2017 Diary of Activities in 
the Rose Garden of
Kitty and Bob Belendez
Santa Clarita, California 

By Kitty Belendez
Master Rosarian

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February 22, 2017    New foliage is now beginning to grow nicely on the roses. They look glossy and healthy, and yet we have not even fertilized yet. Although we did manage to apply a handful of both epsom salts and alfalfa pellets on all of the roses, just in time for it to rain and wash it in well. Now is the time that we sit back and watch everything grow. We have not had to water anything except very small pots and rose cuttings, which we hand water twice a week as it has been cold so nothing seems to dry out. It’s a good thing because we stil cannot seem to shake these sore throats and coughs, so we’ve been spending time indoors for most of the past week. I never thought I would be saying this, but I think we need more sunshine and less rain.

February 17, 2017    Oh my gosh! We were drenched with rain today. They say we got more than 4 inches of rain today. This is the most rain we’ve had in many, many years. The dry wash (actually flood control channel) behind our house had an extreme amount of water but still not filled up like it did once 30 years ago. We’ve had to drain our pool and spa several times this week because they were getting way too full. In nearby towns such as Newhall and Canyon Country there was intense flooding, and many trees blown down from wind and rain. We are seeing hints of downy mildew on the rose canes, but it should go away as soon as it warms up. Our lawn is greening up nicely, and the pansies that I planted in purple, pink, and turquoise pots seem happy.

February 13, 2017    We worked really hard at cleaning up the few weeds in our garden, both front and back. Bob applied epsom salts and alfalfa pellets to every rose bush. I walked around the yard and watered lightly just in case it does not rain soon. He also filled up every container with potting soil, as many were getting low. He also adjusted a few rose rings that were either too big or too small for the rose bush they currently occupy. I worked on checking out the rose labels, remaking some that were either fading, or had gotten chopped up from the gardener’s weed whacker or Bob’s battery-powered rose trimmer. 

February 12, 2017    We recently applied lawn seed and some lawn fertilizer, just in time for more rain. This is the most rain that we've had here in many years. I worry about downy mildew on the roses, and I do see some purple splotches on some of the rose canes but will not spray for it yet. Once the weather warms up, the downy mildew should clear up. If not, I will need to do a soil drench around each bush. This is usually only necessary once every 7 years when we get a lot of rain and the soil stays continuously wet. Meanwhile we are puttering around in the garden when the sun shines, checking rose name labels, doing a little weeding, refilling pots with soil when they get low, and will begin applying mulch and other nutrients soon. Bob finished trimming and training several climbers.

February 6, 2017    It is rare that I set my alarm clock, but I had to get up early and spray my roses with dormant spray. So I set it for 7:00 am. Bob filled my 14-gallon Spray boss with warm water, and then I added Bonide Horticutural oil plus an insecticide to combat not only fungus, but also chilli thrips and scale insect. This is the best time of year to spray the oil spray because the weather is too hot here to spray it when the weather turns warm. It took two hours for me to thoroughly spray all of our 300 roses. So they off to a good start.

January 25, 2017    Seems the rain has finally stopped, but now it has turned cold and frosty. Our lawns and roof have been covered in frost, and this morning’s temperature was 32. Yes, that is freezing! Mornings will be in the 30’s for the next several days. It’s difficult to go outside and get some rose pruning done. Bob is a good sport and got a few bushes pruned yesterday, and hopes to get some done today as the sun is shining but it’s still very cold. I’m finally recuperating from the sore throat and side effects from the meds that have given me insomnia for the 10 days. I feel like a zombie. I am exhausted from lack of sleep, but finally slept last night! I did manage to take a few more cuttings yesterday and hope to put them in pots today for rooting. Some of the rose cuttings are Dorothy Rose, Lavender Spoon, Halo Today, Archiduchesse Elisabeth d’Autriche, Glamour Girl, and Glowing Amber. It takes months for the roots to grow. None of these rose cuttings are for myself, but rather are for our Rose Society monthly meeting raffle table fundraiser.

January 22, 2017    Well it continues to rain almost daily. It’s hard to find some dry days to get out there and get the pruning done. Bob had cut some of the large hybrid teas in the front yard. And I put down some bluegrass lawn seed on the front and back lawns, which should hopefully fill in the lawn come spring before it gets too hot. We appear to be a few days behind, but we keep doing what we can as weather permits. So we took some more rose cuttings, and will work in the garage to get them rooted into pots. Then the cuttings will go straight out into the rain, which will be good for them. No sunshine but plenty of sunlight filtering through the clouds to help them start rooting. The dry riverbed behind our house has had a lot of water running down it, but it ebbs and flows depending on the rainfall. They closed Bouquet Canyon Road up the road a couple miles from our house, due to flooding. So far our house remains safe, but there are many closures throughout our City of Santa Clarita, trees blowing over, huge sinkholes, and flooding down roads in the nearby areas that had fires last year where the vegetation was all burned down.

January 18, 2017    We have been getting some pruning done this week. First, Bob has pruned all of our 14 polyanthas near the back patio. Then he completed the floribunda bed in the front parkway. He did not prune any of the single-petalled roses yet, such as Playgirl, Puanani, Golden Holstein, and Playboy because these have a tendency to bloom early. So they will be pruned next week. He also pruned all the tree roses in the parkway and began on some of the hybrid teas in the front. Especially those roses that tend to bloom late, so he got those first. Then I came along behind him and thinned out some of the twiggy growth, and split ends that were left by his hedge trimmer. I have also been taking a lot of cuttings to be rooted and grown for months until they root. The plants will be put on our rose society raffle table. I'm taking cuttings of unusual and hard-to-find roses, not those roses that can be bought at local nurseries. Some of the rose cuttings so far are Walferdange, Frankie, Puanani, Rose du Roi, Yolande d'Aragon, Poppy, Dr John Dickman, Golden Holstein, Mystic Beauty, Simsalabim, Verdun, and Lullaby.

January 8, 2017   We had a wonderful Rose Care Seminar at the Senior Center today. They forgot to unlock the doors to the facility so we had to improvise in the parking lot. With nearly 50 people in attendance, we were lucky that the Center had some patio chairs lined up out front under the eaves, which are always there for the visiting Seniors. So the show went on. We got some new members that day, too.

January 13, 2017   The year got off to a rocky start. I had a fall in early December and injured my right leg and both wrists. Fortunately no broken bones, just scrapes and bruises, and lots of pain for several weeks. Just when I was almost healed I came down with a sore throat, cough, and fever beginning January 2. As of today I'm well on the road to recovery. As luck would have it, we are not yet ready to begin pruning, although Bob is chomping at the bit. However, it has rained almost continually for the past two weeks. We have not had to water the roses at all. I hope we will begin pruning by late next week if the weather is not too erratic. I am now busy working on February Rose Ecstasy. No rest for the wicked. Hah!

January 1, 2017    HAPPY NEW YEAR! Rose pruning can begin now if you live in Southern California, and should be completed by February 1. We will begin pruning our own garden in Santa Clarita around January 18.

 Photos © Copyright by Kitty Belendez

© Copyright Kitty Belendez. All rights reserved. 

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