rose photography

ARS Photography Challenge Class

ARS Photography Challenge Class, the First

ARS Photography Challenge Class: The Board of Directors approved this Challenge Class at the Fall 2017 National Conference and Show in Gettysburg. In addition, this was the same meeting at which they approved the final Guidelines and Rules for Judging Rose Photography.

ARS photography challenge class

Nat’l Challenge Class

The Challenge calls for three separate images, all mounted and matted per ARS guidelines. In addition, they are to show Cycle of Bloom for either miniature or miniflora roses. Look for this Challenge Class at the 2018 Spring Miniature and Miniflora National Conference and Show, Jacksonville, FL, May 4-6. The Penn-Jersey District sponsors this award.

In conclusion, this is one more exciting development in Rose Photography at the ARS level. Have fun planning your entries, whether for 2018 or subsequent years.

spring 2017 roses

Spring 2017 Roses

Spring 2017 Roses

Spring 2017 Roses is a small collection of images of roses mainly grown by me. ‘Austrian Copper,’ the species rose R. foetida bicolor, was grown by Tim and Laurie Price. If you wish to see any of the images at a larger size, click on the image.
You may also watch a slideshow containing these and other images.
Additional post will be made throughout the season.
I hope you enjoy the varied beauty of the roses.

Miniature Rose, ‘Incognito,’ after a gentle overnight rain
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Incognito'

Species Rose, R. foetida bicolor, grown by Tim and Laurie Price
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Austrian Copper'

Spray of shrub rose, ‘Route 66’
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Route 66'

Spray of miniature rose, ‘Bees Knees’
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Bees Knees'

Shrub rose, ‘Pike’s Peak’
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Pike's Peak'

Shrub rose, ‘Othello’
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Othello'

Miniature rose, ‘Spring Fling’
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Spring Fling'

Floribunda rose, ‘Betty Boop.’ Rose shows now frequently have a class for “Rose Art,” and very often what you will see are images that use photoshop filters or other editing that leads to the destruction or loss of beauty of the rose itself. I want to show that images can be greatly edited, and/or enhanced, without destroying the integrity or the beauty of the rose.
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Betty Boop'


Green Rose

Green Rose, a Hybrid China

Green Rose really is a rose. It is a sport, or a mutation, made up of sepals. Its official American Rose Society color is “white,” something of a trick question on some of the practical exams to become an ARS Accredited Horticulture Judge. I have never seen this white part, but it doesn’t matter. I enjoy having this rose in my garden.

green rose

Green Rose, a China rose, discovery in US dated circa 1827

Not only is it interesting just to look at, but rose arrangers find it useful as line material in rose arrangements.

In a previous post I mentioned the discussion among friends regarding editing of images, and the use of jpg versus raw files. Here I would like to briefly mention composition. Rule of Thirds can be a very useful composition guideline in floral photography. Those of you who read here frequently know that it is a guideline I use in a wide variety of my photography. When photographing rose sprays, however, my personal preference for my own photography is symmetry and balance. I like to show the structure of the spray, and tend to photograph sprays from that perspective, rather than from the top down. To my eye, symmetry and balance is a good way to show both the structure and beauty of rose sprays, at least in many instances. This image of the Green Rose uses symmetry and balance.

Another example is my image of Dream Weaver:

Spray of Rose Dream Weaver

Spray of rose, ‘Dream Weaver.’ Image awarded ‘Queen’ (Photography) at the ARS Fall 2014 National Convention.

Green Rose, one of the unique roses in the roses in the rose world.

Happy World Photography Day! #worldphotoday

mermaid rose

Mermaid, A Beautiful Old Garden Rose

Mermaid, A Beautiful Old Garden Rose

Mermaid is a beautiful old garden rose (Hybrid bracteata 1918) that long time readers here know well. In May of 2006 it was reaching its peak after having been planted several years before. It took Best of Show at the Spring 2006 Albuquerque Rose Show, along with the ARS Victorian Award for Old Garden Roses with unknown date of introduction or introduced in or after 1867. Who could have imagined what December of 2006 would bring?

Mid December of 2006 brought an 8 inch snowfall to my house. It was heavy and wet, and pulled Mermaid and its trellis a little away from the wall. But I was sick at the time, thought there wouldn’t be more snow at least for a while, and I could repair things when I felt better. Big mistake!

