Escondido, CA
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Escondido’s Bob Martin to be first SD resident elected president of American Rose Society

Robert B. Martin, Jr. of Escondido will be installed in October as San Diego County’s first president of the American Rose Society.

The American Rose Society’s (ARS) National Convention and Rose Show will be hosted by the San Diego Rose Society October 26-29 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Mission Valley.  The convention, titled “Fiesta of Roses,” will include the installation of the new national ARS president Robert B. Martin, Jr. of Escondido for a three-year term. Martin is the first San Diego County resident to be elected president of the 126-year-old national society.

Highlights of the convention include lectures on all aspects of rose cultivation and preservation, a comprehensive seminar on photography, tours of significant local rose gardens, an enormous national rose show, an auction of more than 200 rare and unusual roses, and a reception at the Escondido home of incoming ARS President Bob Martin and his wife, Dona, president of the San Diego Rose Society.

 Rosarians scheduled to speak include Tom Carruth, the E. L. and Ruth B. Shannon curator of the rose collection at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, where he is responsible for the maintenance of 3,500 rose bushes consisting of 1,400 varieties; Connie Hilker of Fredericksburg, Virginia, an authority on the preservation of rare and unusual roses who maintains 600 varieties of roses in her personal collection, and is the incoming chair of the Heritage and Preservation Committee of the American Rose Society; Gregg Lowery, curator, The Friends of Vintage Roses, Sebastopol, California, and an active preservationist of  historic rose cultivars; Ping Lim, an international authority on rose breeding, marketing and production for Altman Plants, Vista; and Lance Walheim, author of more than 30 gardening books, including “Roses for Dummies” and a contributing editor of the “Sunset Western Garden Book.”

Information and registration are available at  The basic registration fee is $85, with banquets, receptions, tours, and the photo seminar available for additional fees. The conference is open to all rose enthusiasts.

Additionally, the public is invited to experience the national rose show, shop the vendor area, and participate in the 18th annual California Coastal Rose Society Rare and Unusual Rose Plant Auction.  Admission to the rose show is $5.  Admission to the auction is free and open to the public.

The national rose show will include thousands of entries in numerous categories submitted by rose enthusiasts from throughout the country. “Just being in the room surrounded by thousands of exquisite blooms and arrangements of every color and variety is an unforgettable treat,” said Ruth Tiffany, chair of the conference. It is open Saturday, October 27, from 1:30 to 5 p.m., and Sunday, October 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

 The rose auction of 200+ rare and endangered roses on Sunday, October 28, consists of a silent auction from 10 a.m. until noon and a live auction of the rarest cultivars from 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Veteran horticulturist John Bagnasco, who is co-host and president of the nationally syndicated “Garden America Radio Show,” will conduct the auction.  The rose auction is a fundraiser that enables the Carlsbad-based California Coastal Rose Society to save the genetics of rare and endangered rose cultivars.  The roses in the auction are described on the CCRS  “Save the Roses” website:

 The ARS National Convention & Rose Show is hosted and organized by the San Diego Rose Society, Southern California’s oldest and largest rose society, established in 1927.  Title sponsors include Bayer Advanced Lawn and Garden Products and Heirloom Roses of St. Paul, Oregon.

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