KENNEWICK -- The usual dazzling display of blooms at the Tri-City Rose Society's annual show may be slightly less lavish this year.
"Spring came to our area about two weeks later than normal this year," said Helen Newman of Kennewick.
Roses don't care about a date on the calendar, they go by temperature, and Mother Nature wasn't very cooperative this spring.
Tri-City Rose Society 61st Annual Rose Show
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-- When: Sunday
-- Hours: Open to the public 1 to 6 p.m.
-- Cost: Free
-- Where: Richland Shilo Inn, 50 Comstock St.
Yet spring was late in coming to the Mid-Columbia last year too and there still were plenty of blooms to enjoy and judge. Many entries came from growers who had never competed before who responded to urging from Rose Society members to give it a shot.
As Norma Boswell, longtime member of the Rose Society and a consulting rosarian, said last year," What I've seen over the years is that even novices to showing can have roses just as wonderful, just as worthy of a blue ribbon, as anyone who's been showing roses for years."
If the warmer temperatures we've enjoyed the past week or so has brought out the blooms on your roses, consider trying your luck at this year's show -- the 61st -- on Sunday at the Richland Shilo Inn.
Go for blue
Everyone's welcome to compete and there is no entry fee. You just need to own and care for the roses you enter. To make it fair, entries from those who are new to exhibiting and those entered by youths 17 and under are judged separately from those of the seasoned show veterans.
It's easy to choose a rose to enter in the show. Follow Boswell's advice and "simply go out in the garden and look for the most perfect rose you've ever seen."
There's no need to pre-register. Just take your blooms to the Shilo Inn between 7:30 amd 10 a.m. Sunday. If you've not shown before go early and Rose Society members will be on hand to help you fill out the entry tags and groom your blooms.
Here are some tips from Boswell for entering next Sunday's competition:
-- Cut you blooms today. Water them well this morning and cut them in the late afternoon. That way the plants will have all day to take up water.
-- Take a bucket of warm water out to the garden with you. Immediately after cutting a stem, put it in the water and recut the stem -- just a half-inch or so. This will keep air from entering the stem which can prevent the rose from taking up any more water.
-- Set the cut roses in a cool spot overnight.
-- Take your roses even if the leaf cutters have been at the leaves or the stems are short. Rose Society members can help you trim them up and there's even a place in the show for roses with no stem at all.
-- List the names of your roses or tag them. Don't know the name? Take it anyway. Chances are good one of the experienced rosarians will be able to identify it.
-- Don't limit your selection to hybrid teas. There are categories for every type of rose at the show from mini to old garden to floribunda.
-- To save time, do some preliminary grooming at home, Boswell recommends. Remove any critters. Earwigs, aphids and spiders and other creepy crawlies aren't welcome at the show.
No blooms, no problem
There's even a category for people who don't grow roses, just as long as they can photograph them. Focus on either a single outstanding bloom or a whole spray of any one of these varieties: hybrid tea, grandiflora, floribunda, miniature, shrub, old garden rose or a climber.
Print your best color shot -- 8-by-10-inch format -- and attach it to a stiff backing.
For more information on the Rose Society and the show go to www.owt.com/rosesociety.
* Loretto J. Hulse: 509-582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org. See more of the Herald's Home & Garden stories at www.tricityhomeandgarden.com.