2010 Diary of Activities in the Rose Garden of Kitty and Bob Belendez
Copyright Kitty Belendez

By Kitty Belendez
Master Consulting Rosarian
 My YouTube Channel 

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12-28-10    We continued to do more rose pruning today. We worked along the side of the house, the north side having a bunch of large old garden roses. Discovered scale insect on some of them, and the purple clematis is strangling one. Hopefully by the weekend we will have a no-rain day so that I can spray horticultural oil to all the pruned roses. This will help control the scale insect and spider mites. By 4:00 p.m. we managed to prune another 21 rose bushes, mostly large hybrid teas, in the back yard and some large antique roses and shrubs. We had hoped to get about 30 done today but I got slowed down by carefullly removing the botrytis infested blooms so that the spores don't get spread throughout the garden. So now all of the floribundas and hybrid teas are done, and we have miniatures, minifloras, polyanthas, shrubs, and climbers yet to do. 12-27-10   As of today we have 117 roses pruned. So now the front yard is completely done. 12-26-10    We're making good progress on getting our roses pruned. Slow, but sure. As of today we have 80 rose bushes pruned: 50 floribundas and 30 hybrid teas. Floribundas seem to be the most time-consuming to prune because they're so twiggy. We plan to spend most of tomorrow pruning, and then rest on Wednesday since it's projected to be raining. Hopefully, we will finish the front yard tomorrow. 12-25-10  Merry Christmas to all my friends and family. We plan to spend much of the day with family eating good food, opening gifts, just having fun. Maybe before they all come over we will sneak into the garden and prune a few roses before it rains tonight. Only 300 more roses to go (and 9 days to do it) ...12-24-10    While our 300 tamales are steaming on the stove, Bob is outside pruning the floribundas. He got most of them done, probably about 50. I still have to thin them out a little bit, which I will do on the weekend if it doesn't rain. Meanwhile I baked three pies: pumpkin, cheesecake, and apple. This afternoon we shot another video, this time "How to Prune Miniature Roses" which is now posted on our YouTube Channel. Our Tamale Fest tonight was a lot of fun.12-23-10    We spent most of the day preparing our traditional Christmas Eve Tamales with family. In the afternoon Bob and I pruned some more roses. We also shot a little video showing how we prune floribundas. Not sure when I will have time to post this video on YouTube and then link it here. So much to do, so little time. One thing I noticed when pruning is that there is a LOT of botrytis on the old blooms out there. This is caused by being so wet from all the rain. So I spent some time just removing all those diseased blooms so that the fungus spores are not spread thoughout my garden. 12-22-10    It rained most of the day today. But finally at 4:15 p.m. the rain stopped for a while so since Bob was getting stir crazy he insisted on getting started on pruning. Well, all the bushes were dripping wet, but he went ahead and pruned 6 hybrid teas before it got dark. He seemed to enjoy it.12-19-10    This evening we enjoyed a lovely reunion dinner with the old gang from what used to be the Los Angeles Rose Society in its heyday (1993-2003). Barbara Hilliard was the guest of honor as she is visiting from Dallas, Texas where she relocated in 2003. At 83, Barbara, the matriarch, is still an amazing woman, and although not growing roses anymore, she is a very talented artist and pianist as well as a champion fencer (yes, as in swords).12-17-10We were hoping to start a little advance pruning of the floribundas this coming weekend, but with 5 days of nearly continuous rain projected, it's looking highly unlikely. We also wanted to shoot another video on pruning. Just as well, so now we will concentrate fully on the Christmas and New Years holidays. And making 300 tamales for our Christmas Eve get-together.

