Rose Articles

Rose Show Guide -


by Brenda Viney

Judging Impairments

Judging Impairments

A. Not disbudded – for exhibition blooms, shoot (side bud) should be removed in the early stages of growth.
B. Disbudding stub – side shoot should be removed early in growth so a scar does not result – should also be removed as close to stem as possible so a stub does not remain.
C. Immature shoot – a growth not having a bud – should be removed in early stages of growth.
D. ‘Stem-on-stem’ – acceptable in Shrub and OGR classes as their stems are sometimes not long enough to exhibit properly. Penalized for all other rose varieties if the stem-on-stem break is visible ABOVE the lip of the vase (it is acceptable if the break is hidden below the vase lip)
E. Spoiled inflorescence – stem should be removed to make spray more pleasing.
F. Deadheading stub on spray – spent bloom should be removed as closely as possible to stem.
G. Side stem not removed in spray – should be removed as close to stem as possible.

To Keep in Mind


1. While there is no perfect rose, the exhibit should be as near perfect as possible.
2. This state of nearest perfection must occur AT THE TIME OF JUDGING (not at show opening!).
3. The judges’ decisions are final.



  • Exhibit placed in wrong class, i.e. wrong colour, floribunda entered into a hybrid tea class (we will attempt to re-place in correct class before judging of that class)
  • Incorrect or non-naming of any roses
  • Quantity error (3 stems required but 4 entered)
  • Any foreign substance (eg leaf shine) applied to any part of the exhibit
  • Side bud(s) on a rose that should be exhibited disbudded
  • Exhibitor’s name in wrong place or missing from entry tag or incorrect tag used
  • Wedging material used other than that supplied by VRS
  • Side buds not removed in a class for ‘exhibition’ blooms
  • NAS – Not According to Schedule

Basis for Judging


  • Judges will compare exhibits with a “set standard of perfection”, ie each exhibit will be judged on how good a specimen it is for that variety.
  • Judges are strongly urged to take a positive rather than a negative approach to judging. In close competition they would take note of faults, taking into account the degree of impairment. Faults under the control of exhibitor are more serious than those which are not (ie caterpillar damage more serious than hail damage).
  • Judges may lift and turn vases of exhibits, only Recording Clerks may actually lift the bloom from the vase – done in cases where there is suspicion that an entry is not proper.
  • Disqualification versus penalization – a disqualified exhibit is out of contention whereas the imperfections of a penalized exhibit do not put it out of contention; they reduce the chance of that exhibit winning.

Point Scale


Form = 25 points

  • Form is the shape of the flower and the stage of its development (½ to ¾ open)

Colour = 25 points

  • should be bright and even with no streaks or blotches

Substance = 20 points

  • the freshness of the petals, their firmness and health (indicating good cultivation) and their freedom from damage. Good substance is often evidenced by a sheen on the petals.

Stem & foliage & balance = 20 points
Note: Bloom is 80% of points

  • should be clean and healthy, typical of the variety in quantity and colour, free from insect and spray damage. The stem should be straight and round, sufficiently strong to support the bloom or flower head. It should not have any disbudding stubs or immature growths. Disbudding scars should be as unobtrusive as possible. Balance is the relationship between the bloom or inflorescence and the stem and foliage. The stem should be reasonably straight and long enough, but not too long. The foliage should be sufficient to set off the bloom.

Size (of bloom) = 10 points

  • bloom should be a good size for the variety. In the case of miniatures, the blooms should be neither puny nor gross
What each type of bloom should look like
Hybrid Teas/Miniatures – mainly entered as disbudded “exhibition” blooms (blooms with upright, conical centre) - petals should be evenly and symmetrically arranged around a good, pointed centre within a circular outline. Roses having 'reflexed' or heavily curved under petals resulting in a star shape should have the 'points' of the star evenly spaced to fit within a circle. The most perfect stage of bloom development is usually between 1/2 and 3/4's open and you should be able to see the centre of the bloom (not the stamens). NO side buds allowed – should have been “rubbed out” early in season. NOTE – there are also classes for a stem with side buds, a spray and single/semi-double hybrid teas for the “non-typical” HTs (Dainty Bess, Mrs. Oakley Fisher, etc.) and those that haven’t been disbudded and grow with buds and into sprays.
Floribundas & Miniatures – shown as “sprays” - the stage of bloom within the inflorescence can vary - either fully open or in all stages of development (tightly closed, half open, fully open, etc.) When looking down at inflorescence from the top, it should be round without any gaps in blooms; from the side, the inflorescence can be domed or flat or any geometric shape. An inflorescence can be made up of one or more sprays showing regularity and uniformity. ***As a spray is developing on your bush...remove the centre bud when it is small because they always bloom long before the other buds and will have died off when the other buds start to bloom. Grandifloras can be shown as a spray, bloom with or without side buds and as an exhibition bloom.
Shrubs, Climbers, Austins, etc. - classes may ask for blooms (ie NOT the typical upright, conical, high-centered blooms of a HT) or sprays as for floribundas or simply stems that means they can be 1 bloom with or without side buds, an exhibition bloom or a spray.
OGR's – shown as blooms/stems/sprays - usually at their best when fully open and should NOT be disbudded unless the bud is way out of proportion to the bloom (i.e. is 2-4” higher than the bloom – then it should be removed). One ‘stem’ means you can enter any of 3 things: 1 bloom with side buds; 1 bloom without side buds; 1 spray (2 or more blooms open). If we ask for a spray, it must be a stem with 2 or more blooms open. If we ask for a bloom, it is only 1 bloom open but may have side buds.
basket of roses
Bowls & Baskets - judged 75% for the quality of the blooms and 25% for the arrangement. For baskets, the handle must still be visible and usable.
Box Classes - great for blooms with blackspot - only uses blooms as stated in schedule (HT, Austin, etc.) with 4-5" stems. Blooms chosen should all be of similar size and openness and colours must be pleasing.
roses in vase
Classes of More Than 1 Stem - i.e. 3 stems in a vase - choose blooms that are uniform in size and shape if possible, or, with different varieties, exhibit should be balanced and proportionate.
fully open bloom
Fully Open Blooms – this simply means the stamens should be showing and should look fresh – should be yellow or red in most cases (old stamens are usually starting to turn BROWN). You can remove the small petals (petaloids) concealing stamens.
Bloom Progression – Top Bloom = a bud with sepals down, showing colour and not more than a quarter open, Middle Bloom = 1 bloom ½ to ¾ ‘s open and Bottom Bloom = 1 bloom fully open (stamens may or may not show).