2013 Diary of Activities in
the Rose Garden of
Kitty and Bob Belendez
Santa Clarita, California
11-26-13 The year is winding down so there isn't a whole lot to do around here. We planted a rose here, dug up a rose there, and repotted a couple. We trimmed a few of the very tall bushes to prevent them from whipping around in the wind. We will top a bunch more this coming weekend. This is not actual pruning, just topping to keep the volume of foliage down to a manageable amount. The parties are beginning. Something going on every week from now until New Year's. At work we have the Ugly Sweater Party. What's up with that weird theme? LOL! On another note, I discovered that our iron garden gates are somewhat historically important, at least around these here parts, as they were designed and made by a famous local blacksmith nearly 50 years ago.
11-17-13 A gorgeous, sunny and 66 degrees today. Perfect for fooling about in our garden. Yesterday was a good day too, and Bob worked hard in removing the inferior but huge 12-year old Cajun Moon hybrid tea. But now we have a new spot for an up and coming new rose. Today we're in the mood for digging up more roses, some just to be moved to a better spot. Some containerized roses will be moved too. Some will be put on auction. Amazingly, our roses are still looking beautiful so late in the season. Here is a little 1-minute VIDEO I shot today of the back garden featuring shrub roses and miniflora roses.
11-16-13 A beautiful day for puttering around in our rose garden. Bob planted Silverado on Fortuniana, and switched out an old Gemini on Dr Huey for a new Gemini on Fortuniana. I took a few cuttings, and organized small potted cuttings. Checked on the budded roses that Bob has done over the past month. Lost 10 percent so far. Hopefully some will make it over winter.
11-13-13 We're finally recuperated from putting on the Santa Clarita Rose Show. Exhibiting is physically brutal as it is (at least the way we do it when we bring over 200 blooms and try to get them all entered). Considering we ain't no spring chickens either. Coupled with being Rose Show Director, it makes for one exhausting weekend. I have lots of blooms still in my garden that are even good enough to take to a rose show, but Arizona is simply too far away. It's just as well because we are beginning to use our spare time (it gets dark at 5:00 pm now) to dig up outgoing rose bushes and planting new ones in their place that have been waiting in the wings. I haven't made my "In & Out" list yet, but I just have mental notes at this point. Because my garden is maxed out, I cannot add a new rose unless another rose first goes out. Decisions!
11-12-13 We would like to share a little video featuring the November 2, 2013 Santa Clarita Rose Show that our friend and reporter Luke Money at The Signal newspaper has posted online. Sorry that you will need to view a commercial before our short Rose Show video begins:
11-6-13 Now that our rose show is over and put to bed, we can relax and just enjoy the roses without thinking about fertilizing or spraying them. Yep, we done good. 25 trophies including Best of Show with Three Sprays of Playgirl. The show was beautiful, but I do wish there were more exhibitors competing. I don't like to be a "Trophy Hog" but on the other hand I know that both Bob and I worked hard on getting our roses to the show in top condition. Complete rose show results are at this LINK. We have a rose society meeting this weekend, then after that we can concentrate on enjoying the holidays, and transitioning to another home improvement project. No roses for almost 3 months.
10-30-13 Our very own rose show of the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society is this coming weekend ... Saturday, November 2, 2013. We've been planning and working towards it all year. If you're in the neighborhood, this is the event you won't want to miss. Hundreds of prize-winning roses on display on Saturday, and on Sunday there will be a Rose Art & Photo show in addition to the Rose Show. It's being held at Hart Park, located at 24151 Newhall Avenue, Newhall, California 91321.
10-29-13 Bob & Kitty's rose show winners at Orange County Rose Society held at Roger's Gardens on October 26 in Corona Del Mar.
HT Court Hot Princess
HT Court Sister Jane
3 Hybrid Tea Blooms Hot Princess
English Box Black Magic
One Floribunda Bloom Fabulous!
Floribunda King Playgirl
Single-Petal Floribunda Spray Playgirl
Six Shrub Blooms The Squire
Miniflora Queen Show Stopper
Miniflora Princess Louisville Lady
Miniflora Court Dr John Dickman
Miniature Court Nancy Jean
Miniature Spray Marriotta
Victorian Award Mons Tillier
Most Fragrant OGR Eugene de Beauharnais
Miniflora Rose Bowl Whirlaway
Artist's Palette Black Magic, Gemini, Hot Princess, St Patrick, Sister Jane
10-22-13 We managed to liquid feed and spray all of our roses over the past weekend. The sprayer and 55-gallon feeding tank have been put away until early spring. We will bring out the sprayer once during January, after pruning, to apply dormant spray of horticultural oil. The weather has been beautiful all this week. 85 during the day, and 45 at night. A 40-degree yo-yo but it feels good. No winds. I hope this great weather holds up for another 2 weeks. I'm hoping to salvage some blooms for our November 2 rose show. I was trying to hold off having Bob bud any roses until next spring, but I just could not help myself. So I had him bud up a bunch of stuff onto Fortuniana rootstock. I lost count, but I think it was about 30 or so. They are being held in the mist box for a few weeks until the graft heals over, then will be taken out, repotted from 2-inch pots to 4 inch pots, and by December 1st will be stored in a protected location away from freezing and frosts until about mid-January. It is very risky to bud this time of year, but some are successful, so it's worth giving it a try. Especially when a friend gives me budwood of a rose that I don't already have.
10-17-13 As we head into the starting gate of the fall rose shows in Southern California, we are hoping that we can avoid any more Santa Ana winds until after the fall shows are over. A week ago we were already hit by a major windstorm that totally wrecked many of our tall hybrid teas in the front yard. Amazingly, a bank of a dozen HTs were magically spared. Most of the tall bushes, regardless of type, were slammed hard during the windstorm. Short, compact bushes such as miniatures, minifloras and floribundas were spared. Winds are one element that we cannot protect against as rose show exhibitors are not allowed to grow our roses in covered greenhouses. We think we will have enough blooms to be competitive for the two rose shows coming up. I plan to spray and feed one more time this weekend, and that will be all for the rest of the year until I dormant spray in January. As rose show director, our own Santa Clarita Rose Show is very labor intensive for me all year long, so I'm looking forward to its completion on November 2nd.
