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What do professional judges look for in rose competitions?
Did you know that an accredited rose judge is sometimes called a “Master Rosarian?”
The American Rose Society has established standards of operation for Rose competitions. While most judges are chosen locally and volunteer their services, they are expected to adhere to these standards.
Six factors enter into judging decisions, and there is a points system assigned to each factor. Here are the important factors:
Form. The largest number of possible points is given to the form. To determine the form the judge will look straight down into the bloom, which should be one-half to three-fourths open. He/she will look to see how the rose petals unfurl from the center outward. The center of the rose is the key to determining the development of form.
Color. Three elements determine the color: hue, chroma and brightness. Whatever the color of the rose itself, the judge is expected to judge equally these factors in all roses.
Substance. This refers to the amount of moisture or starch in the petals. Substance really means freshness, or simply how fresh does the rose look? The judge has to determine this by sight only since he/she is not allowed to touch any part of the rose.
The Stem and The Leaves. The judge expects the long stem to be straight and the leaves to be clean and free from bruising or bug effects.Together the relationship between the stem and the leaves and the bloom are referred to as “proportion and balance.”
Size. The bloom itself is also judged by size. It is expected to be in an acceptable proportion and balance with the stem and leaves, and admittedly this can be subjective.
Sometimes a rose entry may be removed from consideration and disqualified from the competition.
This could happen to your rose entry for the following reasons: You misnamed or misspelled the name of the variety on your entry card, you failed to write the correct class you are entering, you forgot to write your name on the tag, you added some extra substance to make your leaves look shiny, your stem is not singularly straight, or you forgot to remove side buds.
If you would like to learn more about the American Rose Society’s judging standards, you can buy their publication, Guidelines for Judging Roses. It’s available on their website for $10 plus postage: