2018 Diary of Activities in 
the Rose Garden of
Kitty and Bob Belendez
Santa Clarita, California 

By Kitty Belendez
Master Rosarian

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January 21, 2018   We are finally in the home stretch of pruning our 300 rose bushes. We’ve had great weather all month, with only one day of rain to damper our enthusiasm, so we have gotten a lot accomplished. As of today we still have about 65 roses remaining to prune, but most of those are the smaller miniatures and miniflora roses in 7, 10, or 20 gallon containers. This morning is around 42 degrees, but by 1:00 it finally “warmed” up to 55 degrees so that Bob could feel comfortable enough to go outside and whack away at more roses. Just a little thinning out and fine-tuning to do over the next few days, then I get the sprayer out of the garage to apply a dormant horticulural oil to all the rose bushes.

January 14, 2018   We had a very huge and successful Rose Care Seminar at the Senior Center today. 65 persons were in attendance and they enjoyed watching Bob trim rose bushes with a battery-powered hedge trimmer. Of course, they all stared in disbelief at how he could be so cruel to roses. So I explained that we had been doing this method for years and our roses survive despite our “brutality.” Lots of roses and other rose goodies were on our raffle table.

January 13, 2018  Yesterday we had our annual gig at Green Thumb Nursery in Newhall. The weather could not have been more perfect. It was nice and sunny and lots of people stopped by to talk roses. In fact, a crowd was waiting for us when we arrived at 10 am. Bob demonstrated trimming roses, while our other Consulting Rosarians and assistants helped customers to select packaged bareroot roses. The folks at Green Thumb were gracious hosts and had an hourly drawing where customers could win roses, or fertilizer, or other garden items just by writing their name on the visitor’s list. All of our members got their annual 10% discount cards as well. Thanks to manager Bryan Payne for his kind generosity and to all his staff that helped out. We also want to thank the generosity of Kelloggs for donating bags of Gardner and Bloome fertilizer when customers bought a rose bush that day.

January 12, 2018   We finally began pruning some of the tall hybrid tea roses in the front yard. Of course, Bob is using his battery-powered hedge trimmer which makes the job a lot faster and easier. We are cutting a bit lower than last year because they grew too tall this year so the winds whipped the tall canes to shreds. Then I follow behind him and rake up the debris, and put it in the large green waste barrels, whick by the way we borrowed some barrels from our friendly neighbors. Four 80-gallon green waste barrels last week. Then I trim off the frayed edges of the canes. We also trimmed some of the potted miniflora roses that are located along the driveway. I was horrified to find more scale insect on some of my roses in the front yard, so I sent a sample cane to Baldo Villegas so he can look at it up close. I’m guessing a combination of San Jose Scale and perhaps something else along with it.

January 9, 2018    We are off to a great start to the new year. Although we already had two days of rain and some high winds last week, our weather is sunny this week so we jumped at the chance to get some pruning done a little earlier than usual this year. We finished almost all of the floribundas in the parkway (except the single-petaled roses such as Puanani and Playgirl, which we will save until last. We got all of the polyanthas trimmed, finished most of the shrubs except several huge shrubs such as Golden Celebration and Abraham Darby. I always enjoy pruning some of the tall antique roses such as Yolande d’Aragin, Baronne Prevost, and Anna de Diesbach because I can prune them standing up without bending over which hurts my back. I’m hoping we can finish pruning by the 20th so that I can apply the 1st dormant oil spray before the roses begin producing foliage.

January 2, 2018   Happy New Year Everybody!!! So far winter has not yet arrived here in Santa Clarita. Most days in December have been in the 70's and some days even into the 80's. Nights have often been dipping down into the 50's and 40's. Nothing in the 30's yet. Our roses don't know what to do. They are wanting to go to sleep and lose their foliage, and much of it has yellowed, but are hanging onto the bushes. The weather has been so very nice that we are tempted to get outside and begin pruning. But for us rose exhibitors, who are targeting an end of April rose show at the Arboretum, pruning now would further encourage an early spring blooming period. We don't want a garden full of blooms on April Fool's Day. Meanwhile we have found a few things to do in the garden. First, I potted a bunch of cuttings to begin rooting. I did 15 different rose varieties, 6 of each. They should be ready to given away on our raffle table around June. Then Bob removed two sickly tree roses and threw them in the trash. We already have two replacement tree roses that we bought at Otto & Sons last April. Neil Diamond and Sparkle & Shine. They have been patiently waiting for their space in the ground. He planted them today. Now we sit and wait, and will probably have to begin pruning just about the time the weather gets cold or windy or rainy.

 Photos © Copyright by Kitty Belendez

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