12-13-10    Bob budded 9 more of a very special rose that won't be released for awhile. This rose has been extremely difficult to propagate as he budded 15 more during the year and only two were successful. So he's giving it one more try.12-12-10    Had a warm and cozy party at Steve & Susie's place today. The food was yummy, especially the ham and cheese potatoes that were prepared by our hospitality coordinator Barbara Grimm. The desserts were scrumptious, and there were so many, red velvet cake, Karen's pumpkin cheesecake. Mmm! I'm sure that I used up all of my calorie allocation today. Sandy Wanek was honored with the Sweepstakes for winning the most at our monthly little rose shows. Our officers were installed for 2011. And I took pictures of everybody in attendance, which will be featured in our January newsletter.12-8-10We're looking forward to our Winter Holiday Party on December 12th to be held at the home of Steve and Susie Jones. The fun begins at 4:30 P.M. There will be lots of good food, and every family will get to select a gift from the stack at the front door. Bob and I donated all the gifts from our lucky wins at the rose shows this year. Thanks to Jan Parsoneault, Susan Savage, Carolyn Monday, and Elissa Siefert for wrapping the gifts. I will take photos of all attendees to be published in our January issue of Rose Ecstasy as I like to feature the party in the newsletter. Members only, but if you have not given your RSVP please call Barbara Grimm immediately so that we can plan accordingly. It's potluck.

12-6-10Last night it rained so we left the rose buddings and rose cuttings outside. They love getting rained on. And besides the overnight temperatures were a "comfortable" 43 degrees without frost so the roses are quite happy with that. There's nothing like a good rain to make roses grow. 

12-5-10    Today we shot another video, our 6th in our continuing series. This time we featured "How to Prune Hybrid Tea Roses in the Winter." It's another shortie, just 3:35 minutes. About a half hour after we finished it started raining. Good thing we got started early. We were tempted to prune more, but it really is too early. We stopped at just one, except there were several that Bob had to cut out of the way so that he could install our Christmas lights. We need to wait until December 26th to prune more roses. Oh, we might start a bit earlier on the floribundas since they take so long to rebloom. Now it's time to quit foolin' around with these fun videos; I think we have it mastered. We need to get into holiday mode since our first party is next weekend. 12-3-10Last night we shot our new video  "Preparing Fortuniana Rootstock for Rooting" and  posted it to our YouTube Channel. Next, we plan to shoot some videos on pruning roses.

12-2-10I have added a link to My YouTube Channel where you can see all of the videos we have produced, and where you can subscribe so that you will automatically receive an e-mail notification of any new videos that we publish.

12-1-10We received 100 cuttings of Fortuniana rootstock from UC Davis Foundation Plant Materials today. We are soaking them in a bucket of water overnight so that they can get fully hydrated. Bob began de-eyeing them, and I organized our rooting supplies and potting soil. We plan to shoot a little video of the process if it's not too cold and too dark by the time we get home from work tomorrow. 11-28-10Today it was too cold to do anything outside, so instead we produced this little video on grooming the hybrid tea bloom for the rose show.  It's less than 5 minutes in length. And a second video that focuses on grooming the rose stem & foliage, and balance & proportion11-25-10Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family! Bob and I stuffed our turkey this morning and got her in the oven by 9:00 a.m. She will slow cook most of the day and should be ready to take out of the oven by 3:00 p.m. Then we make some mashed potatoes and gravy. Tina and Nani are bringing the salad and oven-bake rolls. We cooked our pumpkin and apple pies yesterday. While we're waiting for the turkey to cook, Bob budded a whole bunch of roses onto Fortuniana rootstock (click to see 2-minute chip budding video). Hopefully we will have a very good success rate like we did last winter. He budded four more 'Miss Kitty' too. The Farmer's Almanac says that today is a very good day for budding and grafting (according to the cycle of the moon). I hope so! 11-23-10     Let's see if I can reconstruct what I tried to blog yesterday. At 6:30 a.m. yesterday Bob announced that "Frost is on the pumpkin." This means that frost was on our rooftop and on our lawns. It was about 38 degrees or so, very cold for this time of year. It doesn't usually get that cold until winter solstice which occurs around December 21st at nearly midnight. So it is happening about a month early. The roses that we have been budding for the past month and will continue to do through February, will now have to be put onto a cart and rolled into and out of the garage daily. We bring the cart out first thing in the morning so they can get some all-day sun, and then they go back into the garage at night to protect the newly emerging budeyes from any possible frost damage. It seems like a pain in the buns but it is well worth the effort. Doing this last year rewarded us with an 80% success rate, which is extremely great for winter propagation. 11-22-10   Made a long post here this morning, but now it's gone. Something about frost on the pumpkin and winter solstice. Well, will have to start over if I can get my brain back into gear. Weird-ass Homestead!11-19-10We will be budding some roses beginning tomorrow and through Thanksgiving. I will have to run out and collect budwood in between the rain that is supposed to arrive tonight. Me with my wish list, and Bob with his budding knife, we make a great propagating team. I'm beginning to get low on rootstock, so I ordered some more from UC Davis today so it will be well-rooted by spring. I don't usually order the rootstock this time of year because it takes longer to root during winter, but I will try it again. When the rootstock arrives from UC Davis, they will NOT be put into the mister like I normally do, because this rootstock needs all the sun it can get to root at this time of year. So, the Fortuniana canes will be put out in the open air, in full sun, and watered every day unless it rains. Some of the roses we will bud are: Miss Kitty, Cristina Lynne, Nancy Jean, Show Stopper, Alysheba, Whirlaway, Foolish Pleasure, Magic Show, The Lighthouse ... what else?

