The occasion of the International Rose Conference might have been the reason behind the bigger and brighter look of the decorative classes at the Summer Show, but whatever the cause, the effect was appraised by all who saw the exhibits.
The Queen Alexandra Memorial Trophy for a table decoration, a most coveted prize, was won this year by Mrs M. Brooker of Swindon. The class was for a Buffet table for a special occasion and she chose to use pink and mauve old fashioned roses, with some of’Queen Elizabeth’, in a tall Meissen china compote container, with two similar plates on the left and a small arrangement to the right, all on a lime green cloth, which she entitled ‘For Grandmother’. It was very lovely.
Mrs Brooker also won tne Royal National Rose Society Challenge Trophy for the best exhibit in Classes 84-91, which are restricted to amateurs who grow and arrange their own roses.
Close on her heels in the Buffet table class came Mrs B. Green, an experienced exhibitor from Chelmsford, who staged a table called ‘Graduation Day’. She used a celadon green cloth on which was a low triangular arrangement of red roses, flanked with green goblets on one side, and a graduate’s cap and scroll on the other.
Mrs Green also took a first in the ‘Frontal Arrangement of Roses’ class, using red and flame-coloured roses in a bronze container on a brown velvet base. This was expertly staged with no back drape, a welcome change from the pointed piece of material placed at the back of so many exhibits.
Class 94 called for a past period arrangement, using appropriate roses and accessories to interpret the period, which had to be stated. Mrs K. ‘Wells, of Dover, was deservedly first in this class, staging a beautiful exhibit in the Regency manner, using old roses with maidenhair fern and quaking grasses in a period vase, staged against green velvet with a side drape of red and silver Regency striped material, simulating a curtain. Many queried the use of grasses, since the class called for ‘appropriate roses and foliage and accessories’, but, in the front of die schedule it stated that ‘Grasses, sedges, rushes, succulents and bulrushes are classed 2s foliage’; so the lesson to be learned was that the schedule should be read and studied before judging and passing comment. Mrs B. Green came second here with a Victorian exhibit, staged on red plush with tea-pot and strainer.
Mrs E. M. Woodcock took first prize with her 4 ft high large pedestal group, and I know she will not mind my stating that I felt the roses were all too tightly in bud and similar in size. I liked Mrs B. Green’s pedestal group in this class much better, as I felt it was more loose and flowing. Another exciting exhibit in this class was staged by David Ruston of South Australia, who made a huge display of lovely copper-coloured roses brought from Australia, set in a copper tea urn that he bought in London. This was much admired, although we in England could not appreciate the fact that Australians do not seem to make their roses flow out at the back for a pedestal group, theirs being flat. Mrs Woodcock took first prize in Class 87 for an arrangement of old fashioned roses, and here she used R. hugonis and ‘Rosa Mundf roses, with the green R. viridifiora rose and R. rubrifolia sprays, all in old china on a moss green velvet base.
In the class for those who have not won a first prize before, Mrs E. Lockton, of Iver, Bucks came first with a very well executed arrangement of old roses in a black metal container on a green base. A point here to remember is that in judging, ‘suitability of flowers to container’ is considered, so another time Mrs Lockton would do well not to use a black metal container (modern) with old fashioned roses.
In Class 91, which was for an arrangement of roses on any natural base, I.e. wood, slate, stone, wicker, Mrs M. Brooker was first, and I liked Mrs E. Urquhart’s second prize exhibit of * Wendy Cussons’ roses, staged on a cane base against peacock blue silk.
A different note was struck in the class for floribunda roses incorporating a mirror. Some laid the mirror flat and made the arrangement on it; others stood the mirror on end, making a design at the top. However, Mrs K. Wells took first prize with a side design of ‘AllgokT and ‘Faust* roses, encircling one side of a gold framed mirror stood on a tray.
Miss P. Broadhurst, of Totnes, came first with a lovely arrangement of ‘Queen Elizabeth’, ‘Guinevere’ and ‘Lady Seton’ roses in the class for an arrangement of roses of tints, shades and tones of one colour.