10-2-13 We ended up having to buy a new battery AND charger for our Spray Boss. Bottom line is that it is now working again. It is so frustrating when things don't work right. So I finished spraying the rest of the front yard, and then sprayed all of the back yard too. I just barely had enough mixture to spray everything. However ... while spraying I examined all of the rose bushes as I moved along, and I am now freaking out because I saw a lot of munching damage on the roses. I could not see any bugs, maybe they left after getting their fill. Or maybe the birds ate them. Oh I wish, but they are only chewing the top buds and top leaf sets, so it is probably some type of green bud worm. Probably grasshoppers too. There is a LOT of damage out there. NOTE TO SELF: Next year remember to apply some Bayer systemic granules to the ground around each bush about 10 days after fall deadheading.
10-1-13 This appears to be the year for fixing things. We're on a roll here. We spent the summer trying to get our Mist-a-Matic fixed (which BTW is working great now), and now our Spray Boss has gone on the fritz. So yesterday we got a new battery charger. All seemed to be well, as the Spray Boss charged up nicely, according to the lights on the charger. Well, this morning I attempted to spray the roses, and the machine only made it through the first 25% of the bushes, when it died. We don't know yet if the battery itself has gone dead, or maybe even the pump croaked. Bob has gotten himself another project to figure out. I'm sure glad that I have my own personal mechanic on staff. Meanwhile, I really do need to get those roses sprayed or else I'm in deep doodoo for the fall rose shows. Aargh!!!
9-30-13 Where did the summer go ... or even more important, where did the YEAR go? We are now heading into the fall rose growing season in Southern California. The days are still quite hot (upper '90's) but the nights plummet down to the '50's. The roses don't know quite what to do, but they are shooting up quickly. I expect the mildew to hit town within a few days, so I'm trying my best to get them sprayed with fungicide. Would have done it yesterday except the battery charger for my electric sprayer bit the dust. Also, there is some bad bug munching on the newly emerging rose buds. I need to get on top of this quickly and nip it in the ... bud. So I need to spray insecticide as well. Bob got a new trickle charger from Auto Zone, but seems the sprayer pump might be acting up. Our rose show is only 5 weeks away on November 2nd, and there is another show one week before that in Orange County. We plan to attend both, as I am the Rose Show Director for the Santa Clarita show. Almost all of the arrangements have been made, just a little publicity to finish.The rentals are ordered. The catered lunch is ordered. The trophies are procured, labeled and boxed. Now I just have to get my mindset in order. I'm sort of glad that there are so few rose shows anymore, because we only want to show at no more than 4 shows a year. Time to retire! Not only from our career jobs, but from the very labor intensive rose show exhibition circuit.
9-22-13 It's been a busy week. We've been working on planning, costing, and interviewing a myriad of contractors for several home improvement projects, and also finding a little time to do some work in the garden. Bob repotted a bunch of maiden roses from 1-gallon cans to 2-gallon cans. These will be offered on next year's rose society rose auction fund raiser. By the way, Bob Martin of Escondido, California, has agreed to once again serve as our auctioneer. He is so very educational and humorous too, as he does more than just sell roses. He educates us while he's at it. We are trying to decide if we should replaster our swimming pool as some of the plaster is flaking off after 22 years since we first had it built. Maybe repaint the entire house that has not been painted in 46 years! We also are looking into having our fireplace chimney repaired or replaced as it has been damaged ever since the 1994 earthquake. FEMA fixed our neighbor's at the time, but skipped over us and said no. Very unfair but that's how luck goes. Today we'll be applying mulch and hopefully have some time to feed the roses. Gotta go now to work on Rose Ecstasy newsletter for a couple of hours.
9-13-13 We finally finished all of our fall rose trimming two days ago. Oh yes, I have a couple of areas that need a little bit of fine tuning, but that won't take long. Now that the weather is yo-yo-ing back and forth from extremely hot to just warm, we have to keep an eye on the water situation. Although we don't want to waste water, we must keep our roses watered since our soil is very sandy. We plan to apply Gromulch around the roses, apply some Preen weed-preventative after doing a little bit of weeding. Fortunately we have not let the weeds get out of control, but it is time to bring out the hula hoe for some touch up work. It is also time for an application of slow release granular fertilizer. We will also do some repotting, as some of the newer roses have outgrown their tiny pots. Such as 'Stranger' a hybrid tea with pale lavender blooms and white stripes, which we will have available for sale at our April 2014 Rose Auction. 9-8-13 Today is rose society meeting day. We began the morning with breakfast out to get the day going. Then we spent two hours trimming more roses. We finished the front yard yesterday, so we are finishing off the minis and minifloras in the backyard today. It's too darned hot out there to do more than a couple hours of work, otherwise we could have finished today. I rescued a pretty little bloom of 'Nancy Jean' last night and snapped a quick picture. By the morning she was blown wide open. Since today is Yellow Rose Day at the meeting I was able to salvage blooms of Butter Cream and Hello Sunshine. I also will bring a cute spray of Magic Show and Memphis Music. This is the last of the blooms until the end of October when all the bushes bloom again. 9-3-12 Labor Day is supposed to be a restful day for workers. Not for the rosarian, that's for sure. The 3-day holiday is perfect timing for us to trim all of our rose bushes to encourage them to bloom again in about 60 days. This would bring them very close to our Annual Rose Show, which hits on November 2nd. We worked very hard over the long weekend, and have about 50% of our 300+ roses trimmed so far. We filled up four 96-gallon green waste barrels. I'm sure glad that our Waste Management company supplies the extra barrels and empties them for free. We hope to finish the rest of them next weekend, as mostly the remaining roses are miniatures and minifloras. I always try to rescue at least one pretty specimen when I'm chopping down the bushes, and this year the prettiest was the pink David Austin English shrub rose named 'Radio Times.' She sure is pretty!
8-31-13 Now that most of the floribundas are done being trimmed (except the single petals), we have begun trimming the hybrid tea rose bushes in the front yard. We have a total of 65 hybrid teas, and today we managed to trim another 30 or so. It was a difficult task because the weather is not only HOT now (almost 100) but also it is extremely and unusually humid. This morning we had 80% humidity and most of the day our barometer read 75%. But we did as much as we could by following the shade from neighbor trees around the yard, and drinking LOTS of cold water. I have also pruned a half dozen of the polyanthas and hope to finish the polys and the HTs all this weekend. Not sure when I will start on the shrubs, whether it will be this weekend or next. The potted minis and minifloras will be delayed until next weekend as they tend to rebloom quicker than the in-ground roses.