A week later or so I got an unheard-of-for-here 22 inch snowfall at my house! The melting and refreezing, melting and refreezing added more weight, and in the middle of one night with a noise loud enough to awaken me at the other end of the house, Mermaid and trellis came crashing down across the patio. It took me weeks to get that mess cleaned up to the point I could walk out into the rest of the yard. To do it, I had to cut everything, including the clematis that had been growing with Mermaid, off at ground level. I thought everything was gone.

Imagine my joy at finding tiny basal breaks later in the spring of 2007! Mermaid did not grow a lot in 2007, but the companion clematis came back more rapidly. 2008 was even better. By 2009, things were looking very good. At the Spring 2010 Albuquerque Rose Show, Mermaid once again won the ARS Victorian Award along with Best of Show.

The 2014-2015 winter in Albuquerque was quite mild. Mermaid’s spring bloom this year was probably the best I have seen since the 2006 damage. Once again, at the Spring 2015 Albuquerque Rose Show, Mermaid took Best of Show (5 matched sprays in the entry in “Exhibitor’s Dream”) along with the ARS Victorian Award. This is a rose you will not see often in rose shows, because it is an “eight-hour wonder!” It opens in the morning, and drops its petals by evening. But, it is gorgeous during that time!

mermaid rose

Mermaid, Best of Show 2015, at placement during entry before judging

These are images from this year’s spring bloom:

mermaid rose

Old Garden Rose, Mermaid

mermaid rose

Old Garden Rose, Mermaid

mermaid rose

Old Garden Rose, Mermaid

Mermaid – one of my favorite roses, and back to being a focal point in the garden of my small Albuquerque yard.

clematis and mermaid

Clematis and Mermaid: Great Companion Plants

Clematis and Mermaid: Great Companion Plants

Clematis and Mermaid make great companion plants. I have already shown this year’s ‘Nelly Moser’ bloom with ‘Mermaid.’ ‘Nelly Moser’ is the first to bloom. As that bloom comes to an end, a white clematis, whose name I do not know, begins its bloom. About the time that bloom comes to an end, ‘Mermaid’ will begin what can be a spectacular spring bloom. The white clematis is reaching the peak of its 2015 bloom.

Clematis needs “cool feet” to thrive, along with sunshine on the leaves. ‘Mermaid’ provides shade for the clematis roots, and a strong structure on which the clematis vine can climb.

clematis and mermaid

‘Mermaid’ with ‘Nelly Moser’ and a white clematis

clematis and mermaid

Closer view of white clematis and ‘Mermaid’

This third view gives you some idea of the size of ‘Mermaid.’ I have mentioned before that I prune it back in the fall (the only rose I treat that way!), and it has already grown a lot this year. After the spring bloom, I will cut it back again to keep it from filling up the entire yard! But, I really enjoy growing this rose.

clematis and mermaid

‘Mermaid’ with ‘Nelly Moser’ and a white clematis


Rose Mermaid – 2013 Spring Bloom Comes to an End

Rose Mermaid

‘Mermaid’s’ 2013 spring bloom was beautiful and amazing. She had more blossoms than ever before, and virtually no thrip problems. She won the American Rose Society’s Victorian Award at the Albuquerque Rose Society’s Spring Show, and Best of Show (Horticulture) at the Albuquerque Council of Garden Clubs Spring Show. But, more than the awards, she was just a joy to behold in the yard and on the patio.

Mermaid can be an aggressive grower, and the last major blooming branch was headed into the patio. This is not particularly desirable, because she has many very prickly thorns. People only half-jokingly say that she will attack anyone or anything that comes close. But, I left this branch until the last bloom was gone.

rose mermaid

‘Mermaid’ on July 4

rose mermaid

‘Mermaid’ July 10, 2013

This rose is interesting to view, even when the gorgeous, creamy fresh blooms are gone. The stamens, bright golden with pollen when they are fresh, hold interest for long after.

rose stamens

Two-day-old center with stamens

‘Mermaid’ seems to be tolerating the Southwest’s extreme drought and summer heat very well. Although the first flush of blooms is now over, she is already putting out new growth everywhere!

rose mermaid

New growth on ‘Mermaid’

rose mermaid

More new growth

At the rate this beauty grows, it will not be long until there are new blossoms!