My notes remind me that this was the best Summer Show I had seen for a very long time, and looking back on it, I still agree.
This show displayed the best exhibit I have seen at a Royal National Rose Society occasion for the past ten years, and it was staged by Mrs W. M. Crabb, of Croydon, in the class for a Christmas Buffet table decoration. Using bright red ‘Baccara* roses with variegated holly and pine in a gilt container, with two red candles, on a green, gold-fringed cloth, the off-centre design swerved from left to right, where it met a bowl of fruit. In the centre at the back was a bottle of champagne with glasses, and in front were red crackers with roses tucked in each one. All the containers and bases were sprayed gold to match; in fact, it was perfectly staged and very well designed. Mrs K. Wells came a very close second with a triangular central arrangement of red roses, variegated holly and ivy, with fruit on one side and candles on the other. Mrs
Woodcock took third prize, but all the exhibits in this class were of a very high standard.
The class entitled ‘By Candlelight’ drew a number of very interesting exhibits, Mrs W. M. Crabb again taking first prize with a triangular pattern of yellow roses and pale green nephrolepis ferns, staged on two different yellow chiffon drapes, with three yellow candles in a holder on the right, surrounded with miniature yellow roses. Pink, grey and black were the colours chosen by Mrs K. Wells who took second in this class, using pink roses in a black container on pink silk with black velvet back drape, the foliage being grey Senecio greyii and Centaurea, with pinky grey Begonia rex in the centre.
In the class for ‘An Arrangement in a box or basket with a lid’, it is wiser to leave part of the lid showing; otherwise, all is hidden and the container could be a bowl-like item. Bearing this in mind, Mrs E. M. Woodcock came first with a left to right arrangement made in a copper tan basket on brown rep cloth, using tan coloured ‘Beaut6’ and ‘Bettina* roses with R. rubrifoUa sprays. I liked Mrs K. Field’s exhibit in this class too, as it was not too full.
Weird-looking twisted and knotted wood was used by Mrs J. A. Rush, of Rayleigh, in the class for rose foliage, heps and driftwood. She used pale green and maroon foliage, dark and light heps, and all was stood on a dark wood base on a brown cloth. Mrs K. Wells came second, using light and dark leaves with wood, in front of a beige hopsack drape,
The ‘Not more than five roses’ class always brings forth some very interesting designs, and this autumn was no exception. ‘Super Star’ is a good eye catcher, and Mrs Woodcock came first in this class, using five ‘Super Star* roses in a vertical design, placed low on two cane bases backed with a brown drape.
Exhibitors and onlookers alike welcomed the fact that in a number of classes ‘Any other foliage’ was allowed. The beginners did well, the main advice being to remember to place some roses ‘in’ and others protruding ‘out’. This gives an uneven effect in the front, creating a third dimension. One beginner also made a lovely frontal display, but completely forgot to flow out at the back, which left a flat and bare back view.
The Decorative Classes were well filled, and well staged by the Committee, who also produced an exciting schedule. This seemed to please all the visitors from overseas and at home, and even if there were controversies, it made this section one of the liveliest parts of the show.
The Summer Rose Show
Only the weather marred the summer show, held in the Alexandra Palace on 28 and 29 June. It had caused some cancellations in the amateur section and on the Friday rain continued to fall pitilessly and no doubt reduced the number of visitors to what was, despite everything, a magnificent display of roses and a splendid opening to the international rose conference, which got into its full stride at the London Hilton Hotel the following week.
R. Harkness & Co. again proved their supremacy as exhibitors by winning both the Championship Trophy for the best exhibit in the show and the Queen Mary Trophy for the best exhibit against a background. It was the familiar well-packed bank of superbly grown blooms against traditional black velvet and it proved just as effective as ever, despite the challenge of more modern methods of staging. The new Harkness varieties, such as ‘Merlin’, ‘Guinevere’, ‘Sir Galahad’ and ‘Sir Lancelot’ were well displayed and a large semi-double lilac rose named ‘Lake Como’ attracted a lot of comment. A third award to this very fine exhibit was a Large Gold Medal.
