2016 Diary of Activities in
the Rose Garden of
Kitty and Bob Belendez
Santa Clarita, California
"We each have our addictions. With some it's drugs, alcohol, gambling, or smoking. With others it's sports, religion, power, politics, money, sex, hate, cheating, lying, food, or anything else that consumes and controls us. With me it's roses in every facet I can imagine: Growing, showing, reading, producing, writing, photography, graphics, propagation, and technology. It's the roses that keep me away from the other stuff." -- Kitty Belendez, May 9, 2014
May 3, 2016 Here we are in May already. We are still exhausted from the marathon PSWD Convention last week. Then on May 1 we hosted an Open Garden at our place. It was a nice turnout, and we got some new members too. The weather was perfect. I only wish that we had more blooms to offer, but people seemed to enjoy it anyway. Our garden was clean, green, and without a pest in sight. The last time we fertilized or sprayed our garden was 3 weeks ago and still it looks pretty good. I guess we couldn't ask for more. Still, it was a long day and so we are still recuperating. Trying to sleep in late (if 8:00 am is considered late). This coming weekend we have a busload of rosarians coming from San Diego to visit our garden. Maybe I should go to Dollar Tree and buy a bunch of plastic roses to strap onto my bloomless rose bushes. LOL!
April 29, 2016 This week is spent on rest and relaxation, recuperating from last weekend’s district convention & rose show. Bob did some budding of a few roses, and repotted a few. We watered all the pots real well. We will need to do some deadheading of spent blooms so that the roses will rebloom next month. Everything looks pretty good in the garden, but we will need to keep a close eye for any unusual circumstances.
April 23, 2016 The past seven days we have been concentrating all of our efforts on getting ready for the district rose show and convention being held in Arcadia. We cut rose stems almost every day of the week and put them in our floral fridge. We ended up with 14 floral buckets full of rose stems. They were mostly floribundas, but four of the buckets held hybrid tea stems. My quick calculation says we had about 200 rose stems, about 60 were hybrid tea roses. We had a small handful of shrubs, polyanthas and miniatures, but our focus was on the challenge classes, so hybrid teas and floribundas took most of our efforts. We ended up winning 10 of the 12 challenge classes we entered, plus the City of Portland National Challenge Trophy. Not too shabby for several hundred hours of work over the past several months. :-)
April 15, 2016 What's next? Well today it's big winds thrashing the rose bushes pretty darned hard. I am not going to worry about it, because it is out of my control, and what will be, will be. We checked the tree roses to make sure they are not tilting. They seem to be okay. Winds can dessicate roses, so we will need to at least add some water to some of the containerized bushes. It's amazing how fast they can dry out in constant winds, even lighter breezes can do this.
April 13, 2016 Last Monday's rain, followed by the warm weather this week have caused many of our rose blooms to get measles. It's actually called "botrytis" disease. The light or white blooms get red dots on the blooms when eventually cause the blooms to turn brown and rot. So today we spent some time removing some of those blooms because we do not want to have botrytis blight spread throughout our garden. We filled up a 55-gallon green waste barrel. I sprayed Compass fungicide today, but it's best to remove the disease blooms to prevent spreading.
April 11, 2016 Late this afternoon we had a massive downpour. The sky was so very dark that it caused our satellite dish to lose reception. We really do need this rain, but it's too bad that our city is unable to catch all that water into some kind of holding tank. Behind our house is a normally dry riverbed, but when it rains, the water just flows out to the ocean. Supposedly, some of the water filters down into the underground aquifers that help our water purveyors provide us with water. I sure hope so.
April 10, 2016 Today is Rose Society Meeting Day. We headed off this morning for an early morning breakfast at our favorite cafe. When we returned, I took the opportunity to deadhead off a few spent rose blooms, disbud, and take some cuttings. Meanwhile, Bob budded a very fragrant rose that a friend had given us. We would like to do some more budding today, but being so busy it will have to wait until tomorrow. This cool weather is perfect weather for taking rose cuttings and trying to root them. I made a lovely bouquet of very fragrant shrub roses and antique roses to put on the raffle table at the meeting today. Francis Dubreuil, Yolande d'Aragon, The Squire, The Dark Lady, Munstead Wood, and William Shakespeare 2000. I hope I win it. LOL!