8-27-13 We just now received notification from Beth Smiley at American Rose Society, that Kitty's photo of the lavender floribunda 'Love Song' is the February Rose of the Month for their 2014 Calendar. They also included a smaller photo of Kitty's 'Playgirl' & 'Golden Holstein' bouquet for March. Calendars may be ordered at www.ars.org. 8-25-13 Today we began our traditional fall rose bush trimming. We rolled through 30 in-ground floribunda bushes in one hour flat. Fortunately the 200 year old eucalyptus tree across the street was providing shade during our work duty. We did not "prune" them like in winter, but only deadheaded them deeply. The tall roses in the second row are tree roses. The very tall bushes in the upper back are hybrid tea roses that have not yet been pruned. The single-petalled roses and potted roses will be delayed for another two weeks as they rebloom much quicker. Our target date for reblooming is October 30 and the week before and after. We always have a ton of rose blooms on Halloween. This afternoon I plan to trim some of the polyanthas because they take a long time to produce their repeat bloom. Next week we will begin trimming the huge hybrid teas in the front yard.
8-16-13 The Show Schedule for the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society is completed, except we are only waiting a few more days for any last minute trophy sponsors to trickle in. We plan to release the show schedule next week by posting it on the website, and emailing it to members. Where did the year go? It's hard to believe that our November 2 rose show at Hart Park is only 2-1/2 months away. We're ready! We stopped deadheading our rose bushes a couple weeks ago, since our fall trimming will begin on Labor Day weekend.
8-11-13 Thanks to one of our rose society members, Beverley Wexler, for visiting our garden and taking 50 cuttings of various roses. When they are successfully rooted, Beverly will put some on the raffle table at our meetings. I'm sure glad that somebody else has taken up the slack on providing potted roses for our monthly meetings. The funds help to pay for various meeting expenses. And besides, Bob and I have run out of space in our garden for more cuttings, since we are already crammed full of plants for our annual rose society 2014 rose auction fundraiser. Way to go Beverley!
8-3-13 Beach you ask? Yes. We are taking advantage of a little down time in the garden by taking one day excursions to various beaches along the Southern California coast. After being born and raised within a couple miles from many SoCal beaches, we have not been there in many many years because we switched to camping and fishing for the first early years of our marriage; then bought a ski boat and went to fresh water lakes for many more years. Then got hooked on roses and rarely went to anything but rose related events for the past 20 years. But NOW ...The first Friday excursion for this summer we went to Carpinteria Beach, which is situated in the lower end of Santa Barbara County. The second Friday we visited one of the beaches in Ventura County called Surfers Knoll. It's on the harbor. The third Friday excursion we went to Will Rogers Beach, which is located in Los Angeles County, between Pacific Palisades and Malibu. We plan to take at least one more day excursion, possibly Manhattan Beach or Hermosa Beach (both in lower LA County), which are beaches of our childhood. Or perhaps another Ventura Beach, which has much less traffic to get there. I'm loving it, but Mr. Bob is being a good sport and, as he says to me: "I'm hauling your ass to the beach." He would rather be soaking in his jacuzzi watching "The Big Bang Theory" from our patio TV. My favorite new song is "Toes" that includes the line "toes in the water, ass in the sand." That's me. Bob ... he hates to get sand in his ... LOL! 7-28-13 Just doing a little puttering around the garden today, and being a bit lazy. Took a few cuttings and squeezed them into the mistbox. Bob is repotting some roses, and dug out a few to give away. Making space for some new roses. He dug up Perdita and gave her a new space as she was being engulfed by two of The Squire and both sides of her. I labeled a bunch of roses for next year's auction, and updated the auction inventory. Then, surprise surprise, found a lovely bloom of 'Tootsie's Lounge' on a plant that was sent to me by a friend back east last month. I thought it was a miniflora, but when looked it up on HMF, discovered it is actually a shrub. Then, friend told me they are trying to reclass it as a floribunda. The blooms are not always only 5 petals. I saw photos on HMF with 10 petals.
7-26-13 Away from the garden today, and went to the beach. A very nice diversion. Toes in the water, ass in the sand. Very relaxing. Much colder out on the coast, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was too cold for Desert Rat Bob, but he was a good sport, wrapped up in a big pink beach towel.
7-25-13 My back yard is like something out of "Swamp People" since I've had my station #3 lawn sprinklers set to come on for one minute every half hour 16 times a day for the past week. Although this is not much more than our usual 12 minutes one time a day for summer, but just 4 additional minutes made a soggy mess. This was not done for the lawn, but rather to keep the Fortuniana cuttings moist until they can become rooted. Normally they would be in the mistbox, which has been on the mend. So ... FINALLY we did get the Mist-a-Matic running, thanks to our sprinkler guy, Chris at Williams Sprinklers. The problem was caused by a series of events. First, the solenoid valve on our very old (25 years or so) Mist-a-Matic quit working. So we got a new 110v solenoid valve but the Mist-a-Matic still would not work. Perhaps the new solenoid blew out the mercury switch on the old Mist-a-Matic. We don't know. At any rate we bought a new Mist-a-Matic, but it still wouldn't work. Bob spent hours trying to figure out the problem. Bob is a handy guy but even he admits that he is NOT an electrician. I insisted we call our sprinkler guy. In the final analysis, the mistbox is now working, and the Fortuniana cuttings are beginning to root, thanks to Chris. Apparently, the new units and their accompanying transformers are now set up to run on reduced power 24v instead of 110. The Water Queen is now a happy camper. Oh yeah, and the lawn sprinklers are turned off for a few days while the backyard dries out. We don't want to attract gators.
7-24-13 What to do with 50 Dr Huey plants when I really want Fortuniana? Of course, the answer is to put Bob to work bud grafting a bunch of roses for next year's rose society auction. Okay ladies and gents, if these grafts are successful, these are some of the roses we might be able to offer on Dr Huey next April: The Squire, Johnny Becnel, Playfair, Golden Holstein, Perdita, Miss Kitty, Dona Martin, Takao, Desperado, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and much more. Only time will tell.