John Mattock Ltd won the Coronation Trophy for the best island exhibit and a Large Gold Medal, again without the assistance of any gimmicks in the way of display stands or background. It was the sheer quality of their roses that did it, nicely arranged in large black bowls and vases on a black and white ground cover. The exhibit was open without being thin, and I particularly admired a new floribunda named ‘Shepherdess’, with fairly large pale gold and pink flowers very freely produced.
Three further Large Gold Medals were awarded to C. Gregory & Son Ltd, Samuel McGredy & Son Ltd and Cant’s of Colchester. All contained roses of the highest quality and many new varieties. The contrasts in styles of display were also most interesting.
C. Gregory & Son divided their double-sided bank into a number of sections with white partitions, which had the merit of displaying individual varieties very well but slightly impeded the overall effect of the exhibit. ‘Summer Holiday’ was one of the most discussed roses here, a vermilion hybrid tea of great size and substance, which seemed to outvie even ‘Super Star’ in brilliance. ‘Orange Silk’, a shapely orange-vermilion floribunda and ‘Pamela’s Choice’, a striking canary yellow sport from ‘Piccadilly’, were two other good newcomers; and among the slightly older roses the hybrid tea ‘Apricot Silk’ (no connection with ‘Orange Silk’) and the large-flowered pink climber ‘Etude’ were specially notable.
The McGredy exhibit had a gold coloured carpet as a base for an erection of light stainless steel rods bearing varnished wood stands, some covered writh white or yellow plastic net mats. It was all very modern and effective and served well to display a magnificent array of roses. ‘Timothy Eaton’, one of the new pink hybrid teas, proved to be a pleasantly warm shade. ‘Heaven Scent’, a floribunda which is said to throw its fragrance well, is shapely, free and a pleasant slightly dulled shade of red. ‘Brasilia’ is a real eye-catcher, a kind of currant red and gold variant of the more purple-crimson and gold ‘Kronenbourg’, which was also well shown. ‘Silver Star’ is a clean heliotrope colour and ‘Lavendula’ a big full mallowT-purple rose with an old fashioned look.
Cant’s staged their exhibit against one of the walls of the Great Hall, using a grey cloth base and a blue background with curving wood stands to break the line of what must have been one of the largest exhibits in the show. ‘Apricot Silk’ was again outstandingly good and so was the coppery apricot ‘Serenade’ and deep scarlet ‘Red Dandy’.
There were three awards of the Society’s Gold Medal, to the Blaby Rose Gardens, Sunningdale Nurseries and John Waterer, Sons & Crisp, respectively, and here too one was struck by the very different styles of display. Blaby Rose Gardens attempted a rather natural effect with a woven fence background and mottled grey slab base. The deep gold ‘Belle Blonde’ was exceptionally well shown and ‘Pepe’, speckled and splashed with crimson on gold, stood out because of its unusual colouring. Sunningdale Nurseries set out to show old fashioned and shrub roses with something of the atmosphere of a cottage garden, using old ironwork arches to support climbing roses and interspersing the more normal vases and bowls with long sprays of ‘Cerise Bouquet’, ‘Constance Spry’ and other such informal roses.
The Waterer exhibit, by contrast, was very stylish with gilded metal stands, brass bowls and a wrought iron screen in the centre. There were plenty of good roses too, including ‘Green Fire’, a floribunda with a marked hint of green in its shapely little yellow flowers, ‘Dreamland’, a coral pink floribunda with flattish flowers very freely produced, and ‘Copper Delight’, a floribunda that I would call corn-coloured rather than coppery.
Silver-gilt medals went to Alex Dickson & Sons, E. B. Le Grice, William Lowe & Sons Ltd, Warley Rose Gardens Ltd, Harry Wheatcroft & Sons, Chaplin Bros and Wheatcroft Bros. The Norman Rogers Cup for the best exhibit not exceeding ioo sq. ft was won by R. Murrell with an attractive exhibit which included a pleasant hybrid tea rose named ‘Golden Picture’, The fairly full, fragrant blooms are the colour of ripe corn.
