There is a lot more to judging a rose than meets the eye. For a fully opened bloom, the stamens should be fresh and showing. For a hybrid tea, you want the high center point and you don’t want the pedals to be down more than half way. It should be like a triangle.
“And fresh(ness) is the key to everything,” said Sue Diller, an arrangement and horticulture judge.
That’s why the exhibitionists at the 23rd annual Rose Show put on by the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society have to grow so many roses.
“We judge them in their best form,” said Diller.
Around 20 people brought at least 400 different kinds of roses to Hart Hall at William S. Hart Park on Saturday, each trying to find their best form. There were 50 different classes to compete from where the owners of the best judged roses received cash prizes.
Kitty Belendez, the president of the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society and chairman of the Rose Show, showed at least 100 roses that she grew, but none were able to top the Ring of Fire, which won both best of show and queen of show. That does not happen very often according to Belendez.
“It’s a new rose,” said Belendez. “Any time you have a new variety and it’s really good, it’s going to get a lot of attention.”
Being a part of a budding community of rose enthusiasts means a lot more to the participants than just growing and showing roses though. It creates a common bond where lasting friendships are made, such as is the case with Barbara Schneider and Sue Diller.
They attended their first judging school together 25 years ago in Ventura County and even started living together after Schneider’s husband passed away years ago.
Schneider and Diller both believe that showing roses together helped Schneider get through her husband’s illness and passing.
“(Schneider) would have someone to go and do something with,” said Diller.
Her husband, even when he was ill, would push her to go out to rose shows as well.
“He knew it would be really good,” said Diller.
Diller and Schneider have attended the entire 23 years of rose shows in the Santa Clarita Valley together and have no intention of stopping anytime soon either.
They depend on each other to live to the fullest they can, and that friendship sprouted from a common interest in roses.