April 9, 2016 It rained most of the day. Decided not to go to the rose show as we don't want to risk getting a cold. Yes, we have a tarp to work our roses at the show, but our health is more important than 5 minutes of glory. And driving in the dark on slick freeways are not my cup of tea. Could not spray either. So I took the opportunity to concentrate on writing a very long article on the Henrickson Garden that we visited earlier in the week. It's nearly 3,000 words with many photos that I shot in two sessions. This article will be featured in the May issue of Rose Ecstasy.
April 7, 2016 I had intended to spray the roses early this morning but it was raining when I woke up at 6:30 am. Back to bed for a couple more hours. Then it drizzled all day. We also wanted to attend the Pacific Rose Society meeting, but being 45 miles away in heavy traffic, the wet roads were a deal breaker. The roses are loving this rain, but so is the mildew that's creeping in.
April 6, 2014 Today was a busy day doing errands and doctor appointments. Just as well because it turned out to be a very hot 94 degrees today. This is so weird and erratic. Raining one day, blistering 94 the next. The roses demanded that we water the pots as they were hot and thirsty. Had to do it after dark, but we gotta do what we gotta do to keep our roses happy and healthy. As I always say, roses are NOT drought tolerant.
April 5, 2016 We took the opportunity of a dry day to feed the roses with the sump pump in the 55-gallon barrel. It went quickly as it only took two hours from start to finish, including clean-up. It's been 10 days since we last fed the roses so they must be hungry. They are looking healthy and happy though. Now that I'm retired, I can walk my garden at my leisure and enjoy smelling the fragrance. When I was still working, I could only do that on weekends, but I was always busy doing other chores, like grocery shopping and laundry. It's now a treat to walk my garden and enjoy the roses any time I want.
April 3, 2016 We went to visit the Garden of our member Steve Henrickson in Castaic. Yesterday he had emailed a plea for help as he has many questions. It turned out to be a much bigger garden than I had envisioned, nearly an acre and hundreds of beautiful roses in full bloom. What a special treat! We had worried that it might rain before we got there, but it turned out to be a beautiful day. It was a pleasant way to spend the morning.
March 31, 2016 We had a massive downpour two days ago. We've also had some wind this week. The rain made the roses very happy as the soil is flushed out and the rose growth appears to be spectacular. Today I got up at 6:30 am and sprayed for mildew and insects. Did see some mildew here and there, mostly likely caused because the last two times I sprayed it was either wet in the morning before I sprayed, or it rained that afternoon. The mildewed roses are susceptible and also they have a bit more shade than the others. Francis Dubreuil always has a problem with mildew. It was very cold this morning, only 40 degrees, but the sun was up so I did this necessary job. The roses appear to be on target, although some of the potted roses are blooming too early. George Burns and Outragious floribundas are in full bloom, probably because they are in containers on the cement pool deck that gets full sun all day long. Some of the miniatures are also coming into bloom.
March 26, 2016 Great weather today although breezy. We took a lovely 30-minute walk around the neighborhood this morning. Meanwhile we are boiling eggs and potatoes for making potato salad for our family swimming and BBQ tomorrow at our house. So far, it looks like the roses are on target. Just a few blooms popping open here and there, which is what we had hoped for. I'm making bouquets for daughter Tina and granddaughter Puanani. One will get a vase of 'Pinnacle' and the other will get a vase of various minis and minifloras, such as the new yellow 'Gift of Love' surrounded by Dancing Flame and other miniatures. A few other roses beginning to bloom are mostly antique roses such as Francis Dubreuil, Mrs RG Sharman-Crawford, and Anna de Diesbach--all fragrant!
March 18, 2016 We are disbudding the rose blooms every day now as the roses are growing very fast. It's amazing how fast those little side buds push out. We can disbud in the morning, then we find more in the late afternoon. This morning we discovered the arrival of chilli thrips in our garden, even though I sprayed Merit (imidacloprid) two weeks ago, and Conserve (spinosad) a week ago. I plan to spray Merit again tomorrow morning. We also notice a touch of mildew in several shady areas, and yes even though we sprayed Compass twice during the past two weeks. However, it rained twice after I sprayed, so that explains it. So, Banner Maxx will be added to Merit tomorrow. We are also weeding almost every day. Just little seedlings that we get with my mini hula hoe before they get out of control. Ticks me off when I see the neighbors' dandelion seeds floating through the air into our yard. Even though I applied Preen weed pre-emergent a month ago, we need to stay on top of it.
