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In the Garden: Learn about roses at Spokane Rose Society’s annual show

Sat., June 17, 2017, 12:15 p.m.

On Saturday, the Spokane Rose Society’s 70th annual rose show will showcase an abundance of breathtaking roses. (Susan Mulvihill / The Spokesman-Review)
On Saturday, the Spokane Rose Society’s 70th annual rose show will showcase an abundance of breathtaking roses. (Susan Mulvihill / The Spokesman-Review)

The next time you visit Rose Hill in Manito Park, take a moment to remember and appreciate the Spokane Rose Society. After all, Rose Hill wouldn’t be the magnificent garden we all know and love without them. The society formed in 1947 and a few years later, members were hard at work establishing the display gardens that have won many awards over the decades.

Rose aficionados will have the opportunity to express their gratitude while enjoying beautiful roses at the Rose Society’s 70th annual show on June 24. It will be noon to 4 p.m. at Northland Rosarium. All sizes and types of roses will be displayed to their best advantage.

Lynn Schafer, society treasurer, newsletter editor and Master Rosarian, understands why the rose show is such a valuable event for the community.

“The show exposes people to roses, they get to see a wide range of varieties, and which ones do well in this region,” she said. “People are especially attracted to the rose arrangements because they know a lot of time has been put in to create them.”

For about the first 30 years, the shows were held at the Davenport Hotel. As delightful as that must have been, society president Kevin Brownlee feels Northland Rosarium is an ideal setting.

“It’s a perfect venue because people will have a beautiful rose garden to walk through,” he said. “It’s a great place to see roses both as cut flowers and in the garden. And many of the roses they see will be available to purchase.”

Carol Newcomb, owner of Northland Rosarium and adviser to the Spokane Rose Society, believes roses are the workhorses in the garden.

“There is no other shrub that blooms like roses do, all season long,” she said. “They come in so many colors and in all different sizes, shapes and heights.”

Everyone is encouraged to enter their roses in the show and, perhaps, secure bragging rights in the end.

“Any hobby can be really isolating,” Brownlee said. “It’s awesome to have the chance to share something publicly like this.”

“The rose show is open to anyone who wants to show roses,” Schafer added. “There are classes for non-members, novices, juniors and for our members as well. We always have people there to help the novice enter their roses the best way possible.”

Those exhibiting roses should bring their entries between 8 and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, to allow time for members to help them with their displays. They will have to wait until noon to see how their entries fared during the judging process, however.

Whether a visitor plans to exhibit their best roses or just enjoy the show, society members are expecting plenty of rose-related questions as a result of our tough winter. Members are happy to answer all manner of rose questions.

The Spokane Rose Society meets on the fourth Wednesday from February through November, in the Manito meeting room, 4 W. 21st Ave. Guests are always welcome. There is an educational program or workshop at each meeting.

For more information on roses, watch this week’s “Everyone Can Grow A Garden” video on my YouTube channel,

Susan Mulvihill is co-author of “Northwest Gardener’s Handbook” with Pat Munts. Contact her at

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