Exhibiting from the Eyes of a Novice
by Pam Schill
From the Winston-Salem Rose Society Clippings, June 1999

Rosarians grow roses for different reasons. Most of us share the love of plants that's been passed down through generations from other family members.

There is one breed of rosarian, however, that has always been a mystery to me: The Exhibitor. What is it that drives these people to put little dresses on their blossoms to protect them from the elements? How can they rise at the crack of dawn, when the rest of the world sleeps, to drive miles for the chance of showing their blooms? What possesses them to strip their garden of their most perfect blossoms, to be deposited at a show and never returned, thus robbing them of the chance to enjoy their beauty in the garden for days to come? Who are these people that spend endless hours polishing foliage as if it were heirloom silver? What are these strange concoctions they brew? Only they know the "secret" ingredients. Don't dare ask, or you'll be met with a scowl! Are these people mad, or just possessed of a competitive nature the rest of us view with bewilderment. Personally, I've always enjoyed growing roses just for the beauty they possess; and the joy they bring to others. When presented as a gift to shut-ins, hospital patients, or friends and co-workers, roses seem to have the magical power of bringing a smile to everyone's face. They also lend a touch of elegance to any occasion, just as they did for my mother's 80th birthday celebration last weekend.

Me exhibit? I grow my roses for more charitable endeavors. Even though I've won blue ribbons at the fair and at the continuing rose shows, somehow these victories seem hollow. Any rosarian who's worth their metal, it seems, must have a blue ribbon from an ARS accredited show under their belt. Since 1992, this accomplishment has eluded me. (I know how Susan Lucci must feel!)

Now that I have won my first "official" blue ribbon, and have the added pleasure of making it to the Head Table, I have an insight into the thrill of victory that must drive these "mad" people. I have only one question remaining ... Where do you get those little dresses?