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News from America

American Rose Society Tri-annual Elections


Well, the big election happened! No not the Hilary versus Donald, Bob Martin finally achieved his ambition to win the nomination for Vice President of the American Rose Society.
Very sadly, Sam Jones, his vanquished opponent in the election, passed away suddenly at an ARS meeting in August.
Bob becomes ARS President at the San Diego Fall Convention in October 2018, we hope to be there for his 'Coronation' after all, as Bob has said; he is my brother from another mother! Go bro!



Vote Bob Martin ARS Vice President 2015


2014 and another trip to our favourite holiday destination . . . . . California.

This year we would be starting the trip in San Diego for a long overdue visit to see Di and Walt Kilmer and their rose garden. On then to the Huntingdon Museum and Rose Garden before heading east to Palm Desert to see our friends in the desert.
The Desert Rose Society Fall show and a presentation at their monthly meeting followed by a few days relaxing in the sun.
Next stop Mesa Az for their rose show, a trip down to Tombstone for some 'Western Culture' before returning to Palm Desert for a few days before flying back to Blighty! Hectic, but fun and sun and roses all the way!


Hal Reynolds and I managed to enter over 110 classes at the Mesa show. Our two entries in the End of Trail; one bowl of eighteen blooms of the HT variety Touch of Class and another bowl of the floribunda variety Lady of the Dawn.

Hal seemed surprised? 

America 2012

We arrived with a 20 day schedule that would take in two rose shows; in Palm Desert and Mesa AZ and we would be doing a presentation to the DRS in between. There would be plenty of time for sight-seeing and relaxing in the sun too - let the relaxing begin . . . .

2012 in the Desert and nothing has changed too much. Our good friend Hal Reynolds has been elevated to the position of District Director and it seems to have Emperor Halgone to his head!USA2012/EmperorHal.jpg

TheEmperor was in good form at the Desert Show, picking up loads of Blue Ribbons and several Trophies too. As we were judging, we avoided all contact with Hal's roses before the show. Not so at Mesa. I am judging  photography so will be able to help Hal in the build-up to the show on Saturday 17th. Pauline is judging the rose (Hort) classes and has been banned from the 'rose shed'.


Back to the DRS Show; big winners at the show were Dona and Bob Martin, they brought some excellent blooms up from their new garden in San Diego. I'm not sure yet of the exact details but the Dynamic Duo picked up ahuge amount of Trophies, including HT,Floribunda and Mini Flora Queen awards

We met up with Rose Royalty at theshow; Luis Desameroand Tommy Cairns were amongst the judges and they brought some fine roses with them from their Laurel Canyon home to enter in the judges only classes. Below Luis and Tommy display concentration and teamwork as they prepare some of their blooms.


Tommy and Luis' winning bloom of Signature

Temperatures well into the 100s meant that Desert rose growers were experiencing smaller blooms than they would normally expect but none-the-less the show was full of top quality roses. Diana and Walt Kilmer brought rosesover from Temecula and picked up several prizes, here is a pic of their climbing 4th of July which made it to the trophy table. 
A rose that caught my eye when we were invited to Sally Long's garden was the Keith Zary bred, light yellow floribunda Grand Prize. At the DRS we saw it again, this time floated in a glass bowl by Kathy Strong. It looked superb with its bright fresh stamens peeking out from inside a very fresh bloom. Kathy always brings unusual and varieties not usually seen on a show bench. I think Kathy and Pauline must have been separated at birth!