7-16-13 The three trays of 117 cuttings of Fortuniana rootstock cuttings are beginning to produce new small foliage after 16 days. You need to look closely at the photo to see the NEW foliage, because at a quick glance you are actually seeing the old mature foliage that came with the new cuttings. This does NOT mean that roots are forming yet, but there is possibly some callousing on the bottom of each cutting. Callousing is what must happen before the roots are produced. The weather has been horribly hot here, and our mistbox has been malfunctioning, so for the past several days we simply have the cuttings placed out in the open air, full sun only 3 hours a day, then partial sun for several hours, than mostly shade the rest of the day. The sprinkler system is set to water them for only 1 minute every 30 minutes throughout the day. So far, they are looking good, but our new Mist-a-matic has been shipped and should be here in a few days. If we can get our mistbox up and running again, these cuttings will immediately go back into the mistbox until they are at least 6 weeks old and the pots are full of roots.
7-15-13 Although our water troubles continue to plague us, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. This morning I ordered a new Mist-a-Matic from what appears to be the only supplier in the entire United States that still sells this product. Ours is very old, but it's a product that the casual rose grower would not normally use. It is also a very tempermental piece of equipment as it continually needs to be adjusted, but Bob says he wants to continue using it for propagating roses. So it should arrive here in about a week from Growers Solution in Tennessee. Now, further to the sprinkler system that is pinch-hitting this week to water our Fortuniana cuttings every 30 minutes ... it was extremely difficult to figure out how to set the time to operate for one minute every 30 minutes, as we have four programs, each with 8 water start times. Even though I read the sprinkler manual, and followed the instructions verbatim, the start times refused to set. So I Googled (I should have bought stock in Google as I use their service at least a dozen times a day). It turns out that my manual for the SmartLine Weathermatic sprinkler system controller at home does not tell me how to set the advanced features of adding 8 different start times. The online manual showed me how to give myself permission to have 8 different start times. Apparently they do this to prevent the homeowner from watering too much, so they only want the "professional" water manager to do this. Little do they know that Miss Kitty never gives up. Perseverance is my middle name. Hah!
7-13-13 Aargh!!! The dang mistbox is still giving us fits. It stopped working again. Bob spent four hours this morning taking it apart again, trying to figure what is wrong. It seems to be an electrical problem. I keep telling him to let me buy a new one, after all the old one is at least 20 years old. We inherited the one we have now and we've been using it for 15 years. It was already old when we got it. So I am going to call the supplier on Monday and see if I can get it shipped quick to me. It's going to cost about $269 with shipping. In the meantime ... necessity being the mother of invention, it dawned on me that my new sprinkler controller that we got free last year from the water company, has 4 programs each with 8 start times. So while we are waiting for the new mistbox to arrive, I have set the sprinkler timer near where we have located the three flats of Fortuniana cuttings to come on for one minute every half hour throughout daylight. I hope this works so this batch of Fortuniana can get safely rooted.
7-8-13 We are officially in the middle of summer. Every day gets hotter and hotter. 100+ degrees is the normal now. I hate it. Sure miss the beach cities of my youth. You would think I would have become accustomed to the semi-desert by now, but no. We took a 4-day weekend over the July 4th holiday. Slept in late and did some fun stuff with family. Swimming and BBQ was good fun. Went to the movies and saw The Lone Ranger ... a wonderful, fun, action-packed movie that I would recommend to everyone except kids under 10 as there is some violence that might be too much for some of them. Otherwise, a good family movie. Bob gave some one-on-one grafting & budding training to new rose friend Monica. Lynn came along to observe. I finished weeding and applying Preen weed-preventive, and from here on out we plan to water every day. Our Fortuniana cuttings have been in the mistbox for 10 days now and they are looking good. We got off to a rugged start when the solenoid valve on the mister took a dump on us, then next the electrical plug took a nosedive too. But now looks like all is well and humming along. Still, I'm always concerned so check on the mistbox every day, morning and night just to make sure.
7-4-13 The Fourth of July! Time to celebrate and have fun. Today we are BBQing and swimming with family here at our house. The rose garden looks nice, that's if you don't look too close at the potpourri rose petals on the bush. I deadheaded for about an hour this morning while Bob was cleaning the swimming pool. The bad thing about rose petals turning to potpourri on the bush is that with even a gentle breeze, the petals fill the pool, so it's a constant battle to keep the pool clean. We only deadhead very lightly because in this heat (97 today) the rose bushes need all the shade they can get, so we keep on as much of the stem and foliage as possible.
6-29-13 It's 106 degrees! It's nasty out there. A horrible day to be working in the garden. But we did receive our 100 cuttings (15-inches tall, but we trimmed them down to 12" to fit the mistbox height) of Fortuniana rootstock cuttings from UC Davis on last Thursday so we had to get them prepped for the mistbox this morning. Take a look at the distinctive-looking foliage. Bob de-eyed the cuttings, and I scraped the bottoms of each stem, dipped them in Hormex #8, and placed them in 2-inch pots filled with 50-50% potting soil and perlite. I filled 3 trays, 40 pots per tray, and then watered them all before putting in the mistbox. As luck would have it, the weather now is extremely hot, coupled with the misfortune of having the solenoid valve on our mistbox quit working. Fortunately, we have a local irrigation supplier (Aqua-Flo) that ordered a new valve overnight and so now, after Bob installed the new valve ($118) last night, we are good to go. The good folks at UC Davis packed the cuttings very well, and for an extra $5 bucks packed them in a thick styrofoam box (with the name Omaha Steaks on it). No steaks inside though. This is a replacement shipment for the cuttings they sent to me last year that turned out to be Dr. Huey instead of Fortuniana as I had ordered. Turns out that this time UC Davis sent us extra cuttings, so we got 113 Fortuniana instead of only 100. This has completely filled up our mistbox. Hopefully, if all goes well, they will be rooted in about 4 weeks, but we will wait and see. Our grafting experiment by the way, is not looking so good, mainly because the solenoid valve stopped working and so in this heat they dried out. We will attempt to try again next month when we once again have some space in the mistbox.