March 16, 2016 We are seriously into the weekly feeding and spraying regimen. The effort we put in now will pay off for the mid-April through mid-May spring bloom. This week the weather is warmer so we need to water a little more often. Especially since we reseeded our lawn, which we have not done in years. We also fertilized the lawn, which we also do not usually do, as the roses get our most attention. But in anticipation of our May 1 Garden Tour, we are paying attention to other features in our garden, not just the roses. Bob repainted the birdbath, and fixed a brick pathway. We've done some repotting this week of the Fortuniana rootstock because they were in tiny 3-inch pots and were very rootbound so had to be moved up to one-gallon pots, where they were stay the rest of the year.
March 12, 2016 We had a really great, much-needed rainfall yesterday. Everything was watered very well and there was even water flowing down the river bed behind our yard. Of course, within just a few hours it was all gone. The rose bushes were still very wet this morning at 6:30 am. It was also very frosty outside as well, but it was time to spray the roses again. I already sprayed them on March 4 but it rained the very next day. The spray dried before it rained so since the products I use are systemic, the protection was already in the plant before it rained. Today I sprayed Compass again for mildew, and Conserve for insects. The foliage is leafing out nicely and we already see some green buds forming. They will be in bloom before long. Looks like we need to disbud the side growth already so we hope to find some time tomorrow to make the rounds. Oh, it's daylight savings time, so we must remember to set the clocks forward tonight.
March 10, 2016 And so begins our feeding regimen. We dug out the 55-gallon barrel from the garage and filled it up four times to feed all of our roses. I gave them all kinds of goodies like fish emulsion, liquid kelp, iron, and Magnum Rose. This will help to keep the foliage nice and green and also produce loads of colorful blooms. As we were fertilizing, we notice some dandelion blooms in the lawn so Bob made quick work of them. We will need to keep an eye on the dandelions as we don't want them to take over our lawn that is greening up nicely.
March 8, 2016 We had a couple rain days. In between that we got a new waterfall pump installed in our backyard. The old one was 25 years old, so it was about time. Now our swimming pool, spa, and waterfall are completely refurbished since we also got a new heater, main pump, filter, and replastering done last year. Bob installed a new sprinkler extension in the parkway that wasn't quite reaching every rose. He painted our little iron bird bath with a fresh coat of black gloss. Looks very nice.
March 4, 2016 I didn't want to spray the roses yet, but I'm already seeing some mildew in several shady spots. I also want to make sure the chilli thrips are kept under control since it has been so very and sunny here the past week. So I got up early this morning at 6:30 am and sprayed my roses with my battery-powered Spray Boss machine. I used Compass for mildew, and Merit for aphids and chilli thrips. Indicate-5 spreader sticker is always added to solution to help the spray material work better.
February 29, 2016 Leap year! This day will not come around again for another four years. Yesterday and today we planted a bunch of petunias around the front yard. Twelve 6-packs to be exact. I selected the colors Ultra Violet (hot pink actually), Ultra Sky Blue, and Purple Star (purple and white). I need to get some more to finish off the front yard. I might plant some in the backyard too, but only a few. We only plant petunias once every few years when we have a garden tour like we are this year in May. They make bright, splashy companion plants with roses. Bob doesn't like petunias because he claims they attract snails and green bud worms. And the plants tend to get overgrown by the end of the year. He is somewhat correct. But I simply let them go and they fill out nicely, and bloom all year long. Some petunias do overwinter, and if trimmed early February the following year they sometimes bloom again. When we planted them each hole got a pinch of fish meal and kelp meal, then were surrounded with Kelloggs Gromulch. When all planted, I watered them in well, and will water them every day for week until their roots get established. By May 1 they will look incredibly delicious!
February 25, 2018 And so we sit and wait for the roses to bloom. The foliage is healthy and gorgeous ranging from dark red to various shades of green. Have not seen any bugs or mildew yet, but I'm keeping a close eye on the garden. I am enjoying the purple and bronze pansies I planted in colorful lavender, pink, and turquoise plastic pots as they brighten up the garden. I also have a half dozen small succulents that are beginning to bloom right now. The painted clay pots they are in are very colorful too. They look nice on my tiled patio counter. Bob made a custom mini hula hoe on a 4-foot handle. I asked for this so I could get small weed seedlings in between rose bushes so I don't have to bend down. A regular hula hoe simply cannot get inside a rose bush without damaging canes. Bob is so very creative and can make nearly anything. His project this week is refurbishing the English boxes for the Pacific Rose Society. He is redoing 11 large English boxes and 23 miniature English Boxes. He is installing new legs on them, sanding them, and repainting them. The boxes will look like brand new when Bob is finished. As for the lawn reseeding, I run the lawn sprinklers just one minute every day to help the lawn seed to sprout. Yes, we are still conserving water, our bill was only $26 this month. But we still need some measurable rain.
