By Victoria Faconti
The members of the Southampton Rose Society are busy trimming and pruning in preparation for the 37th annual rose show this weekend.
On Saturday, June 8 at 7 a.m. the society’s rose show competition will begin at the Rogers Memorial Library, a special place for the society as the 200-member organization donated the library’s rose garden in 2003, a garden it maintains to this day.
This year the annual rose show will include an inaugural competitive arrangement contest. Hal Goldberg, president of the Southampton Rose Society, said the group decided to introduce rose arranging in the hopes the competition would draw more gardeners.
Last year’s rose show featured about 30 growers, said Goldberg.
A landscaper by trade, Goldberg said the allure of growing roses is largely tied to their uniqueness.
“Nothing compares to roses,” Goldberg said, “It’s the ultimate flowering shrub.”
Laura Devinney, third vice president of Southampton Rose Society, commended those who take the time to grow roses, noting it can be quite the gardening challenge.
“It’s not so easy to get fabulous roses. People have devoted lots of time and trouble to grow them,” she said.
But members of the society hope through events like the rose show more people will be drawn into the tradition of cultivating roses. It’s a tradition celebrated around the world by those drawn to roses for their beauty and fragrance.
This past Saturday the society held a competitive rose arranging workshop to prepare people for the big show. At the workshop, Freda Smith taught competitors the basic ins and outs of the art.
“It takes a lot of skill and experience to grow a rose that’s going to win queen of show,” Goldberg said. “The people competing are growing roses for many years. They have developed the skill.”
The exhibition style rose show event is aimed at drawing the public in and showcasing roses cultivated by its members, but it is also a competition.
Based on the 2012 rose show, there are more than 50 different categories being judged.
Roses are judged based on different classes and in the specimen class there is a category for modern shrubs and classic shrubs featuring a rose bloom. There is also a sweepstakes trophy awarded to the individual with the most winning blue ribbons in specimen class.
In the special specimen class roses can be awarded prizes simply based on their fragrance. There is also a class for Southampton Rose Society members up to 18 years old and a novice class that is open to Southampton Rose Society members who have never won a blue ribbon in an accredited rose show.
The third section is the collections class. This section is only open to adult members of Southampton Rose Society. These categories are based on combining different types and colors of roses.
There is also one grand prize winner, Queen of Show.
Saturday’s competition will be held from 7 to 9:30 a.m. at Rogers Memorial Library. Judging for the roses will take place between 10 a.m. and noon. The show’s three judges this year from the American Rose Society are Smith, Louis Arce and Guss Priester.
Competitors don’t need to be a member of the rose society in order to take part in the competition. But roses must be from a garden and can’t be store bought (naturally). There are hundreds of types of roses judged each year. The judging is based on standards from the American Rose Society, including form, color, substance (the moisture or starch in the petals), stems and foliage, balance and proportion and size.
After the judging, the public is encouraged to come and admire the roses in the Morris Room at the library between 1 and 4 p.m.
But its not just roses for the rose society.
Goldberg noted the society also aids the Village of Southampton and its beautification program. The society has donated and maintains five gardens throughout the village.
“We’re a community minded organization,” Goldberg said, “Our mission is to contribute to the beautification of Southampton.”
The gardens are located around the village — outside the Southampton Cultural Center, at the Rogers Memorial Library, on Hampton Road and adjacent to Shippys Pumpernickel resturant.
For information about the rose society or entering the rose show, call 740-4732.