6-26-13 We are now nearly finished with our 2nd bloom cycle. Although there are still a few blooms coming on, we are already deadheading hundreds of spent blooms. We have not sprayed for insects and disease in about two months, except washing down the foliage with water. There are a few bugs out there, and of course June Gloom has caused some mildew here and there in the backyard, but nothing to become worried about. We did feed water-soluble fertilizer a month ago (50%-50% fish emulsion and Magnum Rose, plus some seaweed, SuperThrive, and chelated iron), but because of the constant watering and the resultant chlorotic foliage, they need to be fed again. We are going to try and get to that this weekend if the weather isn't too unbearably hot. Meanwhile, the new batch of Fortuniana cuttings are due in from UC Davis this week, so that will keep us busy preparing them for the mistbox. BTW, the grafted rose experiment is looking good. We're getting excited about the results, but still it's too early to say for sure. We are going to do a few more in the next week or so if we still have space in the mistbox after the Fortuniana goes in there.
6-18-13 Over the past 20 years, Bob has continually worked at trying to improve his budding and grafting skills. He has attended seminars, demonstrations, and even one-on-one trainings. Although he has pretty much mastered his chip budding skills, he has not been satisifed with his success rate. He would like it to be in the 90% range, but so far it fluctuates between 15% and 50% depending on the weather and type of rose. So this summer he is trying to improve his "cleft grafting" skills. He is trying to use wire ties (or what they sometimes call cable ties). He was going to use clothespins, but could not find any, so we found some plastic wire ties at the Dollar Tree store. It will take several weeks to know if this process is going to be successful. Here is a photo of the grafted rose experiment. The hybrid is attached to the top, and the rose rootstock is at the bottom.
6-13-13 As I might have mentioned before, the 100 cuttings of rootstock that I received from UC Davis last year turned out to be Dr Huey instead of the Fortuniana I had ordered. This was only discovered a few weeks ago when some of the rootstock plants bloomed RED. Fortuniana has a WHITE bloom. So, they are replacing them at no charge and they should arrive in two weeks as I specified. However, Bob had budded a bunch of stuff onto the Dr Huey last fall (on what we thought was Fortuniana) and some were successful. Most likely they will all be put on the Santa Clarita auction in Spring 2014 as I much prefer Fortuniana rootstock for my very sandy soil conditions. Other people are not so picky like me, and in fact some people prefer Dr Huey because Fortuniana grafted roses must be staked for at least three years until the roots take hold. This is because Fortuniana is a shallow root. We have 30 new budded plants with about 12 inches of top growth. So now they need to be staked until the graft hardens as we don’t want them to snap off in winds. I have also cut off several inches of growth and any blooms that have formed as I don’t want to put stress on the graft while they are so young. Bob will be budding more roses onto the Dr Huey for friends and another rose society as we might as well put them to use.
6-12-13 This week we are getting a new roof on our home. What? You ask. Yes, we already did get a new roof in March, and a very fine job it was. Or at least WE the homeowners thought it was. So a few days after it was finished, our roofing contractor stopped by to give it a final look over. He was not happy with what he saw close up. He told us the composition tiles looked to be inferior upon close inspection. The City inspectors had missed it. But our contractor filed a claim with the manufacturer, Owens-Corning, and had them come out and look at the tiles. They concurred, the tiles were from a bad batch. So we are getting another new roof at no cost to us. Owens-Corning is paying for the materials and labor to replace the roof again. We have a "Platinum" Lifetime Warranty. Of course, this is a pain in the butt for us as Bob had to once again move all the potted roses out of the way. But it's going much quicker and smoother this time around, and barely any mess or debris to deal with. We did have one mishap ... a box of tiles rolled off the roof and decapitated Yolande d'Aragon. Other than that, we are patiently waiting for the roof to be completed ... again. St Patrick is in full bloom now and they were very careful not to disturb him. The roofers were in awe of all the roses because last time they were here all they saw was bare canes
6/7/13 It has been two weeks since I applied the Bayer granular insecticide around each rose bush. As each new bloom opens, it is evident that the thrips (a very tiny flying insect) are already under control. You can barely see thrips so you have to open up a bloom and shake the bloom upside down on a piece of paper to even know you have them. The trick is in the timing. When the first few green buds open at the beginning of the second bloom cycle, that is when the Bayer needs to be applied, while most of the blooms are still small green buds. My indicator plants are Cajun Moon, Affirm, Miss Kitty, O'Rilla, and Show Stopper. These roses are the earliest roses to bloom during both the first and second blooms cycles, as they open when most of the other roses are still green buds. When I see brown on the edges of the petals, this is a signal that the thrips have attacked. On a side note, I have never seen thrips on Gemini. She is the miracle rose. Never any diseases or insects. Laughs at extreme cold and extreme heat. Continuous bloom production. Beautiful blooms and foliage. Although I love many kinds of roses, Gemini is definitely my favorite hybrid tea.
6/3/13 Today was a beautiful day for photographing roses in the garden. The weather was cool and overcast, which are perfect conditions for getting saturated color in the rose photos. I took photos of about 20 rose varieties such as The Impressionist, Pacific Celebration, Love Song, Cinco de Mayo, and Honey Perfume. I was lucky to find suitable specimens as it's been hot and nasty the past couple weeks, plus our friends the thrips are now visiting. I had a furlough day off work today, so I was able to tool around the yard while Bob was at work. I weeded a little, mailed off a plant to a friend, played around with Magic Puzzles for awhile, went to Starbucks for a Mocha Frappucino Light Decaf, then came home and had a nice nap. This was a pleasant day off work. I love 3-day weekends!
5/26/13 This weekend is spent repotting, planting, and inventorying the roses. We already have plenty of roses for next year's auction, but I still plan to take a few more cuttings today. Not including the cuttings I took yesterday and will take today, our count is 77 one-gallon roses (1 of each variety), and 154 roses in 4-inch pots (these are multiple varieties averaging 3 of each). Eight of these 4-inch pots will be put on the rose society raffle table every month until next April, at which time we will have our raffle. The count for MY OWN roses continues to hover around 300 plants, mostly planted in ground, but about 100 in pots. If I were to count every rose plant in my garden at this time (including auction, raffle, new cuttings, my own plants, new budded maidens, plus rootstock cuttings), I would guess the count is about 800 plants. Yikes! Shhh! don't tell Bob, because I always say it's less. LOL!