11-18-10Steve Singer of Wisconsin Roses has a limited supply of Miss Kitty plants budded onto Multiflora rootstock. These plants are bareroot maidens. I sent some budwood of Miss Kitty to him this past summer so he made some maiden plants. Maidens sound complicated, but they are very easy to grow. I have successfully grown maidens, and Steve sends very easy instructions of how to cut off the rootstock tops to encourage the maiden budeye to grow.

11-16-10We are almost recuperated from the fall rose shows. Well, not really, as we are still exhausted. I think that long drive out to the desert did a number on us. Thank goodness we are now letting our roses go to hell. No, not really. We are just leaving them alone, not feeding, not spraying, and not deadheading at this time. Still watering when necessary, of course. Now is the time that I make a list of the roses that will be given away, put on the rose society raffle table, or put into the auction. I am only buying one new rose this year, a miniflora called 'Ghostzapper' and it should arrive in March. But I have to get rid of a bunch in order to make space for some roses that Bob budded onto Fortuniana, as these will be replacements for same variety.

11-15-10Bob budded five more 'Miss Kitty' onto Fortuniana rootstock. The weather seems conducive to successful propagation. Let's hope! Meanwhile I still have 2 or 3 plants that he budded last May and so they shall go on the May 2011 auction of the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society. The plants he is budding now will go on auction the following year, or perhaps will be sold next summer or fall. I have a bunch of other roses on my wish list to be propagated.

11-13-10    We had a great time at the Desert Rose Society Rose Show today. Bob and I were very successful in winning 13 trophies. Our most favorite was winning Queen of Show with my sport discovery 'Miss Kitty', a hybrid tea rose. It was an exhausting day and we are so very glad that the exhibiting year has come to an end ... until next April. 11-9-10Added many more photos of the award-winning roses to our Show Winners page. I am done feeding and spraying my roses for the year. We still might exhibit at the Palm Desert rose show this weekend if we have any roses to bring. It's 130 miles out there, so I won't go unless I have worthwhile roses. It's going to be cold all week and the nights and mornings are already well into the low 40's. It's just a tad bit warmer out in the desert. The problem with the Desert show is now that we've had the time change, it gets dark at 4:30 pm and they don't award trophies until 3:00 p.m. This means that we have to drive back with the sun glaring in our eyes, and then it gets dark before we get back home since it's at least at 2.5 hour drive each way. To be there at 6 a.m. we have to leave home in the morning at 3:30 a.m., which means getting up at 2:30 a.m. Makes for a very long day!  I feel like taking a nap just thinking about it. And we're still recuperating from the Santa Clarita Rose Show.

11-8-10A complete list of our Santa Clarita Rose Show Winners and some photos are now posted. More photos will be coming soon.

11-6-10    Today's Santa Clarita Rose Show was hugely successful. Lots of roses, lots of exhibitors, and lots of public visitors. A complete list of winners and a few photos will be posted here on Monday, but in the meantime, the winners are posted on www.roseshow.com. We extend a huge thank you to all who participated in our annual event. Especially the volunteers, the judges, the exhibitors, and our sponsors. 11-2-10Last night I started cutting a few roses, and cut some more this morning for Saturday's rose show. I don't like cutting roses this many days before the show and would rather cut them on Friday just one day before the rose show because they are the freshest then. However, it's going to be hot and windy this week so I need to hedge my bets and be assured of having something. If I am able to cut a lot on Friday, then I might discard some of the early cuttings. I only have limited space in my floral refrigerator for storage, and in my van to transport the roses to the rose show.

