Grooming Roses: Making the Best Better!

-by John & Donna Hefner

When we were growing up in our Indiana rural community, Donna and I were fortunate to be 10-year 4-H members. Our individual experience was valuable for many reasons, however, the 4-H motto of “Make the Best Better” made a lasting impression on many areas of our lives. To this day, we remain committed to this motto.

When grooming roses for competition, one may not be able to make a “silk purse” from a “sow’s ear,” but striving to make a specimen better should be the mindset of the exhibitor. To be successful in grooming roses, one must first remove the fear of failure. The best way to overcome that fear is to practice grooming in your garden and home. Improving your grooming experience and “tweaking” your talent is invaluable due to each variety’s characteristics such as petal shape and exhibition form. Remember that practice brings confidence and eventually success. A successful exhibitor must become proficient in learning about the varieties they grow (or should grow) and the growing/opening characteristics for each variety you plan to exhibit.


John is one of the leading “winners” in the world of rose shows. You can read more about John’s accomplishments here.

He and his beautiful bride are a dynamic duo – fully devoted to each other, and are the real life definition of the word teamwork!