Mini's 'n' Stuff
Howdy! Well, guess what? IT'S SHOW TIME!!! Yes, that long awaited ARS National show, with its really great trophies and honors, is just around the corner. I hope you have been following all the advice you can digest, and then been adding your own secrets to it, so that we can defend ourselves from the invasion of all those people from outside the Carolinas who want to take our hardware back to their states and Societies.
Well, let's review some of the things you need to be doing between now and the first of October to make it big at the show.
Keep Up The Good Work - Continue to spray and water as you have all through this hot and dry summer. Also go check the garden and cut out all spent blooms, along with any small twiggy growth that doesn't have much chance of producing good strong stems and blooms (complete this now).
Feeding - You might want to give you bushes a shot of Mills Magic or some other slower feeding type fertilizer. This needs to go down between the middle of August and the first of September. Around the 15th of September (two weeks before the show) give your bushes a shot of high phosphate liquid fertilizer (that's a high number in the middle). This usually helps the bloom's color.
Water - Continue to water on a regular schedule, It is very important to have constant moisture available to help move the food to the plant to help push the growth.
Register So You Can Show - You must register to participate in the National Show. If you don't sign up early, you may not get a chance to show off all your hard work. Don't let it go to waste, sign up now. Also, when you are registered, you will get a show schedule to review. (As you read on you'll see that that's important.)
During the week of the show (9/27 - 10/2) do the following:
Cut Blooms - Once or twice a day go out and look over the blooms. Cut any blooms that show any level of promise (the judges will tell you if you were right) and quickly put them in water as you cut them. You may want to leave the very tight ones (little or no color showing) tiU the next day's harvest. Cut each stem long enough to carry the bloom (several sets of 3 or 5 leaves) and don't pull any of the leaves off. At this time a stem that's too long won't hurt, you can shorten the stem at the show - you can't make it longer at the show.
Clean Up - Take your blooms into the house and clean each set of leaves to remove all spray residue. The dark green of the foliage will provide a great background for your bloom. Remove or reshape any torn or black spotted leaves.
Plan - A day or two before the show review that schedule and try to decide exactly what sections you might be entering (now, aren't you glad you registered early?). Based on what blooms you have ready to show, you should work up a list of classes that will fit the blooms you will be taking. Decide what may be your best and strongest entries. Plan to work on these first the morning of the show. This list and plan will be very important since, even if you get to the show at 4:00 a.m., you will still be pressed for time to get everything entered.
Preparation - It is also a good idea to fill out entry tags, with the correctly spelled name of all possible entries, in the days before the show. You should also put a paper tag, with name, around the neck of each bloom. Pressure can cause some funny spelling of names and also some renaming of blooms - but don't forget to remove the tag before you place or turn in the entry. You will also put your registration number on the tags, plus don't forget to put your name in the right spot. Remember, everything that you can do at your leisure in your own home will help you at the show.
Go To The Show - Get to the preparation room in plenty of time to complete what work you still need on your entries. If you are entering a Challenge Class, you will need to place your own entries.
If You Need Help - Ask For It - But don't become a pest. Most Rose People are really nice, but everyone will be a little up tight for this show. But if you really need some help, ask for it. I expect you'll be able to find what you need.
Got to go now. Good Luck and please bring your trophies to the meetings so we can all see them. See you at the National.