Four Day Journey...
Western Canada to Shreveport
Of course, it does not take four days to go by plane to
Shreveport. I could have left Vancouver, B.C., on Friday morning and arrived
in the evening. But, as I was invited by my good friends, Dr. Troy and
Dolores Garrett for a two-day visit in Oklahoma before driving to Shreveport
on Friday, I did not expect to have even a slim chance of arriving with
a few minis still good enough to enter at the Fall National. In any case,
I considered It a super challenge to cut the blooms four to seven days
before the show, leaving Canada on Tuesday and to possibly still have
a few blooms to enter on Saturday.
About half of my roses arrived in fair condition, and I was able to enter
all four classes possible with Glowing Amber, the one variety I
brought. As I was waiting outside the show hall to enter after judging
was completed one of the judges told me: You have won the Mini
Cycle of Bloom challenge class. I could not believe it at
first and said: You must be kidding. Winning a challenge class
with my own Glowing Amber was beyond my wildest dreams.
Here is how I did it:
A week before, on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, I cut approximately 15
blooms at different stages with no more than one row of petals down and
kept them in a fridge at 34-36þF. On Tuesday afternoon, I cut the last
six blooms. All were very tight with a couple of sepals just starting
to unfurl. My smallest cooler box was too big to carry onto the plane,
so I used a 8x12x12 inch cooler bag with only half-inch thick insulation,
which fitted my approximately 20 minis. Each stem and bloom was protected
inside 1 1/2 inch diameter cardboard tubes 8-10 inches long and each had
a small orchid tube filled with Floralife water made almost
double strength. On the bottom of the insulated bag and in between the
cardboard tubes I put several small- and medium-sized bags of blue ice.
I even took a leftover pint of Floralife water with me to top off the
orchid tubes once during my four day trip. I also used the same (Real
Canadian) water for my four entries at the show.
On Tuesday evening I left home for Seattle by car. I stayed in Seattle
overnight. On Wednesday I flew from Seattle to Tulsa, Oklahoma. I arrived
at friends home at 5 p.m. Then I took all the roses out of their protective
cardboard tubes but left the orchid tubes on. I topped off tubes with
Floralife water before all the roses were put into my friends fridge.
All icebags went back into the deep freeze.
On Friday morning I repacked all of the roses for the drive to Shreveport
where we arrived at 3 p.m. I left the bag with the roses on a table in
the preparation hall until 4 a.m. Saturday when I finally unpacked them
for the last time. I found that about half of my blooms were fully open
and too far gone. As I had a tag placed on every bloom which showed when
it was cut and how tight it was, I learned that Saturdays and Sundays
blooms with one row of petals down did not last. Instead only those cut
really tight on Monday and Tuesday survived the four day ordeal.
As there were a record number of Glowing Amber single
specimen blooms entered by others, I used my best exhibition bloom for
my winning Mini Cycle of Bloom entry. This Best Bloom,
by the way, was one of three dry wrapped for two weeks which I revived
in Oklahoma on Thursday night.
This experience was quite an adventure for me and it has taught me more
than anything ever in my 16 years of exhibiting roses. It also shows to
what length and/or distance a crazy exhibitor can travel with roses.
But I have done other crazy things before, like flying roses to England
in 1984 and winning some seconds and thirds, or flying with roses to Toronto
(5 hr. Flight), and winning three trophies at the 1985 W.F.R.S. Show.
And, in 1996 I entered Glowing Amber at two shows 30
miles apart on the same day. There, I left Canada at 2:30 a.m., arrived
at Tacoma, Washington at 6 a.m., put in four entries winning Mini
Queen and Mini New Introduction. At 6:45 a.m., I left
again for the Olympia show, 30 miles south, and entered 'Glowing Amber'
in every class possible there, winning Mini Bloom Cycle and
Best 3 Minis in show.
Nonetheless, the Shreveport experience thought me that a four day travel
with roses for exhibition was stretching it a bit far. But it was well
worth all the trouble and effort I put into it.
( First published in the Spring 1998 Rose Exhibitors
Forum, page 13 )
( Robert B. Martin, Jr., Editor )