February 18, 2016 It ended up raining continuously nearly all night long. Not a torrential downpour, but it was steady enough to water everything very deeply. This morning the weather was sunny and beautiful so we took the opportunity to get some things done in the garden. Bob shoveled Kellogg Gromulch onto all of the roses, both the in-ground bushes and the potted roses too. Meanwhile, I followed behind him and sprinkled on some Preen weed preventive. It felt good to get it all done as the bushes are beginning to leaf out. Bob did some more repotting too, so I think we are done with that. This afternoon we went to Home Depot and bought a new 75-foot hose for my section in the back yard. It was still under warranty so we got the new one free. We always save our receipts so that saved us some money. We also bought some lawn seed to reseed our lawn, which I applied and watered in as soon as we got home. I think we are just about caught up with everything so all we have to do for the next several weeks is watch them grow. Liquid fertilizing with organics will begin mid-March. Spraying about the same time. Oh yeah, and we also snatched up a 1-gallon potted Husky Cherry Tomato plant and Bob planted it as soon as we got home. This is the first time that we've seen those tomatoes at Home Depot so early, usually it's not until March or April, so we will have a headstart. Maybe we will have fresh tomatoes before summer.
February 17, 2016 Today it started to drizzle a little bit. Rain was predicted, so far just some drizzles, but enough to water the entire garden. I have shut off the sprinklers as we have the system set to water on Mondays and Thursdays. No need to water when it's raining. I took inventory of my cuttings today, and I have about 82 remaining in 3-inch pots. These are for the rose society raffle table, and should be enough to get us through the year. Meanwhile, last month I had set out two trays of new cuttings (over 100), which will take months to root well before they will eventually be placed on the raffle table as well.
February 15, 2016 Bob applied a handful each of alfalfa pellets and epsom salts around each rose bush. Then I watered it all in. We used the hula hoe to get a few stray weeds, but our garden looks very clean at this time. To add a little color to the garden, I bought four 6-packs of pansies, some blue & yellow, and some bronze & yellow, which are my favorite wintertime flower. I planted some in colorful pots, and others around some young roses in the front yard. I know that the pansies won't last long as they usually die on their own as soon as it warms up. But I'm glad to add a little color to the garden.
February 10, 2016 I woke up at 7:00 am to take advantage of perfect weather to spray my roses with dormant horticultural oil. No wind, no intense heat or cold, no rain. Great weather for working in the garden. My best friend "Boss" handled the job in 1-1/2 hours with no hassles. I used a quart (32 ounces) of Bonide horticultural oil in 14 gallons of water. The trick is to keep the mixture constantly blended. The horticultural oil should control any unwanted pests, either bugs or diseases that were overwintering. Now I simply keep them all watered, and the foliage should soon begin to leaf out. In about a month I will probably need to spray a fungicide for mildew, and insecticide for aphids. Dry organic materials will be applied soon.
February 7, 2016 Today we held our Private Reserve Sale of Roses Budded on Fortuniana Rootstock. The invitation was emailed to Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society members only. There were 40 potted roses and they sold out within 24 hours. We are very happy to open up this space in our garden. No, not for more roses. But more breathing room, less roses to care for, less work, which will give us more time to do other things. We no longer will hold an annual auction as it was too labor intensive for Bob and me.
January 31, 2016 It rained like crazy all day today. It was perfect timing so we could take a break from pruning. Yesterday we finished up the shrubs, climbers, and old garden roses. So we are now about half finished. We still need to prune the miniatures, minifloras, the single-petaled floribundas, and a dozen large hybrid tea roses in the back yard. Bob adores his new Ryobi hedge shears! Pruning goes very quickly with them. I mostly thin out the bushes, help to clean up the debris and put it into the green waste barrels.
