2016 Diary of Activities in 
the Rose Garden of
Kitty and Bob Belendez
Santa Clarita, California 

By Kitty Belendez
Master Rosarian

"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

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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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Bob Demonstrating His New Rose Pruning Tool