Gather ye rosebuds while ye may

Judges at the Kitsap County Rose Society show in Silverdale critique bloomed roses. Roses were judged based on form, color, blooms, balance and a number of other criteria.  - Seraine Page
Judges at the Kitsap County Rose Society show in Silverdale critique bloomed roses. Roses were judged based on form, color, blooms, balance and a number of other criteria.
— image credit: Seraine Page

There’s nothing like stopping to smell the roses. Even if it is inside on a warm, sunny day.

On Saturday, dozens of roses in various crystal vases brightened the inside of the Silverdale Community Center with splashes of pinks, purples and a variety of red hues, most bursting with the familiar earthy scent.

The room-turned-temporary-garden was the work of the Kitsap County Rose Society (KCRS). Members gathered for an annual rose show to share the beauty of roses in their full-bloom glory.

“Stop and smell the roses,” joked Lesli Leitz, who is a member of the Central Valley Garden Club and has attended a KCRS meeting before. “They’re like your kids. They start so tiny and they change. You watch for the daily changes.”

The non-profit group dedicates its time to educating the public on how to grow roses on the Kitsap Peninsula, said Elena Williams, KCRS publicity chair.

“We are affiliated with the American Rose Society,” she said. “Our rose show is basically a display of beautiful blooms and artistic arrangements.”

Visitors walked through the center viewing displays in a variety of classes including hybrid tea, grandiflora, floribunda, polyantha, shrubs and miniature roses.

Roses were judged on  form (25 points maximum), color (20 points maximum), substance (15 point maximum), stem and foliage (20 points maximum), size of bloom, balance and proportion (20 point maximum).

Twenty gardeners from across Kitsap County submitted their live roses and photography for judging, Williams said.

A photography exhibit with the subject of roses was also judged 50/50 on perfection of the bloom and photographic excellence. Three judges from the National Garden Clubs, Inc. and two clerks from the club gave out ribbons in each category. Clerks are club members who are interested in learning about better exhibit techniques for rose contests, Williams said.

The show also promotes the mission statement of the KCRS and is a public event in order to draw more members to join in on monthly meetings.

“Roses grow so easy here,” said Williams. “We’re trying to get some more people who are interested in roses who want to meet others who are interested in roses.”

According to the organization’s website, the group was founded in 1985. Members meet on the second Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Silverdale Fire Station 51. Discussions include rose care, garden tours, pruning techniques, and guest speakers often come in to chat with members.

During the show, roses were displayed on long tables to allow visitors to easily bend over to smell the flowers.

A few informational tri-fold boards provided tips on horticulture. An educational video in a viewing room offered information on mastering gardening with roses.

As it turns out, a rose isn’t just a rose. It takes patience, pruning and experience to turn buds into full blooms, claim club members.

“I like one with a good scent,” said KCRS Member Voris Siegle. “They (roses) amaze me despite my gardening skills. I grow a lot of other stuff, but roses are my favorite.”

Siegle also said that it can be difficult to keep roses healthy when the plant is susceptible to fungus, black spots and other plant diseases.

“You have to take care of them,” she said matter-of-factly.

Although some folks may not consider themselves gardening experts by any stretch, they’re happy to listen to information shared by experienced members.

“It’s amazing how much I’ve learned just by listening,” said Joanne Hunter, club member. “I was scared of worms, so I wouldn’t prune.”

Now, Hunter is an avid gardener because of tricks she’s picked up from other members. She is also no longer afraid of the night crawlers that lurk beneath the dirt.

While meetings generally are meant to share tips about growing flowers in the Pacific Northwest, camaraderie is another big aspect of the club’s popularity, said KCRS President Ray Etheredge.

“We have a lot of social and fellowship that keeps people coming,” he said.

As someone who thoroughly enjoys gardening, Etheredge also keeps in mind that certain things get tedious, such as pruning, but loves to see the result of his hard work, including multiple blooms on one branch.

“Gardening is enjoyable,” he said. “To see something grow and multiply is amazing.”


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