Everything came up roses

Published 11:14 pm Thursday, October 2, 2008

FRANKLIN—Rose enthusiasts and experts converged at the Paul D. Camp Community College’s Workforce Development Center for two days to see thousands of blooms on display.

The arrangements and flowers were part of the Garden Club of Virginia’s 70th Annual Rose Show, hosted by the Franklin Garden Club.

“There’s not a rose that isn’t beautiful in this show,” Barbara Clapp of Franklin said at the show Thursday.

The Franklin Garden Club chose “Restorations and Roses” as a theme to bring attention to the Garden Club of Virginia’s efforts to restore the state’s historic gardens.

Proceeds from the Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week tour in the spring help pay for those restorations, according to Rose Show co-chair Mary Nelson Thompson.

Robin Edwards of Franklin, co-owner of Salon on Fifth, decided at the last minute to enter one of the pink hybrid tea roses she grows in her back yard after a client urged her to do so.

“I always tell my children ‘you only fail if you haven’t tried,’ so I had to take my own advice,” she said.

Edwards, who won first place in a novice category, said she was amazed at how serious rose growers are about their craft.

“Next year, if I do it again, I will spray and fertilize and be more particular,” she said. “I just got lucky.”

Judges from the North American Rose Society chose the winners in each of the four accepted artistic and horticultural classes.

Some of the designs included many different leaves, rocks or flowers, but roses were still the star of the show.

“Every design has to feature roses since this is a rose show,” co-chairwoman Thompson said.

The public was invited to attend the event and see the many fragrant and colorful offerings from growers and flower arrangers from the Commonwealth and beyond.

“I always like roses better than any other flowers,” said Billy Camp of Franklin as he looked at the arrangements.

The show brought an economic boom to the city, according to the mayor.

“People have just ooh’ed and ahh’ed over the show and the facility and our community,” said Mayor Jim Councill. “All of the hotels were booked up. It’s been a good thing for the city.”

Attendees Thursday said they enjoyed their time in Franklin and at the Workforce Center.

“They were wonderful and hospitable and the show was just gorgeous,” said Nancy Avery of Alberta’s Brunswick Garden Club.

“The location is wonderful,” Thompson said. “I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews.”

As part of the festivities, dignitaries and participants were treated to a tour by the Southampton-Franklin Historical Society of the Rochelle-Prince House in Courtland, as well as Heritage Village. They also toured and ate lunch at St. Luke’s Church in Courtland.

The Franklin Garden Club entertained judges at the Pace House Inn in Franklin as well, Thompson said.

Matilda Bradshaw of Roanoke’s Mill Martin Garden Club, won the most creative arrangement award.

“I dreamt it up and he makes it happen,” she said about her husband.

People continued to look at the flowers and arrangements after the 1 p.m. closing time on Thursday.

“This is one of the prettiest shows I have ever seen,” said Betty Michelson of the Princess Anne Garden Club of Virginia Beach.

The next rose show also will be held next year in Franklin.

“It’s a two-year commitment and after that it goes to Norfolk,” Nelson said.