stunning: If you have never attended a flower competition, it is a remarkable experience, writes Ron Vanderhoff. The devotion, patience and effort put forth by the entrants is commendable, who work all year to produce perfect flowers or plants. (Daily Pilot / October 22, 2010)

If you've been huddling up inside the house and avoiding the raindrops and puddles, the coming days offer a chance to get outside for some fresh air. Three exciting once-a-year events are on tap. Flowers, homes and gardens are the theme.

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American Rose Society Show

The Orange County Rose Society, and affiliate of The American Rose Society, is hosting their annual rose show Saturday and Sunday at Roger's Gardens, 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road., Corona del Mar. This year's theme is "Bounty of Roses." Entrants from throughout Southern California have worked all year to prepare for this rose competition and show, the only one in Orange County.

Contestants arrive at Roger's Gardens in the darkness, as early as 5 a.m., with potential rose blossoms for the competition. With portable lights, headlamps, folding tables and lots of coffee they will work with camel hair brushes, Q-tips and incredible patience for the next few hours to ready their blossoms for the judging. The accredited rose judges, from throughout California, then spend two hours mulling over the hundreds of blooms entered into 52 separate competitions, eventually placing their ribbons upon the winning blooms.

Admission is free. On Saturday, the gardens open to the public at 9 a.m., and the show will open at 1:30 p.m. On Sunday, the gardens and show will open at 9 a.m.

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Corona del Mar Home and Garden Tour

 

On Tuesday, for the 37th year, the Corona del Mar Home Tour will offer rare glimpses into seven beautiful homes and gardens.

The homes included in this year's tour include a Bayside Place home that reflects the owner's vision and need for hypoallergenic and green materials, as well as homes in the Flower Streets, Shore Cliffs, Spyglass, One Ford Road, Harbor View and Pelican Ridge neighborhoods. The tour begins with a light breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Cafe Beau Soleil in Fashion Island. After touring homes, a lunch catered by Pascal's will be served at Sherman Library & Gardens. Following the afternoon tour, a reception with refreshments will be held at Bliss Home and Design in Corona del Mar. Tickets, which are partially tax-deductible, are $65, including the tour and all meals.

If you wish to attend in style, limousines are also available for $40 per person. Tickets can be purchased at various local merchants. For more information, call the tour hotline at (949) 721-8220, or visit http://www.cdmhometour.com.

Home Tour proceeds fund many of the special programs and services available to the students of Corona del Mar High School, including arts and special academic programs.

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National Chrysanthemum Society Show

During the weekend of Oct. 30-31, be sure to visit the Sherman Library and Gardens, 2647 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar. The Orange County Chrysanthemum Society will be bringing its 67th annual National Chrysanthemum Society Convention and Show to Orange County, and the Sherman Library and Gardens will be the venue. Hundreds of mums will be on display, including single stems, container-grown, baskets, bonsai style, cascades and trees. The competition entries will be judged by nationally-accredited judges on Saturday morning, with the show opening to the public by 1 p.m. Single-stem and container-grown mums will be also be available for sale.

If you have never attended a flower competition, it is a remarkable experience. The devotion, patience and effort put forth by the entrants should be commended. Chrysanthemum devotees work all year to produce perfect flowers or plants worthy of a blue ribbon; with no imperfections and timed to reach their floral peak at the exact moment of this show. The pinching, the primping, the posturing and the dedication to chrysanthemum perfection is extraordinary; comparable to that of a national dog show and other similar competitions.

You will see chrysanthemums like you've never imagined. Enormous, spidery flowers that look like sea urchins, intricately trained trailing plants cascading three or four feet, patio trees that don't seem possible and perfect, huge ball-shaped flowers as big as a grapefruit.

Admission on Oct. 30 is $3. The library grounds open at 10:30 a.m., and the show will go from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. On Oct. 31, the show and grounds will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

RON VANDERHOFF is the nursery manager at Roger's Gardens, Corona del Mar

Ask Ron

Question: I have a 30-year-old white sapote tree. Why didn't I get any mature fruit on it this year? Lack of pollinators, cold summer?

Barbara

Newport Beach

Answer: White sapotes are subtropical trees, growing in much the same areas as citrus, with tasty fruit about the size of a small apple. As long as the tree remains healthy, with no other issues I wouldn't worry too much. This year's unusually cool summer contributed to a lot of strange fruiting issues on a number of different trees. Like some other fruits, sapotes can also tend toward alternate year fruiting. I suspect your tree will produce another heavy crop next year.

ASK RON your toughest gardening questions, and the expert nursery staff at Roger's Gardens will come up with an answer. Please include your name, phone number and city, and limit queries to 30 words or fewer. E-mail stumpthegardener@rogersgardens.com, or write to Plant Talk at Roger's Gardens, 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road, Corona del Mar, CA 92625.