10-31-10    Started out this morning at 6:45 a.m. by spraying my 350 roses for the last time until I dormant spray in January. Whipped quickly through everything and was done by 8:15 a.m.  Last week Bob put a new pump in my Spray Boss so it is now in tip-top shape, just like new even though I think it's about 15 years old. There are a ton of blooms on my rose bushes right now and I should have plenty for our rose show next Saturday. Here is a video of my garden that I shot yesterday morning. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykGyl2NLUfk10-30-10 Santa Clarita's November 6th Rose Show is featured in today's The Signal newspaper, 3/4 page in full color on page 1 of the Home section, plus another 1/4 page on page 2. It's also on their website at this link: http://www.the-signal.com/section/43/article/35855/ How cool is this! Finished producing the November issue of Rose Ecstasy and hope to e-mail it to the print shop this evening. Was able to spend a little time in the garden and did some deadheading and disbudding. The garden is very clean, but still I need to spray tomorrow because the mildew is beginning to make its appearance.10-29-10Well, boys and girls, it's gonna rain again tomorrow. 80% chance according to the National Weather Service, my favorite weather website of choice. Seems to be the most accurate of all, including Yahoo and The Weather Channel. I have indoor activities planned. First up is getting the November issue of Rose Ecstasy finished and e-mailed to the print shop. Then I'm just gonna enjoy the rain from my living room window and work on my "Roses in and Out" list. This helps me to decide which roses to get rid of and which roses to plant. I'm not getting much new because I already have dozens that Bob budded on Fortuniana waiting in the wings for their turn.  It's not supposed to rain on Sunday, so if it doesn't rain, I will spray my roses for the last time this year. Later in the day I might do a bunch of deadheading (would rather do this on Saturday before spraying on Sunday but this will be dictated by the weather). And I have to take inventory of my rose cuttings and budded roses to see what shall be on the spring rose auction. I also need to wash my hair so will be too busy to go on that date. I know my priorities, and  will do what I want to do. 

10-27-10Yes, we've had 111 degree heatwaves, rain, and now of course it's time for the winds as we always have in October. For the past two days I've been deadheading off the blooms with botrytis fungus and now will remove decapitated blooms. No worries, there are plenty more blooms to come. Think positive! We pretty much have our rose show under control and ready to go. Let's hope the weather for the next 10 days is kind to us. Today I will feed my roses liquid fertilizer for the last time this season.

10-23-10     Today is the first rose show of the fall season. We managed to salvage plenty of rain soaked blooms to take to the rose show of the Orange County Rose Society.  We left home at the planned 3:30 a.m. as we wanted to get there early.  It's a good thing we left early because on the way down  they detoured us off the freeway due to construction at Sunset Blvd. Then in Seal Beach traffic came to a stop due to a downed motorcycle. It rained all the way down to Corona Del Mar. Although it wasn't raining when we got to Roger's Gardens it began drizzling by 6:30 a.m. Fortunately I had insisted on bringing our tarp and we erected it before it began raining. At the end of the day be were fortunate to win 28 trophies including Queen of Show with the hybrid tea Hot Princess, Dowager Queen with Eugene de Beauharnais, Miniflora Queen with Show Stopper, Floribunda Queen with International Herald Tribune, and Miniature King with Breath of Spring. Another favorite win was Best Single Bloom with Puanani (named for my granddaughter). Won my first Classic Shrub Certificate with Walferdange (this plant was a gift from a friend last year). A good day at the rose show! Some would call us "trophy hogs." I have a different perspective: The nearly 100 blooms we put on display provided immense enjoyment and educational value for many visitors to the rose show. 

Below is our complete list of winning roses for the day.