5/23/13 We have not fed or sprayed our roses for the past month. Our time was spent deadheading (trimming off the spent blooms) and of course keeping the bushes watered. Finally, today I found 45 minutes after I got home from work to apply the Bayer to all of the rose bushes, then we watered it in. The new growth on our bushes for the second bloom cycle seems to be coming on fast and strong. I have seen a few thrips, and some munching on one bush of Lavaglut, but other than that they all look good. Hopefully, the Bayer will get the thrips under control before they turn the blooms ugly. Let's hope so.
5/15/13 I have been using Bayer Advanced (granular fertilizer with insecticide) on my roses for the past four years. I only apply it once per year, around the end of May, just before the buds open for the second bloom cycle. I apply it only around each rose bush, inside the rings. Until last year the main insecticide ingredient was disulfoton, which worked exceedingly well, but it was highly toxic. Last year the ingredient was changed to imidacloprid, which is the same as Merit, a less toxic product. (It was actually changed before last year, but I had stockpiled a supply of the old version when they were beginning to discontinue it.) So last year, with the imidacloprid ingredient, it seemed to control the thrips, but not quite as well. But, I will continue to use it again this year, because I do not like to spray during the hot summer season. Of course, once we get past July, the thrips seem to disappear from my garden until the following year. I also need to tell you that during the first bloom cycle of April, I rotate sprayings of Merit, and Orthene plus Avid on all of my roses every week. This keeps the thrips under control until after show season. I use the Merit for aphids, and the Orthene for thrips, green bud worm, and scale insect, and the Avid for spider mites. Included in those sprays are weekly rotations of the fungicides Compass and Banner Maxx. Then in May after the show season, we begin washing down the foliage on a daily basis to prevent spider mites during the summer as I do no further insecticide nor fungicide sprayings after May 1st until early October.
5/12/13 We are just about finished deadheading all of our rose bushes in our front and back gardens, consisting of more than 300 roses. We see only a sea of green foliage out there. Not to worry, within 6 weeks we will begin to see the second bloom cycle. Our priority now is keeping the bushes watered and washed down to prevent mildew and spider mites as the weather begins to warm up. Over the summer we will apply an application of organic materials to improve the soil and feed the roses as the organics break down and the worms love organics too. Next feeding will be granular Bayer Advanced, as we have stopped the weekly water soluble feedings now that rose shows and peak spring bloom season is finished.
5/6/13 The past several weeks have been completely consumed with rose shows, garden tours, and rose conventions. We can now have a little bit of a breather for awhile since the intense regimen has quieted down. From here on out through Labor Day, at which time we will trim our roses for the fall rose shows, we will only need to keep the roses watered and deadheaded, and occasional feeding with organics throughout summer. We do not spray the roses at all during summer as it is too hot here. Today we returned from our 3-day Pacific Southwest District Convention that was held in Carlsbad, California (about 30 miles north of downtown San Diego). We had a great time participating in the District Rose Show, garden tours, banquets, and meeting with friends. We were very fortunate to win trophies for two of our District entries, since our rose garden bloomed early this season so we were nearly bloomed out. Coupled with the fact of a nasty heatwave the week before the convention. The two District Challenge trophies were the San Fernando Valley Rose Society District Challenge, requiring three sprays of single-petalled roses in separate vases. Our winning rose was the purple climber 'Night Owl'. The second trophy was the Pacific Rose Society District Challenge, requiring five different floribunda sprays each in a separate vase. The rose varieties were Lavaglut, Trumpeter, Sexy Rexy, Golden Holstein, and Showbiz. 4/13/13 We had a very successful day at the rose show today, winning 12 trophies. We won Queen of Hybrid Teas with 'Black Magic', King of Hybrid Teas with St Patrick, and Queen of Minifloras with Dr. John Dickman. Among other wins our bouquet of Playgirl and Golden Holstein was our favorite entry. This may very well be the most beautiful bouquet that has ever won for me over the past 25 years of exhibiting. I love the shocking, fluorescent color combo on this bouquet. And the blooms and foliage were super clean. It was easy to stage, and the only grooming I did was to remove the central spent blooms on the Playgirl sprays. The Golden Holstein individual blooms were cut off the bush just like they are. Yeah, wow factor for sure. Friends that also won trophies today were Bob & Dona Martin, Jan Parsoneault, and Lynn Snetsinger.
4/10/13 Our Annual Garden Tour this year is being hosted by Master Rosarians Bob & Kitty Belendez at their garden on Sunday, April 28, 2013, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There is no charge and it's open to the public. Here is a link to the online flyer with complete details:
4/4/13 I love Clematis. Huh? Did I say CLEMATIS? Well, yes, but I love ROSES more. Over the past 5 years I tried out a dozen different clematis because I had read that we could plant them next to a rose and they could co-exist. I found out that is not so true. Let me clarify that ... they CAN co-exist if you have space, but NOT in a garden that is already crammed full of 300 rose bushes. The clematis were either overtaking and strangling the roses in more shady areas of my garden, or they were extremely unhappy when planted up against a hot block wall with southern exposure. So I sadly made the decision earlier this year to dig them all up and put them on auction so that others that had more garden space could give the clematis the growing space they deserve. I just don't have space in my very small 1/5 acre tract home lot to grow both roses and clematis. My garden is already filled to complete capacity with more than 300 roses. The clematis need some kind of structure to grow on, such as a trellis, tripod, arch or wall. They hate hot walls and to have their roots exposed to extreme sunshine. So I gave some of the clematis away to Facebook friends, and some were put on auction. Some of the clematis include 'Bees Jubilee', 'Daniel Deronda', and 'Multiblue'. Just the other day I discovered another clematis struggling to grow in a neglected corner. We dug it up and it is actually starting to grow in a pot. This last one is called 'Vino' and it's red with white stamens. This will be added to the auction as a last minute surprise. I do love clematis and hope they go to a good home.
