As the Tacoma Rose Society enters its second century, the society is looking to provide more budding opportunities for first-time rose growers.
This year’s Tacoma Rose Show theme is “New Beginnings: a Kaleidoscope of Roses,” and the society hopes to create more reasons for novice rose enthusiasts to join its ranks. The annual show, held this year at Jackson Hall in Tacoma, is an opportunity for floral fanatics to display their prize roses and compete in dozens of categories, from floral arrangement to single floating roses and everything in between. You do not need to be a society member to compete.
Margaret Leisner, the secretary and publicity chairwoman for the Tacoma Rose Society, has been a member for more than 20 years, and her enthusiasm to educate the public about roses has only grown with time, she said. And she has seen a growing interest in rose cultivation.
“As we begin our second century of roses, we look to the future with the optimism that a kaleidoscope of roses will grace every garden,” the program reads.
But the rose society is not just populated with expert rosarians. Bruce Bleckert, the first vice president and rose show chairman, is relatively new to the rose society: he’s approaching four years. Bleckert, a former photography teacher and business owner, said he initially turned to the society for a few pieces of rose care advice. Four years later, and he’s their vice president.
Bleckert said most rose society members join for the same reasons. They buy a rose bush, plant it and are left wondering, “Now what?” The Tacoma Rose Society is there to help.
“They are fussy,” Leisner said of roses, adding that rose gardens are not for the faint of heart. But with a little advice and general guidance, a novice gardener can soon become a blossoming rose enthusiast.
Leisner and Bleckert have some beginning tips for new gardeners hoping to start a rose garden:
First, start with an easy rose. Leisner and Bleckert recommended the Ingrid Bergman, Fame, Sunset Celebration and Julia Child roses – all different varieties that have repeat blooms, do well in the winter, and are hardy when it comes to diseases such as black spot or mold.
This year’s show has more opportunities for novices, with an entire division devoted to entries from new rose growers. Additionally, there will be a new photo contest this year spearheaded by Bleckert, so community members can compete in the show without having to bring their own roses.
The morning events are closed to the public, but the show opens at noon and continues until 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.
If you cannot make it to the rose show, but are interested in some rose-growing tips, head to the Tacoma Rose Society website or visit society members every Thursday at the Point Defiance rose gardens.
TACOMA ROSE SHOW
What: Tacoma Rose Society Annual Rose Show
When: noon to 5:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Jackson Hall, 314 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma