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History of the San Joaquin Valley Rose Society

Organized 1950
Written by Blanche Wimer

The year was 1950. Our Valley had no rose society. A group of rose gardeners met with the idea of organizing a rose society. Three of the group were already American Rose Society members. Mr. & Mrs. Fred Walters of Southern California came up to help.

The initial general meeting was held on January 11, 1950. The large room quickly filled. A paper was passed around and to become a member, you signed your name and paid $1.50 for dues. The San Joaquin Valley now had a rose society and what a better name could there be-"San Joaquin Valley." The San Joaquin Valley Rose Society became the seventh rose society to be formed in the NCNH District.

With 175 charter members, they quickly elected a slate of officers. No time was lost in planning a Rose Show. It was held on May 7, 1950. The annual Rose Show has continued to be the high point of each year. We quickly became affiliated with the American Rose Society as we awarded the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards at the first Rose Show. Two judges judged the cut blooms and one judged the arrangement.

Next, we hosted the Annual District Conference in October of 1952 in the California Hotel. We were the youngest Rose Society and also the largest in the District at that time. Additional District Conferences were held in 1959, 1968, 1978, 1986 and 1996.

The subject of a Municipal Rose Garden soon was being discussed. A piece of land of 5 acres was made available in Roeding Park. It was ready for planting in February, 1953. Donations of roses came from rose growers and individuals. They had a 'planting bee' to plant at least 3500 rose bushes at the park. Each spring the society had a pruning demonstration for the public. The garden was beautiful and was enjoyed by many for a number of years.

In 1991 several members of the SJVRS met with staff members of California State University, Fresno and the Plant Operations Department of the University. The rose garden that had been on the campus for over 20 years had deteriorated. There were three existing rose beds close to the President's office and space for one more bed. The Plant Operations Department removed all the roses from the existing beds and developed a new rose bed from an area of lawn.

The University Plant Operations Department agreed to do the routine care of the garden - watering, spraying and fertilizing. The San Joaquin Valley Rose Society would obtain the roses for the garden and do the yearly pruning and dead heading. In 1992 the new rose garden was planted from generous donations of rose plants from Jackson & Perkins, Weeks Roses and Sequoia Miniature Nursery. The Plant Operations Department still maintains the watering, fertilizing and weeding of the rose garden. Members of the SJVRS hold annual pruning demonstrations open to the public and deadhead roses during the year.

In 1998 Dr. Tommy Cairns, Vice President of the American Rose Society approached the San Joaquin Valley Rose Society about hosting an All Miniature Rose Show and Conference. He wanted to recognize the popularity of miniature roses and honor the hybridizers that have introduced them. The San Joaquin Valley Rose Society agreed to host the conference with great assistance from Dr. Cairns, Luis Desamero and members of Tinseltown Rose Society. Ralph Moore, the world renowned hybridizer of miniature roses would be the first hybridizer to be honored. To further honor Mr. Moore in his work in hybridizing miniature roses it was decided to establish a National Ralph S. Moore Arrangement Trophy. This was controversial because Mr. Moore was not an arranger. But, where would the world of miniature roses be without his innovative breeding program?

On September 17-19, 1999 the 1st All Miniature Rose Show and Conference was held in Fresno. The format was simple - a weekend with an all miniature rose show, programs on miniature rose culture, an awards banquet and a garden event on Sunday. The San Joaquin Valley Rose Society was proud to have hosted the 1st ARS All Miniature Rose Show and Conference.

Over the years the society has remained much the same. We have regular meetings, a Christmas Party and some kind of social during the summer. We have held an Annual Rose Show every year since 1950 with the exception of 2002 when San Jose was the host for the ARS National Spring Convention and the National Spring Rose Show was held on the same weekend we would have selected for our show.


Last updated: 3/7/09
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