Queen: Hot Princess
Hybrid Tea Court: Veteran's Honor
Hybrid Tea Court: Big Time
3 Hybrid Tea Blooms: Veteran's Honor
Cycle of Bloom: Black Magic
Hybrid Tea Spray: Gemini
Floribunda Bloom: Purple Tiger
3 Floribunda Blooms: Purple Tiger
Floribunda Queen: International Herald Tribune
Floribunda King: Trumpeter
Floribunda Spray Court: By Appointment
Floribunda Spray Court: Playgirl
Floribunda Single Bloom: Puanani
Floribunda Single Spray: Playgirl
Classic Shrub: Walferdange
Modern Shrub: Evalyn Jane
Miniature King: Breath of Spring
Miniature Princess: Jilly Jewel
Miniature Court: Arcanum
Miniature Court: Bonfire
Miniflora Queen: Show Stopper
Miniflora King: Unbridled
Miniflora Court: Whirlaway
Miniflora Court: Baldo Villegas
Miniflora Court: Equinox
3 Miniflora Blooms: Louisville Lady
Fully Open Miniflora: Show Stopper
Dowager Queen: Eugene de Beauharnais

10-22-10    Spent 8 hours today cutting roses for the Orange County rose show. It wasn't an easy task because many of the blooms in my garden had botrytis fungus so many had to be dumped into the trash. It's better to cut off diseased blooms to prevent the fungus from spreading throughout the garden. At the end of the day I had almost 100 big blooms and about 50 miniatures and minifloras in my floral refrigerator. We packed the van after dinner and set the alarm for 3:00 a.m. 10-20-10Last night we had a torrential downpour with thunder and lightning. At 7:30 p.m. Bob and I were in the jacuzzi out near the patio when the lightning started. It wasn't raining yet, but within 10 minutes it had moved in quickly and the thunder and lighting was so loud that it scared me right out of the jacuzzi and into the house. It poured all night long, but so far it seems that the horrific hail storm passed us by, just missing us by several miles because news reports say the hail hit in Newhall and Valencia. We're in the northern area of Saugus. The Santa Clarita Valley consists of the towns, Newhall, Saugus, Valencia, Canyon Country, Stevenson Ranch, and Castaic. I haven't seen any damage on my rose bushes, but the blooms look soggy. Hopefully they will dry out by the rose show this weekend, but unfortunately the water on the blooms will surely cause botrytris fungus which turns the blooms brown and rots them.

10-18-10The focus this week is the upcoming rose show at Roger's Gardens in Corona Del Mar (Newport Beach) that's being hosted by the Orange County Rose Society on Saturday, October 23rd. Since it's going to be drizzly for the next few days, there isn't much to do in the garden (can't water, feed, or spray), so this is the perfect time to get organized for the work that lies ahead. My work tables in the garage and the floral fridge are ready for me to get the cut roses prepared. I will spend all day on Friday cutting roses -- IF it isn't raining that day. The roses are the freshest when they are cut the day before the rose show instead of cutting and refrigerating them all week. Although I have been known to cut and refrigerate 5 days ahead when absolutely necessary when I'm desperate for blooms. At this point, not many blooms have even opened yet except the few that opened early, so I have no choice but to wait and see. It looks like most of my roses will hit peak bloom for the Santa Clarita rose show on November 6th.

10-14-10Some roses are already beginning to bloom in my garden. Jilly Jewel, Arcanum, Miss Flippins, Butter Cream, The Squire, Kristin and Eugene de Beauharnais are the early birds. All are in containers. These were trimmed on 8/28, so next year I should wait until at least Sept 2nd to begin trimming. The problem is that we never know how the weather is going to be. This year it stayed hot longer, as evidence by 111 degrees two weeks ago, and 95 degrees this week. 

10-13-10We've had more heat this week in the mid 90's, but looks like we're gonna get a reprieve this weekend as projections look like the low 80's. Roses say "Yay!" If schedule stays open, I plan to feed the roses after I get home from work, and do disbudding as I've been constantly doing daily. The focus now is on ROSE SHOWS as I have three coming up beginning October 23rd. Of course, our Santa Clarita Rose Show gets the most attention because there is lots of work to be done. I still have to make the table cards, and confirm the catered BBQ lunch. Plus I'm beginning to work on the November issue of Rose Ecstasy. Not much time left by the end of the day. Sprinklers are set daily at 8 minutes once a day, but if the temperatures continue downward, I will adjust to every 2nd day or less, depending on the weather. Rainy days go in the OFF position.

