Dilip's May 2001 Raleigh Rose Show Page

Note: some of the pictures (those with a purple border) here are clickable, so you can view larger versions

I am a member of the Raleigh Rose Society, and on May 29, 2001, we had our annual rose show. The theme was A Tribute to the Victorian Age, and, in addition to showing some roses for horticulture, with my friend Renee's help, I came up with designs to enter a traditional and a modern arrangement. You can see the evolution of my design ideas, our results, and some thoughts I have for the future here. Do visit my rose page for more about my roses and organic gardening practices.


The traditional theme is Silk, Velvet, Satin and Lace, Textures of the Victorian Age. It is further described by: The fabrics of the Victorian age were rich in color and texture. The colors of evening wear ranged from black, to dark blue, to deep purple, to garnet and brown, trimmed with lace and accented with diamonds and other brilliant ornamentation.

The second theme is What happened to Grandmother's Corset?. I'm thinking of using something which is hoop-like or which suggests broken springs as an important part of the arrangement. The description goes on to say, This era marked a sense of freedom in lady's undergarments. It was no longer fashionable to wear the corset. Though this sparked much debate in what was proper, the young women adopted the new fashion to the consternation of the older ladies.

Initial Design Ideas

A week before the show, I had design ideas for both entries. My friend Kathy had a delightful suggestion for the traditional arrangement, involving not using a vase or oasis, but rather a hat with vials inside the hatband. It sounds modern, but in fact the arrangement would still be a line-mass, so would be traditional. I had thought of using a Victorian purple background, painting the hat purple (slightly different shade of the fabric, but blending in to the background to give the roses the focus), and perhaps using pink roses or white ones like Moonstone, which has a light pink edging.

However, my "partner in crime" Renee, who usually is kind enough to help especially with my traditional arrangements, verified my doubts about being able to work through this design. We're now thinking of painting a glass vase an old sterling silver-like color, perhaps with a darker shade inside and a light silver outside. If the weather cooperates, I hope to have almost a dozen of my Big Purple hybrid tea roses ready for the show, and we would use these lovely (and quite fragrant!) purple roses to make a line-mass design. I am thinking of picking up additional dried line material and spray painting it silver, and using fresh plant material like ferns and maybe rose buds. We're thinking of a deep navy blue background.

For the modern one, I took inspiration from an arrangement my friend Sue made at the Sept. 1999 Greensboro rose show (a modern one with the topic of speed - as in rollercoasters), in which she used soft copper tubing. I went to Home Depot and bought 10 feet of 1/2" tubing, the kind used to run water to a refrigerator's ice machine. I bought an unfinished wooden "treasure chest" from Michael's craft store. My thought is to gently uncoil the copper and anchor it within the chest. I would glue several vials, after painting them copper-like, onto the coil. The idea is of an abstract corset, uncoiled after years of not being used, and popping out of a treasure chest in the attic. I had been thinking of a deep navy blue background to contrast with the copper, painting the chest verdigris (the green patina that weathered copper acquires) to match the tubing and give an impression of age (or maybe grey for age and to match with the blue), and using red roses. Later, I'm leaning toward a lovely violet-purple fabric we picked up as background and maybe leaving the chest as unfinished wood or painting it dull black with light strokes of copper to simulate age, and still using red roses.

First Try at Layout - Modern

Here is what it looks like as I am just starting to layout the design Tu night (5/15). The color may not be clear, but the fabric is violet-purple. I would affix bronze colored vials for two or three roses, probably red ones, along the copper tubing. Issues I'm trying to decide on:

Design with Painted Chest - Modern

It's Thursday, two days before the show, and last night I painted the chest. It's walnut brown inside, and the outside is mainly an antique copper, with some brown and flat black brushed in. It looks okay, but I may still paint it more black. I found a verdigris copper antiquing paint kit, but think the green may draw attention away from the roses. I'm not so sure that it looks better than when it was unpainted. My current thoughts are to:

My Garden the Day Before the Show

We've had heavy rain at times and overall overcast and cool weather this past week. My garden was looking neat and well groomed, but I am lucky because it still has a lot of blooms, though they are a bit weathered.

I am thinking of using my Big Purple for the modern arrangement (see the first two shots below). For the modern, I only want two (just maybe three, but I think two would be just right for aesthetics and balance) blooms, and it looks like I'll have two nice Big Purples, and maybe 10 just opening buds. I had originally hoped to use Big Purple in the traditional, so didn't disbud the bush to give me a few large flowers. I still may end up using Big Purple in the traditional arrangement. The rules allow for any privately grown rose, so I may use somebody else's roses for one or both of the arrangements, maybe large pink or white roses, or even red, which looks great against copper (people bring a lot of roses to show for horticulture and at the show decide which to actually enter, so there's always extra roses).

My Alec's Red rose, the third shot below, has lovely huge buds. They may look great in the traditional with other reds, or maybe even as the flowers I use in the modern, if I gently open the buds up a bit with Q-tips. I'm excited for the show!


As you can see on my main rose page, I've summarized the results of the show. My modern won best-of-show in large-flowered modern arrangements, and garnered not just a blue ribbon, but also the ARS Artist Award, a Gold Arrangement Certificate, and a nice oval plate as a prize! My friend Renee helped, especially for the traditional arrangement, which won us a green ribbon. In horticulture, I won three blue ribbons, one red ribbon, and a yellow ribbon in a challenge class.

I think the color of the chest worked out great. Renee had the good idea of moving the chest so it isn't against the back corner of the niche, but in a bit, helping to fill up the niche. She also rebent the copper slightly to make the curves more graceful. It was delightful being able to use my own roses in my arrangement - and getting such lovely results, and a nice award!

Ideas for the Future

What did I learn and what are some thoughts for future arrangements? Here are some ideas:

Dilip's Home Page

Created: May 15, 2001
Last updated: May 21, 2001