3/30/13 Today was a very productive yet exhausting day. The day began at 6:30 a.m. when the alarm bleeped us out of bed. It was still dark outside but it was time to get up and spray the roses to prevent mildew and insects. As the buds are now forming, we need to spray for green bud worms and thrips. By 8:00 a.m. we were finished spraying so we had a quick breakfast and some coffee then it was off to Ventura to Crop Production Service to pick up 110 lbs of Epsom Salts, 50 lbs of Osmocote, and 50 lbs of Nitroform. This should last me for a couple years. BTW they have closed their Fillmore store so now we have to go all the way out to Oxnard to get goodies for the roses. Next, we went to the Waterford Outlet in Camarillo and bought 11 Waterford Crystalware for our rose show trophies. They were having a great sale so we were able to get some beautiful pieces within our budget. After a yummy lunch at Dairy Queen we next went to Otto and Sons Nursery in Fillmore on the way back home. I've been waiting 6 months for my tree rose of 'Love Song' a pastel lavender very fragrant floribunda. I resisted temptation to buy more but did get a quick drooling look at all the other roses that were in bloom there. Except for the tree rose that has a spot waiting at home, Bob reminded me that I have no space for more roses. So it was then time time head on home, but we stopped quickly for some groceries, and then I had a very much deserved nap when we got home.
3/27/13 This time of year I'm a freak for pretty rose foliage. Today's winner is 'Golden Holstein'. This floribunda rose produces clusters of deep yellow 12-petalled blooms around the end of April. It's disease resistant and starts out glossy but becomes more leathery when the bush is in full bloom. Only mild fragrance. This bush, budded on Fortuniana, is very full and nearly 4-ft tall at this time. You can see how it compares to tree rose Cinco de Mayo behind it. When I grew 'Golden Holstein' on its on roots it never got taller than 2 feet. Since the past two weeks, we are spraying and feeding all of our roses every weekend. The roses are responding well to our extra care. 3/15/13 It has surprisingly been very hot here the past several days. It was 93, which is very unusual for March weather. We've had to water everything every day, even though our roofing project has made watering a challenge. But we got it done. Tomorrow we hope to return to normal, as I must spray for mildew now. Meanwhile, we have added 12 products to our Zazzle/SantaClaritaRose online store. Our newest addition is a lovely two-tone coffee mug featuring large wrap-around hot pink roses. In case you are wondering exactly which rose variety that is ... it is a bouquet of 12 'Big Time' hybrid tea roses photographed in my garden August 2012, when I had to trim the bushes for the Fall National Convention. 3/8/13 We now have a Zazzle Store featuring merchandise imprinted with Pink Roses and the name Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society. So far, items include t-shirts, mugs, aprons, and totes. Here is the link: http://www.zazzle.com/santaclaritarose*/gifts
3/7/13 We have not done much in the garden the past week as we've been prepping the house for our upcoming roof replacement. The roses are pushing out new tender growth, so we have some worry that they might have some damage from the roofers. We are crossing our fingers. Meanwhile, we moved all the potted roses, including those 100 potted roses for the rose auction, to the very rear of the back yard. I'm itching to start feeding and spraying the roses, but so far they look very healthy and not much disease, so I will hold off until the roof is done. I suppose there is no hurry at this point as we've had some sporadic rain, and since we pruned late (intentionally) we do not plan to exhibit our roses until April 27th. Also, our garden will be opened for public tour on April 28th.
2/25/13 Our Rose Auction Catalog has now been officially published. It can be found on our 2013 Meetings & Events Calendar, (click on link at top of this page, then scroll down to April). Since we plan to have a new roof installed on our house in the near future, all of the potted plants will have to be moved to the very back of our yard until the roof is completed. Then the pots will have to be moved back into their waiting area until the April 7th auction. Oh what fun!
2/18/13 We took advantage of the long 3-day weekend to double check our inventory of roses for our upcoming Annual Rose Auction, which is our rose society's annual fundraiser. Bob moved a couple dozen plants to one-gallon pots. The Auction Catalog is nearly finished, and we hope to publish it in about a week. This year's auction features about 100 very special potted roses as well as six gorgeous clematis plants. I wish I had space for them in my tiny yard, but they need to find new homes where they can spread out and breath. Our theme this year is "California Gold Rush." The auction is barely six weeks away and we're "Rough and Ready" for it.
2/10/13 Today is going to be a very long day. We got up early and we treated ourselves out to breakfast at our current favorite place. I had the day's special of peanut butter and banana French Toast (hold the syrup). There was plenty to fill my plate so I brought half of it home for breakfast tomorrow. Although it was still only 40 degrees when we got back home, we decided to get quickly to our chores. I began with some weeding with the hula hoe, and fortunately there were hardly any weeds in our entire garden, just a 16 oz bucket full of little weed seedlings. Then I applied Preen weed preventative to the entire garden front and back. Meanwhile, Bob applied epsom salts and alfalfa pellets. Bob is watering everything. We won't do much else for at least a month at which time I will begin spraying and liquid fertilizing around end-March depending on whether or not I see any problems out there. This afternoon we get to relax at our Rose Society meeting, where Jeri and Clay Jennings will be speaking on "Rose Rustling for Preservation." Their historical aspect of rare roses is always very interesting.
2/9/13 We didn't do too much in the garden today, because we had other Saturday chores such as laundry, groceries, and tidying up inside the house. We also had to interview a roofer for the upcoming re-roof project. Then we went outside and I fertilized all the roses while Bob applied Kellogg's Gromulch everywhere. In the afternoon I worked some more on the Rose Auction Catalog, adding photos, writing some text. Waiting to find out what our theme will be.
2/3/13 Today we spent some time in the garden, wrapping up the pruning, as there really wasn't much left to do. We puttered around with other things, such as finishing the inventory of roses for our April 7th rose auction. We don't have a theme yet, but I'm beginning to work on the Auction Catalog. Bob budded some roses, which is a bit early for doing this, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. Ha ha! I had intended to feed the roses today, but I plum ran out of steam. Oh well, there's always next week. And, no, we did not watch the Super Bowl, as Bob isn't into sports. You would think he would watch it to get out of garden work, but NO, he does not like watching sports.
2/2/13 We went to the Pacific Rose Society Annual Rose Auction at the L.A. County Arboretum in Arcadia. It was well attended and they had hundreds of roses on auction. We came home with several. I will be writing a report of the event for an article for the PRS newsletter, so I won't go into details here. I also took a bunch of photos which will also go in the Pacific Rose Newsletter.