USA Trip Report - Previously published in The White Rose News

A trip to the USA is always a pleasure for Pauline and myself. We get to meet up with good friends, enjoy a bit of late-in-the-year sunshine to set us up for winter and of course see some of the best roses imaginable.
California offers almost year round sunshine and some of the best, and worst, growing conditions. Last year we once again were asked to assist with the judging at the Desert Rose Society Fall show; it took no time to say yes, thank you and we’ll be there. The show once again attracted some of the top exhibitors from the ARS circuit; Bob and Dona Martin, Tommy Cairns and Luis Desamero and of course our good friend Hal Reynolds.As would be expected, Bob, Dona and Hal picked up most of the major awards whilst Tom and Luis won two of the four judges classes. The fall show in Palm Springs comes, strangely enough, not at the best time of the year for some of the desert exhibitors. The fiercely hot summers, where temperatures can exceed 110°C, means that the rose bushes shut down for several months and by the time of the show in early November, they are only just recovering and starting to get to any sort of size to enter in a show. Exhibitors from nearer the coast generally have good show blooms for this time of year and normally we have the pleasure of Kitty and Bob Belindez and Suzanne Horn but this year they sadly could not make it. We enjoyed the show as we always do and afterwards enjoyed a judge’s meal and good old chat with our fellow judges courtesy of the Desert Rose Society.Next up for Hal was the rose show at Mesa, Arizona. Hal said that the Mesa East Valley Society had invited us to assist with the judging but when I saw the roses bursting into life in his garden; I suggested that I might be more usefully employed helping Hal with his roses. Hal agreed.Preparation is important for desert roses. The high temperatures, even in mid-November, mean that the roses come and go very quickly. A refrigerator is therefore an important part of the armoury. Hal’s fridge is a commercial one and as big as it is, come the day we set off for Mesa, it was full to bursting point. The roses are prepped before they go into the fridge, the first stage of which is a dip, up to their necks, into a deep bin of water. Hal adds a few drops of vinegar to the water which seems to help when the stems are removed from the water and the leaves dried and polished using an old pair of tights. The roses are then sorted and the blooms opened and adjusted using standard and large sized cotton buds. Hal also has a collection of well-used paper sleeves that he uses to prevent the leaves from damaging each other.We set off for the Saturday show on Friday afternoon. The drive to Mesa will take us about four and half hours, mercifully we will be driving in our hire care whilst Hal and Bob will be in their own car. I say mercifully because we know that the Reynolds/Kerslake car will have the air conditioning set at just above freezing point to protect the roses from the relentless heat. Also, Hal has cut so many roses that there simply would be no room for us anyway. We left first but didn’t get very far; just to the end of the drive in fact! The roses lining the front garden called to us and said “there’s more of us here . . . pick us!”  I complied and took them into Hal who was packing the other roses in the garage. We left again, this time keeping our eyes forward and away from the roses and drove to Mesa where Hal and Bob joined us at the hotel. A bite to eat and off to an early bed, we would need to be up early in the morning, before daybreak, so that we could get to the show set-up area and be ready for when it was light enough.Staging at Californian rose shows is often done outside. Our UK exhibitors have it easy! Fortunately November in Arizona is not a cold experience and we arrived at daybreak and set up under a covered walkway near the show marquee.Three hours later we had staged over one hundred entries between us and carried them to the marquee. Shows in the US have placement stewards who take the exhibitors entries and place them on the show bench, it seems odd to us but as a system, works quite well. Hal had been asked to judge the photographic classes but had thought it a better idea to volunteer my services; thanks Hal. Rose photography has really become very popular at US shows and attracts plenty of entries, many of very good quality. Judging these classes took quite a while.When we finally got back to the roses, the judging had been completed and we were delighted with the fruits of our early morning labours. Twenty five trophies had been bagged plus loads of blue ribbons. I believe that almost everything  we had entered had been placed amongst the prizes. This was officially a local show but all shows run under ARS rules are conducted in the same format. Trophies awarded for special classes and blue, red or yellow ribbons for the other classes. At this show however there was an additional prize for the winners; rose food. Hal had won a truckload to ensure more good roses in his Palm Desert roses for the season to come! In fairness this show was not ‘on the grand scale’ and had we not managed to stage so many of Hal’s roses, the show tables would have been a lot barer. It would seem that falling numbers of society members and with it fewer exhibitors, is a problem on both sides of the Atlantic. Hal is the Pacific Southwest District Director and takes his role very seriously; supporting as many of the societies in his district that he can during the season. The good folk of Mesa saw their District Director in serious action at their Fall show and if they didn’t know already, they now know that he also is a very fine rosarian.We’re already looking forward to our next trip to California; rumour has it that Mrs 'The Rose' has everything booked and we depart once again for our favourite part of the world on 1st November.

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America 2010

Another wonderful, exhausting, relaxing, entertaining holiday in Palm Springs! Keeping the travelling down to manageable levels this year meant that we saw a lot more of the local  area although we did manage to squeeze in a 300 mile round trip to Santa Clarita to visit Kitty Belindez's rose show and a flying visit to Tommy Cairns and Luis Desamero in Los Angeles.

The Palm Springs Desert Rose Show was, of course, on our itinary as well as meeting up with so many of our desert friends.

The Gay Pride parade in down town Palm Springs is a wonderful spectacle for all; thousands of families lined the route as the colourful floats and marching bands trailed past. It's also so much more enjoyable when bathed in warm Californian autumn sunshine.


