Since 1960, the Rose Society of Tucson has been helping the gardeners from Southern Arizona grow roses. For years, its members also celebrate these iconic flowers at their annual rose shows.
“The purpose really comes from the American Rose Society, and it is about exhibiting and showing to the public what is possible in growing roses in different regions around the country, so they can actually become members and keep growing our society,” said Terry Swartz, president of the Rose Society of Tucson.
At the show, entrants can compete in different categories, including rose photography and rose arrangements.
“But the big one is the hybrid tea (category),” Swartz said. “I call it the heavy artillery, and (contestants) are competing in this category for the queen of the show. It’s the queen, then it’s the king and the prince, that is the order.”
This year’s show, which took place Saturday, April 12, brought together around 100 people. Among contestants were Diane and Lou Pavlovich from Tucson. They have been entering the rose show for almost 35 years.
At the 2014 rose show in Tucson, the couple won almost in every category, including the Best of Show, Three of A Kind, Queen, King and Prince, and the Best English Box.
But it takes judges and their expertise to decide which roses will land a trophy. They also determine how a particular show is doing.
“Every show is different, (…) and this show is really small, because we had really early this year, and that kind of affected the amount of roses here,” said Steven Carls, judge at this year's rose show. “First, you look (at the roses) from afar (…), then we get up close, and the first thing we look at is the form, the center of the rose, its color, and overall esthetic look, the balance and proportion…”
Although the rose show is a competitive event, it is not only about the contestants' own victory, said Diane.
“It is nice to see all the other people who win too,” she said.