By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — Salisbury residents Jean Paul and Gisele Marquis were captivated by roses in a variety of sizes and colors Saturday.
It was the couple’s first trip to the Rowan Rose Society’s annual Rose Show, but they said it definitely won’t be their last.
“I love it, it’s beautiful,” Jean Paul said.
Mesmerized by how well the roses held up after being cut from the stalk, Gisele remarked that they were simply gorgeous.
“They’re not like my roses,” she said to Jean Paul.
He just smiled.
“He said no comment,” Gisele joked.
Hundreds of roses lined tables inside a vacant storefront at the Salisbury Mall.
About 22 people from throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia submitted roses in more than 36 different classes.
Judges spent more than two hours scoring the flowers on form, color, substance, stem and foliage, size, balance and proportion Saturday before announcing the winners.
Eleven-year-old John Seamon was one of them, claiming third place for his red and white rose in a floating bowl.
Seamon, a student at Isenberg Elementary School, said his father, Wesley Seamon, Rowan Show chairman, inspired him to jump into competing.
“I felt like I wanted to start doing stuff like my dad,” John said.
Apparently, growing roses runs in the family.
Wesley said he can remember his grandfather growing the flowers and helping out during rose shows. And he’s been bringing John to shows since he was in a stroller.
“It’s interesting to learn what the judges are looking for,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Clyde Harriss, president of the Rowan Rose Society, said about the same number of people participated in this year’s show, but the number of roses on display has dipped a bit thanks to Mother Nature.
“The winter was so mild, and the spring as well, that everything has been blooming early, so most people’s roses have passed their peak,” he said.
And Harriss said heavy downpours, like that one that swept through Rowan County this past week, can wreak havoc on roses that have already bloomed, creating spots and rips.
“All kinds of things work against having a perfect flower,” he said.
Harriss said the rose show is something anyone can enjoy.
“There are hundreds of beautiful roses on display and not only is it an attractive sight, it’s also fragrant,” he said. “Whenever you give someone a rose, the first thing they do is lean forward.”
Salisbury residents Glenda Kluttz and Vickie Keene did just that. The friends stopped to smell the roses and admire the detail in each one.
“I just love flowers, and roses are especially gorgeous,” Kluttz said. “They are beautiful. There is a lot of work that goes into this.”
Keene grows roses herself, but she didn’t submit any to the show.
“My dad grows roses. I think that’s why I got into it.”
Kluttz said she never realized there were so many varieties of roses until Saturday.
“I thought a rose was a rose was a rose,” she said.
Harris said that’s part of the beauty of the show. “The rose show gives you a chance to see and appreciate all the different kinds of roses,” he said.
Although roses in makeshift vases were the main attraction, a row of arrangements line the back wall.
“People are so creative,” Harriss said. “It just amazes me how inspired some of these people can be.”
The roses will be sold at the close of the show today, with proceeds going to benefit the American Rose Society. A dozen large roses will cost $4 and a dozen mini roses $2.
Rose Show winners
The main winners of the 2012 annual Rowan Rose Show are listed below, first by award, then by the person’s name and the name of the rose.
• Queen of the Show: Jack and Nancy Wright, Marlon’s Day
• King of the Show: Jack and Nancy Wright, Randy Scott
• Princess of the Show: Fred Wright, Brook’s Red
• Large Rose Sweepstakes (most blue ribbons for larger roses): Jack and Nancy Wright
• Miniature Rose Queen: Fred Wright, Best of ‘04
• Miniature Rose King: Don and Mary Myers, Peggy ‘T’
• Miniature Rose Princess: Amos and Marie Fritts, Nancy Jean
• Mini-Flora Rose Queen: Jack and Nancy Wright, Mary Alice
• Mini-Flora Rose King: Don and Mary Myers, Powerhouse
• Mini-Flora Rose Princess: Don and Mary Myers, Dr. John Dickman
• Miniature Rose Sweepstakes (most blue ribbons for mini roses): Amos and Marie Fritts
Arrangements top awards
This year theme was “Historic Salisbury.”
• Royalty Award (top award for large rose arrangements): Rebecca Lowery for “Hall House”
• Mass Arrangement Oriental Award: Sara Hill for “Meroney Theater” Oriental Arrangement (Moribana)
• Court of Etiquette (table setting with a rose arrangement): Denise Speas for “Lunch at Spanky’s”
• Mini-Royalty Award (top award for miniature rose arrangement): Joey Seamon for “Bell Tower”
• Mini-Artist Award : Leslie Lee for “Hambley-Wallace” Transparent Arrangement
• Youth Arrangement Division: John Seamon, Noah Lee, and Susan Lee for “Dan Nicholas Park”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.