10-10-10The Rose Society meeting today was very interesting. Phil Rogers of Corona Clippers explained how they make their awesome high quality garden tools and even showed us some prototypes of tools that won't be available until at least January 2011. Phil was very gracious to donate some Corona tools for our raffle table:  hand pruners, a long-handled tree pruner, and a bunch of tool sharpeners.We saved some of his tools for our November raffle table. His talk was very educational and members are now anxious to buy some of those new prototypes. Our refreshment table was scrumptious. Lots of baked goods from cookies, to brownies, and a yummy banana split cake. We had many potted plants on the raffle table in addition to the Corona tools.

10-9-10Spent the day on a lovely field trip with hubby Bob and friend Jan out at Otto & Sons Rose Nursery in Fillmore. They have thousands of potted roses there and during October they have their fall sale and give 40% discount on all purchases. We spent several hours out there just looking around, and enjoying the beautiful roses all in bloom. Of course, we couldn't come home empty handed. I bought two tree roses, Topsy Turvy and Outta the Blue, plus a bush rose of Sweet Intoxication. Now I just need a place to plant them. Jan got three roses too: A tree rose of Mary Rose, and two bush roses of Sweet Intoxication and The Imposter. It was hot and humid out there. Afterwards, we enjoyed lunch before coming home. 10-7-10Last night it rained in torrents. It rained so terribly hard in a short period of time that our potted roses filled to the top and spilled the mulch all over the ground. We will have to make sure to feed them again this coming weekend so they don't get chlorotic from washing out all of the nutrients. On the other hand, rains serve to flush out the built up salts from fertilizers. So in the end, the roses win. They certainly are looking lush with beautiful foliage. Let's just hope that the upcoming blooms don''t rot from botrytis, caused when opening buds get wet, especially during humid weather.

10-5-10      What is this girl doing on her birthday? Well, not much of anything, thank goodness. We are still recuperating from our week-long trip to Hawaii last week, so all I did in the garden was a little disbudding of the hybrid teas. We are still exhausted because we were on the go all week traveling on all sides of the Big Island. My workplace was deserted today as it's fall break and all of our schools are closed. Just trying to get caught up on a few things as next week at work will be a whirlwind. Meanwhile, the roses are growing like crazy so it's necessary to disbud daily after work. No need to water since it rained today but it stopped long enough for me and Bob to relax in the jacuzzi for awhile before Dancing with the Stars comes on. 10-4-10I'm glad to see that the temperature has returned to a pleasant 64 degrees (feels like 72 to me). We had a little drizzle today and the roses are loving it. Yesterday afternoon we fed the roses with half & half fish emulsion and Grow More 10-8-10, plus some iron, SuperThrive, and liquid seaweed. The roses are fat & sassy. Some of the taller hybrid teas have already spiked up to 6 feet tall again. I adjusted the automatic sprinklers down to only 8 minutes once a day, although might set it on "rain" for at least one day if the soil is still wet this evening. Sometimes when it drizzles only the foliage gets wet but the ground really isn't saturated, so care must be taken to avoid letting the rose roots from drying out, especially if your soil is very sandy like mine.

10-3-10Having been on the Big Island of Hawaii for the past week, we are now back to the real world where my 350 roses are begging for attention. Despite triple digit temperatures here this past week, the roses fared very well as Tina and Willie did a great job of keeping them watered. It looks like the roses shot up a foot since I've been gone.  I got up this morning at 6:45 am and sprayed them with Orthene for bugs and Compass for mildew to get them ready for the rose shows coming up later this month and early November.  By the way, we saw no roses on Hawaii, but we did enjoy visiting the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens, and Liliuokalani Gardens (both in Hilo). "Friends" may see photos of our Hawaii trip on my Facebook page. 9-26-10Ugh! It's going to be over 100 degrees almost every day here this week. Daughter Tina (aka Cristina Lynne) and teenage grandson Willie are going to water for me every day. Aloha and hello to a pleasant 82 degrees!9-25-10The roses are beginning to leaf out a lot faster than I had anticipated. I thought about spraying for mildew this weekend but it's going to be near 100 degrees so I decided not to spray until next weekend. However, I did notice some bug damage, I think it was a leafhopper, so I will have to deal with that next week as well. Instead, I decided to fertilize the roses this morning. They need some fish emulsion and SuperThrive to give them a kick start. Might throw some other goodies in the mix too. Actually used  a concoction of 1/2 strength each of GrowMore 20-20-20, fish emulsion, epsom salts, iron chelate, liquid seaweed, plus the SuperThrive (which is expensive but the roses love it!)9-17-10As the temperatures here continue to be in the 90-degree range, we still water the roses daily. Keep in mind that the soil in my garden is very sandy and porous, plus most of my miniature and miniflora roses are grown in pots filled with a loose potting soil. So they need to be watered more frequently than others that are grown in a clay-type soil. In about a week, as the roses begin to produce some new foliage, we will begin feeding them weekly with a liquid water-soluble fertilizer.

