.
We have been growing roses for several years and our gardens now boast a grand total approaching 200 roses of every rose class, color, and size. But growing roses doesn't make one prepared to show them any more than adopting a pound puppy makes one a winner at dog shows.
We were novices out of the gate and we had another significant disadvantage: the vagaries of New England weather. The week prior to the show we had it all. Gale force winds with tree limbs sailing through the rose beds, torrential rains with spotty flooding, and temperatures ranging from the 50's to the 90's.
After a particularly nasty lightening, wind, and rain storm Saturday night, we didn't expect to find much worth showing Sunday at the rose show and we weren't pleasantly surprised. We were up and out in the garden by 6:00 AM to cut roses to bring to the show. We went from bed to bed and managed to fill two buckets with blooms that were not anything close to the beauty of the blooms we had hoped to bring.
Armed with a tote bag of tools to prepare our roses for showing (some foam for wedging, tiny scissors, rose clippers, Q-tips, and such), we set up vases and rose bowls with blooms. Fourteen of our roses joined the blooms of other New England regional rose growers on the exhibition tables.
Convinced that we had no chance of winning, we headed off for a relaxing lunch at the Twigs Cafe and some quiet time spent reading and relaxing on the lovely grounds of the Botanical Center. Imagine our pleasure when we returned to the exhibition area to discover 11 of our roses sporting red and blue ribbons and a gift of crystal rosebud candlesticks in recognition of our winnings.
But the best surprise of all was yet to come. The one rose class yet to be decided was the fragrance competition which is determined by votes cast by rose show attendees. When the votes were tallied, we were absolutely thunderstruck to be named winners of the fragrance competition and presented with a gorgeous Waterford vase by conference chairwoman Barbara LeDuc.
We will certainly enter competitions in the future and hope to win other awards, but none will likely ever be as sweet as our first "Best". The winning rose, cut from one of our three Zephirine Drouhins, has perfumed our gardens and yard for the past three weeks and today a fresh flush of blooms opened around both our trellis bench and the mailbox, I'm convinced in honor of the prize.
To showcase some of the roses we entered into the competition and the presentation of the award, I created my very first photograph mosaic for the Mosaic Monday blog roll hosted by Mary Carroll at Little Red House.