FELLOWS RIVERSIDE GARDENS A rose is a rose is a rose ...

The festival will include demonstrations, a photo exhibit and a rose show.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The rose that Keith Kaiser recently held between his fingers at Fellows Riverside Gardens appeared to be fading away. The bright pink that had once adorned its petals had turned into a dull white, and it was drooping into the shade of the other roses nearby.
Yet Kaiser said that after the rose dies, another bright pink rose most likely will bloom in its place, thanks to a process called "deadheading." The process involves cutting a rose off at the stem just before the flower dies.
Kaiser is the assistant horticulture director at the Gardens.
Deadheading will be one of the topics discussed during Riverside Gardens' first rose festival. The festival, which will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, is sponsored by Friends of Riverside Gardens.
Activities: The festival will include demonstrations of the proper methods used to care for roses, an exhibit of rose photographs and a lecture by nationally known photographer Rich Baer, and a judged rose show. The show is open to anyone with a homegrown rose.
"As long as it's got petals and it's a rose, bring it in," Kaiser said.
Kaiser said he and his staff have wanted to hold a rose festival for several years. However, they decided to wait until after the new D.D. and Velma Davis Education and Visitor Center was constructed in the Gardens.
The $6 million visitors center opened in December. The construction of the center was paid for with private donations.
Marilyn Sheridan, the president of Friends of Fellows Riverside Gardens, added the festival will give some local residents their first look at the center.
"There's still many people who haven't seen it," Sheridan said.
History of roses: Kaiser noted that roses have long been an important part of the Gardens. In fact, he said that when Elizabeth Fellows provided for the creation of the Gardens in her will in 1958, she specifically stated that the Gardens include roses.
More than 30 varieties of roses currently are growing in the Gardens.
"The public really started calling us a rose garden," Kaiser said. "We've always been strong with roses."
Kaiser added that he hopes people who attend the festival will learn more about the roses they are growing in their garden. He also said that he hopes the show will encourage others to grow roses.
"If neither of the above applies, then just enjoy the flowers," he said.
There is no charge to attend the festival or enter the judged show. The Gardens are on McKinley Avenue in Mill Creek Park.

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