There was also a remarkable exhibit of old, species and historic roses, staged by the Royal National Rose Society itself, against a background in the form of an immense chart, showing the botanical affinities of the various races of roses and their chromosome counts. It was most attractive to the eye and of great educational value.
The vagaries of the weather were revealed in the amateur classes, not only by the unusual number of last minute cancellations, but by the rather uneven quality. The best exhibits were as good as ever, either because the growers had been exceptionally skilful in combating the rain or because they had been lucky enough to miss it. But there was evidence, too, of the trials and hazards which many rose growers had had to surmount to get to the show at all.
A little of all this showed in the twelve specimen blooms with which Lady Pilkington won the Edward Mawley Challenge Cup in the ‘open to all’ section. At first sight this was a superlatively good box, and blooms of ‘Pink Favourite’, ‘Ethel Sanday’ and ‘Christian Dior’ stood up to much closer examination. But there was also evidence of weather damage on otherwise very nice blooms of ‘Royal Highness’, ‘Perfecta’ and ‘Papa Meilland’, and ‘Paris Match’ looked a trifle flat.
The S. W. Burgess Memorial Cup was won by F. Wiltshire with a very nicely balanced set of six vases. Only ‘Grandpa Dickson’ was not quite up to standard, ‘Memoriam’, ‘Royal Highness’, ‘Josephine Bruce’, ‘Wendy Cussons’ and ‘Montezuma’ being all very good indeed.
There was only one entry in Class 24 for the R.N.R.S trophy, but it was a good one. The class calls for three vases of floribunda roses and C. C. Hart chose ‘Orange Sensation’, ‘Iceberg’ and ‘Firecracker’, the last outstanding for quality and brilliance.
L. Poole won the very difficult Class 27 for a box of 24 specimen blooms and with it the Lindsell Cup. Almost every bloom had some slight blemish but as a whole this was quite a good box, certainly the best in the class. All the same he was happier, I fancy, with the imposing set of six vases with which he won the H. R. Darlington Memorial cup in Division B, restricted to amateurs who grow and stage without assistance. Here his varieties were ‘Charlie’s Aunt’, ‘Red Devil’, ‘Gavotte’, ‘Princess’, ‘Royal Highness’ and ‘Norman Hartnell’, the last possibly the weakest but still very good. He was also the winner of the Courtney Page Memorial Cup for the highest aggregate of points.
The Nicholson Challenge Cup for a box of twelve specimen blooms comes into this same Division B, and was won by W. Pearl with a rather uneven lot, of which the best was possibly ‘Brilliant’.
All were fine roses in the box of six which won J. Jamieson the Brayfort Challenge Cup. ‘Princess’ was in top form, ‘Grandpa Dickson’ large, shapely and well coloured, and the other four were ‘Red Lion’, ‘Honey Favourite’, ‘Fritz Thiedemann’ and ‘Leonora de March’.
F. Bowen had a very good bowl of twelve hybrid tea roses to win the Alfred Hewlett Memorial Class, with ‘Ernest H. Morse’ probably his best bloom, well supported by two ‘Grandpa Dickson’, two ‘Perfecta’, ‘Royal Highness’, ‘Dame de Coeur’, ‘Montezuma’, ‘Rose Gaujard’, ‘Red Devil’, ‘Gavotte’ and ‘Norman Hartnell’.
Division C is restricted to amateurs with not more than 500 rose trees and has two cup classes of its own and one shared with divisions A and B. This last is the Rev. H. Honywood d’Ombrain Memorial Cup, awarded to the best exhibit in Classes 26, 39 or 46, all of which are for a bowl of flori-bunda roses, not more than twelve stems. It says a lot for the keenness of the smaller growers that it was Mr. H. V. Mitchell’s exhibit in Division C that won this award. His varieties were ‘Iceberg’, ‘Circus’, ‘Evelyn Fison’ and ‘Lilli Marlene’.