In the evening we listened to a 4-hour sales pitch from TWO Sears Home Improvement sales reps. Although they gave an educational presentation, they were double the price of any other quote we got to re-roof our home, and then they wanted to play games with the price. Flimflam is alive and well! I am so sad and disappointed that my childhood department store agreed to put their name on this scam.
1/30/13 We are about 98% finished pruning our rose garden. We only have about a dozen smaller rose bushes to thin out. Several minis, some polyanthas, and a few small antique roses. We have some repotting to do, but I think that might wait until the upcoming weekends when we have some time off work. We have bought a dozen large bags of Kelloggs Gromulch, and that will be applied soon. Preen and fertilizing will then be done. Meantime, I have begun working on the rose auction catalog, and that will take considerable time over the next month.
1/21/13 This 3-day holiday weekend has been "uber" productive. I feel like I've been on a marathon. Saturday morning began early with Bob and I pruning roses. I finished fine tuning a few floribundas in the front yard, and finally pruned the single-petalled floribundas such as Playboy, Playgirl, and Puanani. I wanted to prune the singles last because they always bloom ahead of the more heavily petalled roses. Meanwhile, Bob attacked the small bed of 8 huge hybrid teas in the back yard (Black Magic, Gemini, Red Intuition, Veterans' Honor etc). On Sunday we treated ourselves to breakfast out and then came back home and got after the back yard roses. Bob did another 5 huge hybrid teas, while I whacked away at several very large Austin shrubs (Abraham Darby and Golden Celebration), plus several antique roses (Yolande d'Aragon and Francis Dubreuil). In the afternoon we pruned more shrubs and antique roses (OGRs) on the north side of the rear garden ... The Squire, Perdita, Fair Bianca, Falstaff, Sidonie, Comte de Chambord, Paul Neyron ... then the corner with a mishmash of Fourth of July, Molineux, and Wild Blue Yonder. And finally, three tree rose shrubs ... Mary Rose, Leonard Dudley Braithwaite, and Winchester Cathedral. By the end of the day on Sunday we were totally exhausted, so went out to dinner then came home and soaked in the jacuzzi. That brings us to today, Monday. Bob had to go to work at his regular job today as they don't get MLK holiday off. But I do, so I got up early and dormant sprayed all the roses with horticultural oil (a type of mineral oil). And then will spend the balance of the day working on my rose society newsletter "Rose Ecstasy." Meanwhile, we still have all the potted miniature and miniflora roses remaining to be pruned. Although we have already pruned over 200 large rose bushes, we still have about 125 roses still to be done. There is always "next week." Perhaps I'll take a little break away from the computer this afternoon, and prune a few of the minifloras on the south side of the house. Shameless, Foolish Pleasure, and Whirlaway are calling my name.
1/15/13 We didn't get much pruning done last weekend because it was too cold to work outside, and we had some Master Rosarian commitments to do. The daytime temp for the past few days have been 45 during the day and 31 in the morning. Last Saturday, we represented our Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society at Green Thumb Nursery in Newhall. It was so freezing cold that not too many customers stopped by, but our dear friends at GT furnished us with Starbucks coffee and donuts. We did meet and greet a few hard core customers that stopped by to get our rose advice, so I demonstrated pruning a tree rose, and we helped others pick out fragrant roses, or their favorite color. We got 4 new members that day. The next day, on Sunday, we did our annual Rose Care Seminar gig. We had a fantastic turnout with about 80 people attending. Bob demonstrated pruning with my assistance, Steve discussed bareroot selection and planting. We got another 5 members that day. It was such a lively group, who asked dozens of questions. Obviously they were hungry for rose care knowledge, and we are happy to help.
1/7/13 This year we are experimenting with higher pruning of our roses. In the past, our average pruned bush height would be about 24-inches. This year, we have increased our average pruned bush height to 36-inches. Keep in mind that many of the rose bushes in the photo averaged 6 to 7 feet tall by the end of December, and most were a minimum of 3 to 5 years old and are grafted on Fortuniana rootstock. By April we will know if this additional height will be beneficial to our rose bloom production. As of yesterday, We have completed pruning about 100 of our 325 rose bushes of all types so we still have many to finish. The floribundas, old garden roses, and polyanthas are mostly done. The hybrid teas are half done. We are intentionally stretching out our pruning schedule through the 3rd week in January. We only prune on weekends, so each weekend is spent pruning. Next weekend we'll finish off the hybrid teas, and do some of the shrubs. The potted miniatures and minifloras will be done the 3rd weekend in January.
1/4/13 Pruning my antique roses (OGR, old garden roses) is usually fairly easy for me. They take a little longer because they are so big, but generally it's not too difficult. I prune the OGR's and Bob stays away from the unless I supervise him, otherwise he would just mercilessly chop them down. That is our agreement. Yolande d'Aragon is the easiest even though my two bushes are about 7 feet tall (they would grow taller if I let them). I train them to grow mostly upright. Baronne Prevost takes a bit more work because it wants to spread out with some upright growth. Anna de Diesbach and Mrs R G Sharman-Crawford can be trimmed to grow upright, but their very thin stems want to sprawl. Sometimes I have to tie the main canes to the fence with green plastic garden tape. Archiduchesse Elizabeth D'Autrich (wow, what a mouthful) was a surprise this year because I thought the bush would remain about 4 feet tall, but it blasted up to about 7 feet and engulfed the smaller bushes next to it. So the 3-foot Rose du Roi had to be dug up and moved to a pot.
1/2/13 Although we intentionally delayed most of our pruning this year, the purpose of which was to better target some key spring rose shows, circumstances made us keep to the plan. We both got colds over our winter break, and then it was drizzly many of those days. So as much as Bob just wanted to get out there and get it over with (the pruning, that is) we had no choice than to delay our pruning. We plan to work on it every weekend this month. However, we did manage to get most of the floribundas, polyanthas, and old garden roses pruned. This coming weekend we plan to start working on the hybrid teas.
1/1/13 HAPPY NEW YEAR! Welcome to a brand new year. Time to refresh and renew, and reevaluate everything we did last year.
Photos © Copyright by Kitty Belendez
© Copyright 2013 Kitty Belendez. All rights reserved.