I just got back from attending the American Rose Society's (ARS) Fall Convention in San Ramon, CA. The highlight of the weekend was the installation of our new President, Jolene Adams. I've been a member of ARS for close to twenty years (well off and on when I forgot to get my dues in on time!) and I'm real excited about the next three years under Jolene and then the three years after that under Pat Shanley.

As we've discussed in this blog many times, rose growing in the U.S. is rapidly changing. Gone are the fussy diva roses and in are the low-maintenance shrub roses. While rose shows are still fun and popular, today's shrub roses open up all different kinds of ways to grow roses. From flower borders to formal to informal to pots; the sheer diversity of today's roses in terms of growth habit means there truly is a rose for everyone.

The American Rose Society for a long while had the reputation as being a bastion of fussy rose growing. Complicated fertilizer plans, lots of chemical sprays and very strict grooming guidelines; seemed to leave out the general gardener. And in all honesty it was a reputation deserved.

No longer. I've known Jolene for quite a while and have had many email exchanges over ideas on rose growing, rose education; all with an eye towards making it more accessible to all gardeners. Anyone who has read this blog over the past few years knows how strongly I feel about that. Jolene's vision for the future of the ARS is a good one and even more importantly a "big tent" one.

Even before Jolene, the foundation for this big tent was being put up. I particularly noticed this in their magazine "American Rose". This bi-monthly periodical has been redesigned and is now full of great articles covering all aspects of rose growing - and all experience levels. If you want to learn something about roses it's a great read.

While you are at it check out your local chapter of the American Rose Society. There, you will meet fellow rose lovers and gardeners, plus have access to invaluable experience by rose folks who grow roses where you live. The U.S. is a big country with lots of different climates and there is nothing like the knowledge of rose growers in your area to speed you on your way.

I know some of you who read this blog who were members have dropped it over the last few years for reasons that earned ARS that previous reputation. i suggest you take another look. If you see what you like and what you hear then show support for this new direction (and for Jolene) by joining again. That will help move things forward better than anything!

To learn more about ARS visit their website at www.ars.org

You can also visit them on Facebook

Happy Roseing

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