January 25, 2016 Today was Day 3 of rose pruning. Day 1 was a week ago when Bob trimmed 15 potted polyanthas. Three days ago we started on the floribundas in the front yard, and got them all done (34 bushes) except the single-petalled varieties, which we do at the very last because they bloom earlier than the others. Yesterday we started on the hybrid teas in the front yard, and today Bob pruned more HTs while I was working on another project indoors on my computer. As of today's count, it appears that we are 1/3 done with pruning. Still a long way to go on another 200 bushes. I want us to work at a slow steady pace so we don't get exhausted or injure ourselves. There is no hurry.
January 20, 2016 Last week we called Waste Management and ordered two more 96-gallon green waste barrels on wheels. Every time we call them, a different person answers the phone and gives us a different story. First they said that we could get two more free barrels in addition to the one we already have and keep year round. They said we could get a 2nd one for free, but would have to get approval from management to get a 3rd one. A few days later they said they would be delivering the two extra barrels yesterday. They did not arrive yesterday, but finally one was delivered today. The delivery guy said they don't have enough barrels to give us a 3rd. So I called their office and asked why? They said that we would have to pay for a 3rd barrel, which we agreed to do. But then they said we would have to keep it three months before returning. This is bizarre. Why would they force us to keep the barrels 3 months if they don't have enough to go around. We only need the extra barrels for about one month until we finish pruning our 300 roses. So we are not taking a 3rd barrel because we have no place to store them. Hopefully our nice neighbor will let us use his barrel again after he prunes his own dozen rose bushes.
January 18, 2016 Bob started a little bit of pruning today. He used his battery-powered hedge shears to quickly trim 15 polyanthas in 10-gallon pots. The trimming only took several minutes total. Then another several minutes to rake up the debris. However, it took about another hour and a half to thin out all the plants and snip off all the dead, twiggy growth down inside the bushes. This is the first year that we trimmed the polyantha roses first. Usually they are the last to be pruned. We are both (especially Bob) chomping at the bit to get going on the mass pruning. But we really need to hold off another week to make sure the roses hit our spring peak blooming target for the April 23 rose show. Then we have committed to having our garden open on May 1. Also, another tentative open garden on May 7.
January 16, 2016 Our Rosarian Team enjoyed a beautiful day at our Green Thumb Nursery gig today. It was a lovely sun filled day, with perfectly gorgeous weather.There was a good turnout and we gained several new members. The nursery had the huskiest potted roses that I've seen in a long time. In particular I noticed some great plants of the very fragrant hybrid tea called 'Secret'. People better snatch those up quick. They also had St Patrick and lots of other neat roses. The weather remained very nice into early evening so we took advantage of our good luck and soaked in the spa for awhile after dinner. What a welcome treat to finish off a great day.
January 11, 2016 Yesterday we had our Annual Rose Care Seminar at the Senior Center. Bob demonstrated his new toy for pruning our rose bushes. It's a battery-powered hedge trimmer. He used it last year for the first time on our roses and it worked great. We had seen it being used in a public garden and decided to give it a try. It is so very fast. We love it! We are looking forward to using this tool again this year in our garden but plan to wait about two more weeks before we start.
January 9, 2016 Well, I wish that I had something interesting to say, but the truth is that there is absolutely nothing going in my garden right now. It is too wet and cold out there to do anything serious. Anyway, we don't plan to begin pruning until the end of January. We have pulled off a bunch of mushy blooms to avoid having botrytis fungus blowing around the garden. That's the most exciting thing we've done out there in about a month since Bob planted and repotted some roses. It's looking so very boring and desolate in our garden right now. There is not even a pretty bloom to shoot with the camera. So my time is better spent on the newsletter and website. Oh, we did go see Star Wars a couple days ago. It was nice to get away outside the house for a few hours. Tomorrow we have our rose care seminar that's open to the public at the Senior Center in Newhall. We always enjoy doing that every January.
January 1, 2016 Welcome to a new year. Wishing everyone great health, happiness, and success in all you do! Bob and I won't be doing much today as it's too cold outside to work in our garden. So we are taking it easy. He is enjoying watching the Rose Parade (he's not interested in football), meanwhile I am playing around on the computer. I am upgrading my websites and that is a long, slow process that could take months. Every page needs to be adjusted one by one and I have over 200 pages on this one web site alone. Another web site has 80 pages. All are getting a facelift with updated graphics, photos, and information. January is pretty much the only time that I have a big window of time to work on my two websites, so I'm taking advantage of it now. I intended to do it last year, but our web host Intuit/Homestead had some severe technical difficulties for several weeks so I was unable to make the upgrades then.
Photos © Copyright by Kitty Belendez
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