9-16-10     It's no wonder our roses don't get much mildew here in Santa Clarita. The humidity today is 16%, which is very dry. I'm certainly not complaining. However, this just means that the roses need to get washed down every day. Helps to prevent spider mites that also love dry weather conditions.

9-14-10    Happy Birthday, Mom. Wherever you are. I've never understood why gardeners insist on making stinky-ass alfalfa tea. What's the point? Farmers simply till freshly harvested alfalfa into the earth to rejuvenate the soil. Why punish yourself with that horrible smelling alfalfa tea. I simply apply dry hay pellets that I get from the feed store around the base of my roses. 1/2 cup for each big bush, 1/4 cup per miniature bush. Then water them in. It takes several days for the pellets to disintegrate. 9-13-10The focus this week is the Judging Seminar at the L.A. County Arboretum in Arcadia, which is being held on Saturday, September 18th. I'm one of the speakers and have prepared my PowerPoint presentation consisting of 132 slides. They only allotted me 45 minutes so I will need to talk fast. Is that possible? Focus, focus, focus and no sidebars. 

9-11-10All 350 roses in my garden have now been trimmed to encourage blooms for the fall rose shows. The first show is on 10/23/10 at Orange County Rose Society; the next rose show is at Hart Park on 11/6/10 for the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society. And the final rose show is in Palm Springs on 11/13/10. I have no information on this rose show so I hope they are still having a rose show. It will take 6 to 8 weeks for the roses to beginning blooming, depending on when each bush was trimmed.

9-9-10Only 77 more roses to be trimmed. Ten of those are large bushes and we will whip through those this evening right after we get home from work. The other 67 are much smaller minis and minifloras so we can get those done quick. They would get done even quicker if I would allow Bob to chop them with his scissor pruners. But the roses don't like that tool in the fall, so I only let him do that for the winter prune when he chops them very hard. At any rate, we should be completely finished by this weekend. Then I can concentrate fully on our upcoming trip to Hawaii. We deserve it!

9-6-10    Although the moon cycle is still in "prune to discourage growth" we pruned (trimmed actually) 20 roses as sort of a test to see how long it will take these roses to repeat bloom. I have noted this on my pruning spreadsheet. Should be interesting. Will finish pruning  (trimming) the roses this week, as the moon moves out of this "discourage growth" cycle, and will try to do 20 per day until we finish on Friday as we only have about 100 left to go. 9-5-10    Didn't prune any roses today because the Farmer's Almanac says the moon cycle is not conducive for pruning, well actually it says "Prune to discourage growth." So instead we spent most of the day in Ventura buying a new minivan to haul our roses around to rose shows. Our old van is 10 years old so it is time for a new one anyway. This was not a spur of the moment decision as I've been researching it for 7 weeks. Would have liked another Chevy Astro van again (would have been our 3rd one in 20 years) but Chevy does not make minivans anymore. So we selected a 2011 Toyota Sienna LE and got a terrific price below invoice from Ventura Toyota. Very nice people there. Got the quote online via e-mail but had to go out there to seal the deal. While the Astro van is a bit more spacious, our rose box or many crates and a large cooler will fit in the Sienna.9-4-10      We got an early start this morning and began trimming the roses at 8:00 a.m. sharp. We worked hard for 2.5 hours and had two short breaks for water and coffee. Amazingly we got through 50 bushes very quickly. We will probably take a break tomorrow because we have some other plans. Monday should be a cooler day and so we hope to get through another 50 roses then. If we make that target, then we will only have about another 125 roses to trim, which we plan to finish next weekend. Just taking it one day at a time, as we do not want or need to overdo it. 9-3-10While the throngs are heading out of town to campgrounds and beaches, Bob and I are gearing up for another weekend of rose trimming as we've been resting up for the past 3 days. We still have about 225 roses to trim so there is still lots to do. There will be time enough later for play, when in a few weeks we are going to Hawaii to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We will plan our trimming time wisely as we don't want to overdo it, especially in the heat that is projected. Just a few hours in the morning of each of the next 3 days should be plenty to get another 100 roses out of the way. Then we will still have another week to finish the final 100, which should hopefully be done by September 12th at the latest. Last year we didn't finish until September 26th which turned out to be way too late. Waste Management has delivered a second green waste recyle bin just in time to get the weekend off to a roaring start. The bins shall be full. Hats, sunscreen, and lots of water are mandatory accessories for the job at hand. If it gets too hot, we can always jump into our pool to cool off. 