Rose Mermaid on June 13, 2013

Rose Mermaid has had a spectacular spring bloom this year. Said to be Monet’s favorite rose (thanks for the tip, David Clemons), I’ll just say Monet had good taste in roses. 😉

These images show Mermaid on one day, with various phases on the one bush I have.

This is a bloom just barely opening in the morning. They open in the morning, and the petals are gone by the next morning.
The long golden parts are the stamens, the pollen bearing part of the male plant reproductive system. The center part is the stigma, the visible portion of the pistil, the female plant reproductive system. The stigma is sticky and catches the pollen.
Even barely unfurled, Mermaid, to me, is gorgeous.

rose mermaid

Bloom beginning to unfurl early in the morning

Close up of the stigma (the visible portion of the pistil in Mermaid). It looks very other worldly.

rose mermaid

Stigma of Mermaid

On the right is a bloom starting to unfurl. The spent bloom in the lower left has just lost its petals. The one in the middle is about 48 hours old. I cannot tell how old the one in the lower right is.

rose mermaid

Spent blooms of Mermaid

These are actually on two different branches – one with the buds, one with the spent blooms.

spent blooms and bus of Mermaid

Spent blooms and buds of Mermaid

Mermaid was awarded the ARS Victorian Award (best old garden rose with unknown date of origin or introduction in or after 1867) this year at the Albuquerque Rose Society Spring Show. She won Best of Show in 2006 and 2010, but this year she did not hit her peak until after the show. The glory of Mermaid for me is in the garden! Sharing her with others at shows is fun. Any awards are just a bonus for this beautiful rose!


Rose ‘Mermaid’

Rose ‘Mermaid,’ Part 15, the Saga Continues

The Old Garden Rose, ‘Mermaid,’ has long been one of my favorites. Regular readers here are aware of my love for this hybrid bracteata, introduced in 1918, which was also the year of my father’s birth. I planted the rose in his memory after he died.

Although known for being somewhat tender, the rose grew huge, climbing up the fireplace within a couple of years. After the 22 inch snow that fell in late December 2006, with thawing, freezing, thawing, freezing, etc., the weight of the ice tore ‘Mermaid’ and its trellis off the wall of the house, and it had to be cut off at ground level. I was sure it would not recover.

Recovery was very slow, but ‘Mermaid’ did recover to virtually her old self by the spring of 2010.

This spring, 2013, has been an exceptional year for ‘Mermaid,’ as the following images demonstrate:

old garden rose 'mermaid'

Buds on ‘Mermaid’ in early spring

old garden rose 'mermaid'

Spray of ‘Mermaid’

rose 'mermaid'


rose 'mermaid'

Old Garden Rose, ‘Mermaid’

Is it any wonder that the Old Garden Rose, ‘Mermaid,’ is one of my very favorite roses? 🙂


The Saga of ‘Mermaid,’ Part 14


Mermaid -Best of Show, Albuquerque Rose Show 2010

Over the past several years, I have documented ‘Mermaid’ as a beautiful Old Garden Rose (hybrid bracteata) introduced in 1918. She was up to my roof, and in May of 2006 won “Best of Show” in the Albuquerque Rose Show. You have seen that “The Big Snow of 2006” almost totally destroyed her, and she had to be cut off at the ground. She has very slowly come back. She is not yet up to the roof, but this spring she is blooming as beautifully and prolifically as when she was in her prime.

She just won the ARS Victorian Award for best OGR introduced after 1874, as well as Exhibitors Dream and BEST OF SHOW at the Albuquerque rose show June 5.

‘Mermaid’ is back!


The Green Rose

Green Rose

Green Rose

This really is a rose, officially a China. In rose shows, it is eligible for the Genesis Award.

The cluster of green you see are really the sepals. I have been told there are true flowers deep inside the cluster of sepals; I have never seen one.

When I took the test to become an ARS Accredited Rose Judge, one of the questions was “What is the ARS color of the Green Rose?” There is no ARS color “green,” so I answered “no clue.” I think I was given partial credit for that answer.

The official color of the flowers of the Green Rose is “white.” Just some rose trivia.