Had there been a similar overall prize for a box of 12 specimen blooms it might well have gone to Division C too, for L. E. J. Wood’s entry in Class 40 was outstandingly good. He had a huge, unmarked ‘Ena Harkness’, excellent blooms of ‘Ernest H. Morse’ and ‘Klaus Stortebeker’, a very good ‘My Choice’, a really lovely specimen of’Diamond Jubilee’ and good blooms of’Peace’, ‘Montezuma’ and ‘Dorothy Goodwin’. Only his ‘Anne Letts’ was a little small, and ‘June Park’ had a faulty centre. This fine exhibit won the Sam McGredy Challenge Cup. Moreover he capped this success by winning the other cup class in the division—the Edward J. Holland Memorial Cup for three vases of hybrid tea roses with ‘Montezuma’, ‘Pink Favourite’ and ‘Memoriam’. Not surprisingly he was awarded the Edward Mawley Memorial Medal for the highest aggregate of points in Division C.
To complete the triumph of Division C exhibitors one of them, M. L. Watts, had the best bloom in the show from an amateur. It was a huge ‘Gold Crown’ exhibited in a vase of six hybrid tea roses which won Class 44.
Exhibitors in Division D must grow no more than 250 rose trees. The Gilbert Burch Memorial Class for a box of six specimen blooms was won by T.J. Vale with nice clean flowers of medium size. The Slaughter Memorial Cup, for three vases of hybrid tea roses, went to J. S. Jellyman, who staged superb flowers of ‘Rose Gaujard’, ‘Isabel de Ortiz’ and ‘Silver Lining’.
There is only one cup class in Division E, restricted to amateurs with not more than 150 rose trees and this, carrying the Charles Rigg Cup, is for a box of six specimen blooms. It was won by F. E. Rixon, who may not grow many roses but certainly grows them supremely well. Perhaps some of the larger growers were lucky not to have to face the competition of this fine box with its outstandingly good specimens of ‘Gail Borden’, ‘Perfecta’ and * Grandpa Dickson’.
The corresponding class in Division F for amateurs with no more than 100 rose trees is the Kathleen Louise Mahaffy Class, and it was won by J. H. Kirsop. His roses were all large and well grown, but some of them looked a bit tired.
The really small growers with no more than 50 rose trees have a chance to compete in the Albert E. Griffith Memorial Class for a vase of six hybrid tea roses. This year only two exhibitors had a go and R. Holmes was successful with ‘Pink Favourite’, ‘Isabel de Ortiz’, two blooms of ‘Piccadilly’, ‘Peace’ and ‘Femina’, the last a large coppery-salmon rose. L. J. Foad won the Gardeners Company Challenge Cup with the highest aggregate of points in Sections 5 and 6 for the novice exhibitor.
Finally there are two cups for the Affiliated Societies, the Hereford Centenary Cup for a display against a background on a table space 5 ft long and 4 ft wide, and the Franklin Dennison Memorial Cup for two bowls, one of floribundas, the other of hybrid teas. The first attracted some fine entries, the cup going to the Worcester Park Horticultural Society for a very professional-looking exhibit in which the various rose colours were well handled against a background of green and black drapes. ‘Zambra’, ‘Evelyn Fison’, ‘Orange Sensation’, ‘Masquerade’ and ‘Dorothy Wheatcroft’ made an exciting mixture of red, orange and yellow; ‘Daily Sketch’, ‘Ama’ and ‘Iceberg’ gave red and white, and the pale yellow and pink of ‘Peace’ was effectively used to intensify the vermilion of ‘Super Star’.
The bowl class was won by the East Kent Rose Society with very good blooms of’Princess’, ‘Grandpa Dickson’, ‘Red Lion’,’Anna Wheatcroft’ and ‘Korona’.
HEART ROSE—A SONG.
Upon the garden of my heart there grows
A radiant rose; nor fades the smell Of scented dew that all around you flows,
By day the petals gaily tell Of love that overflows; at dusk they close
With silent sighs into the shell Of sleep. So like this rose is your repose,
So moist your petalled eyes. How well Upon your tranquil face the moonshine glows
With mystic grace, and casts its spell Upon my cell of beating breath. Who knows
When God will transpose her to dwell In Heavens Garden dell? But when she goes
Nothing will quell my breath*s farewell Or stem the tears left by my rose.