Rose show in full bloom

Published 9:04 am Friday, October 2, 2009

FRANKLIN—Around 900 rose enthusiasts attended the Garden Club of Virginia’s 71st annual Rose Show on Wednesday and Thursday.

Local garden club members and show organizers were pleased with the turnout for the event.

“We had a steady crowd the entire time,” Mary Nelson Thompson, co-chair of both the Franklin Garden Club and this year’s Rose Show, said Thursday. “I think each year, with each show, the competition becomes stiffer because we’re practicing more, we have workshops and many people are interested (in growing roses) now, men and women.”

This was the second consecutive year the event has been hosted by the Franklin Garden Club at the Paul D. Camp Community College Workforce Development Center. The event will move to the Norfolk Botanical Garden for next year and 2011.

Nelson said the influx of people benefitted the local economy.

On Wednesday, members from 47 different clubs were treated to an introduction to downtown by Ash Cutchin. They saw the train station, Barrett’s Landing and the Farmer’s Market. While the roses were being judged back at PDCCC, members shopped and ate downtown.

“All the restaurants on Main Street did really well,” Nelson said. The event was free, but the club set up a “green offering” that allowed attendees to donate money. The proceeds went to the Blackwater-Nottoway Riverkeeper Program, in memory of Riverkeeper Jeff Turner’s late dog, Moonpie.

The weather across the state this year affected the event.

“We had fewer horticultural entries this year than we did last year because in the Tidewater part of the state we had too much rain, and in the Piedmont and the mountain areas it has been extremely dry,” Thompson said. “That was a flip-flop from the year before.”