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Desert Rose Society Fall Show

We were delighted to, once again, be asked to assist with the judging at the show.There were plenty of keen exhibitors at the show and therefore lots of roses to be judged which in turn ensured a wonderful display for the many visitors. Here are a few of the exhibitors and a few of the wonderful roses that were staged

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Hal Reynold's Garden

The week after The Desert Rose Society Show we were invited around to Hal Reynold's garden to see if we thought he may have some roses to take to the next show in Arizona. It didn't take us long to look at the garden enough to say YES!!!!  Of course you will. Here are a few photos of some of the roses we saw

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And here's a little look at the man himself, prepping his roses for another show

click here to play video


A Postcard from America

We landed in San Francisco  on 1st November for the next eight days we were virtually non-stop.
A three day stop-over in San Francisco took us to Alcatraz, the big trees in Muir Woods and all the joys of Fisherman's Wharf including the wonderful Sea Lions. We then moved onto Yosemite National Park where we were greeted by huge mountains, tree lined valleys and even bigger trees than in Muir Woods. We'd taken a suitcase full of cold weather clothes (when I say we........) and the weather was wonderful. High seventies and bright sunshine all the way. It had snowed in October so that all the snow melt had ensured that the waterfalls were all at their best. 
Next stop was Wasco and the Weeks rosefields. If acres and acres of never-ending roses is up your stret then you should visit Wasco.  Around 5 million bushes in total. Bush roses, miniature roses, climbing roses standard roses; you name it; it's there. We were lucky enough to arrive just as they were starting to prepare and lift them for dispatch to all parts of the USA and beyond. All the roses are pruned by machine, but the standards are then trimmed by hand to exactly the right size to fit into their individual boxes. A massive, time consuming job.
From Wasco and Bakerfield, we moved down to LA to show Mike and Lowri (our travelling companions) the 'wonder' that is Hollywood. The sign and the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard were obvious visits and a troll around Beverly Hills looking for 'stars' was compulsary but fruitless.
On then to Vegas, not to gamble but to soak up the gaudy atmosphere and see the Bellagio Fountains again. The Sirens of Treasure Island, the Volcano at The Mirage and the Ventian's canals and gondolas are also 'must sees'.
Time now to set off through the Mohave desert and head for Palm Springs and the real reason for us to be here, The ARS Fall Convention.

Pauline checks out the local flora and fauna


Pauline, Suzanne Horn and m'good self

Suzanne's 12 Butter Cream

Suzanne's Queen of Show - Cajun Moon

Miniature King of Show Jim Sproul, Bakersfield, CA Variety - 'The Lighthouse'
Night Owl
LF Climber, H. Wich or H.Gigantea Spray Bill & Candy Sheperd, Peoria, AZ Variety - Night Owl
Miniflora Queen of Show Linda Clark, La Mesa, CA Variety - 'Kismet'

Deer in Yosemite National Park

The ARS Fall Convention and Rose Show was held in the Doral Desert Princess in Cathedral City and what a show it was! The exhibitors complained that due to the season there were very few floribunda exhibits but the rest of the show more than made up the deficit.

Floribunda in a bowl by Darryl Pearson. Long Beach, CA Variety - 'Frankie'
Shrub Large-flowered Climber or OGR in a bowl by Ruth Tiffany, San Diego. CA Variety 'Golden Wings'
Miniflora King of Show Dick & Sue Streeper, El Cajon, CA Variety - 'Flawless'
Miniflora Court Bob & Kitty Belendez, Santa Clarita, CA Variety - 'Dr John Dickman'
Miniflora Court of Honor Bob & Dona Martin, Escondido, CA Variety - 'Butter Cream'
Pauline, banged up in the Kelso jail - refers to a speeding violation in 2006 .
English Box - Hybrid Tea or Grandiflora Suzanne Horn, Glendale, CA Variety - 'Veteran's Honor'
Suzanne Horn and her winning HT Cajun Moon
Artic Circle
HT Tommy Cairns & Luis Desamero, Studio City, CA Variety - 'Artic Circle'
1 of 3 H T or Grandiflora Blooms Bob & Kitty Belendez, Santa Clarita, CA Variety - 'Affirm'

We had been asked to assist with the judging at the ARS Fall Show and what a pleasure and and experience it was! The way in which the show is judged is quite different from the way that we judge in the UK. Many ideas were picked up during the show that may well work for us at our shows in the future.

Many of the the roses on show were typical 'desert' roses, almost perfect and without blemish due to the ideal conditions in which they are grown. Size of bloom can be a problem for the desert based exhibitors as the temperatures were only just getting down to the eighties after a summer of 100 ++ degrees! However these are great rose growers and the winners were all very worthy of their trophies.

A full list of all the trophy winners can be found on Bob Martin's website; Roseshow.com   

Some excellent photographs of the show can be seen at; Baldo's Photo Albums   


We were very pleased to be able to actually take part in the Conference by presenting a demonstration about how we grow and prepare baskets and bowls of roses for UK rose shows. Pauline prepared a basket with left-over blooms from the roseshow (thanks in particular to Tommy and Luis, Manson and Tim and Di and Walt Kilmer for their super roses).


Whilst Pauline beavered away with the roses, I showed a few slides of our roses back home and some of our bowls and baskets from UK shows. 
Special thanks also to our friend Mike Thompson who also put together a bowl of 18 hybrid teas.
Everyone at the demonstration seemed to enjoy it but not, I suspect, as much as we did!