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Come for the Roses, Stay for the People!

Fragrant Rose Editor Jason Capote Visits the National Convention

Hello, my fellow rose growers and I come bearing greetings from the 2023 ARS National Convention and Rose Show in sunny Shreveport, Louisiana! On the weekend of May 5-8, almost 300 rose lovers from all across the United States (and even a few from our neighboring countries of Canada and Bermuda) descended on the headquarters of the American Rose Society to hear lectures from world renowned rosarians, see the sights of the city of Natchitoches, Louisiana, honor those rosarians that contributed to our great society, judge new rose varieties in the ARS International Rose Test Garden, and see the newly restored rose garden at the American Rose Center! Additionally, rose growers from across the country participated in the National Rose Show where the nation’s top rose growers compete and display their prize-winning roses. Even if you are not someone who regularly shows their roses, simply viewing a national rose show is a much-anticipated event with high spectacle. As just a viewer you get to see what grows across the country and may see new or rare rose varieties that you would like to add to your own collection. As such, I try my best to attend as many national rose shows and conventions as possible and I encourage all of you to do the same. While there will not be another national rose show and convention until the 2024 convention in Providence, Rhode Island (, there will be district conventions and rose shows held in multiple states across the country, especially in the autumn months. In fact, in the northeast region of the U.S. alone there will be four district rose shows or conventions held over the course of three weekends in September. First up is the New York District Rose Show and Convention in Binghamton, NY from September 8-10. That is followed by the Penn-Jersey District Rose Show in Hershey Gardens and the Yankee District Rose Show held in Cape Cod on the weekend of September 15-18, and last up is the Colonial District Rose Show and Convention held in Charleston, West Virginia on the Weekend of September 22 – 24. Of course, there are district rose shows and conventions held across the country and not just in the Northeast. For more information, please click here.

Lastly, as we approach June, I want to encourage all of you to exhibit your roses at rose shows in your area. Most local rose societies hold rose shows in the spring, usually during the time that the roses are in peak bloom in your area. Rose shows serve two functions. First, they educate the public who come to view the rose show as to what rose varieties grow best in your area. This is a very valuable function that cannot be overstated. Second, rose shows, just like national and district rose conventions, are a great place to connect with fellow rose growers and forge friendships over the love of growing roses. Some of the best friends I currently have are from people I met through my travels exhibiting, judging and simply attending rose shows and conventions. As a result, many rose lovers truly believe in the statement “I came for the roses, but I stay for the people!”

In the spirit of encouraging all of you to attend rose shows and conventions in the future, this addition of The Fragrant Rose features articles on exhibiting roses in shows. It also features photographs from our most recent national convention and rose show. Lastly, this month’s featured fragrant rose is ‘Yolande d’Aragon’, a hybrid perpetual rose exhibited by top national exhibitor Satish Prabhu that won the Most Fragrant Rose class at the national rose show in Shreveport. I know I plan to go to many rose shows and conventions during the rose growing season. I hope to see many of you there!


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