It Just Happened by Julie Ashman

Julie Ashman
Richmond Rose Society

It just happened that a friend of a friend was invited to go to the Richmond Rose Show at the Kroger Center in Chesterfield, Virginia. Well, this friend lived in the neighboring town of Amelia. That friend didn’t want to go alone, so she invited me to ride along that Saturday. This friend, Brenda, had never been to a rose show, and she couldn’t tell me a thing about a rose show.

It just happened that Brenda and I became overwhelmed with curiosity at the rose show on that day with excitement.  We entered a room filled with tables after tables of amazing roses that appeared perfect in our eyes in every sense of the way. We spent a few hours inspecting colors, sizes, scents, names, and creative designs. Then Oh My Goodness! We both stopped dead in our tracks. A lady looking so gracious, yet very cultured in the mist of her fellow rosarians stole our attention with a beautiful wide-brimmed yellow hat studded with jewels and a flower. Brenda jokingly said, “I want that hat! We’re going to their next meeting!”

So, it just happened that we joined at the next meeting and the lovely lady, Mrs. Powell, who had worn the yellow hat was there. She and all the members were so encouraging. So, I listened, read, planted, and won the Novice Class that year. Now, I was hooked! I ordered more roses and even designed a garden to fit my country cottage theme. Pretty soon, I was speaking at garden clubs, a local community college, and then I began the chore of organizing “Garden Days” with the Richmond Rose Society for the month of May on the weekends as a public service to assist and educate future rose gardeners. Once a year, I would volunteer with other rosarians in the Richmond Rose Society who would appear on our local news station for call in rose advice. Could I do more to advocate the rose? Why yes!  Lots more, so I wrote articles for the society’s newsletter, Rose Petals. I began to co-chair the Richmond Rose Show at Lewis Ginter. Last, but not least, I started the Richmond Rose Society Facebook Page in 2010.  In 2017, I went to the National Rose Show in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania which I thought was a pennacle as an exhibitor. Still no matter where I go, I always think of Mrs. Powell and her hat in the back of my mind. Some of the sweetest, most dedicated ladies and gentlemen who share the love of roses still amaze me. My attraction to their genuine enthusiasm and desire to always learn more is a constant motivation for me to promote the rose and encourage others to do the same.

Sometimes, things just happen in life! It just happened that at this year’s Richmond Rose Society’s annual brunch that I was awarded the American Rose Society Bronze Medal. I felt my eyes well up a little with water as I accepted this award all the while I was thinking my dedication to roses during the past seventeen years. I am filled with so much joy to have achieved this in my life as a rosarian.  And it just happened in the back of my mind, I again saw the lovely lady in the yellow hat, encouraging me as so many other rosarians have done.

Last, but not least, all rosarians are special; but it just happens that together we are all spectacular in the American Rose Society.

– – – – – – –

Editor’s note: If you are not a member of the American Rose Society,  join today. Details here. And, find a local society near you. We can’t wait to meet you.