8-30-10Today is mini and miniflora trimming day. Did 18 after work, some in  multiples of a variety. Behold, Kristin, Jilly Jewel, Glowing Amber,  Arcanum, Whirlaway, Show Stopper, and Memphis Music. These shall  hopefully be in bloom for the Orange County Rose Show on October 23rd.  This is just the beginning and still have over 100 more minis and minifloras to trim, to be spread out over the course of the next 10 days. At last count we had about 50 minifloras and 80 miniature roses. Saw two beautiful blooms in the garden today: Unbridled and Abby's Angel. They are two of the new minifloras that I got last year and are now beginning to produce some very lovely blooms. I hope I have some blooms like these at the rose shows.8-29-10Continued the marathon rose trimming. Put another 52 notches on our rose pruning belt. Wow! We're extremely wiped out from doing 104 roses in two days. Well, no rest for the wicked. Still have another 250 or so roses to be trimmed within the next 7 days. Need to be done by Labor Day so we will try to do a few every evening right after getting home from work. Thank goodness for the jacuzzi so we can soak our weary bods. We're not spring chickens anymore. Maybe I should hang up my rose exhibiting spurs and just be a cool and laid back rose judge at the OK corral. Nah! Still have too much adrenaline left in this spirited filly. 8-28-10The day started out at 7:56 a.m. Slept in a little late knowing we have a long day ahead. After breakfast we warmed up our muscles by going for a brisk 1-mile walk. Then Bob budded 4 more Golden Holstein because the first four croaked from last week's heatwave. Then he sharpened our cutters and we were ready to go. By 9:30 a.m. we started trimming the roses like gangbusters. It took a mere two hours flat to whip through 40 rose bushes. That's 10 bushes an hour for each of us, or an average of 6 minutes a bush. All hybrid teas and floribundas. We even did the HTs on the neighbor's side, with their permission. I can feel it in the muscles across my back and upper arms. Feels good though. Finally got to relax with a cup of coffee and started blogging here at 11:30 a.m. Plan to do the same tomorrow. We've got to take advantage of the cooler weather since it's only going to be 76 degrees today and tomorrow. Trimmed another dozen roses this afternoon after lunch and errands. I hope we have enough space in the green waste bin.8-27-10Bob and I are both chomping at the bit to begin the fall pruning of our roses. Actually, this process is just deadheading and trimming about 1/3 off of each bush, not really pruning like we do in January. We just want to get it over with because we know it will take 7 to 10 days to get through 350 roses. That's 35 roses a day boys and girls. Makes it tough to get much accomplished each day when we work away from home full time. Although we know that we need to focus on our target blooming date for our November 6th rose show, we also want to have blooms for October 23 and November 13. But it's been terribly hot this week, which is not conducive to rose trimming. As weather projections promise cooler temperatures this weekend, we are going to jump all over it tomorrow and clip, clip, clip through Labor Day. If Mom were alive, she would have a fit about the timing because she religiously followed the preferred Moon Cycles of the Old Farmer's Almanac to prune, plant, and even cut hair. The preferred moon cycle doesn't occur until mid-September. If I waited that long, I wouldn't have blooms until Thanksgiving, which would have been fine for Mom but she wasn't a rose exhibitor.

8-25-10'Gentle Annie' has bloomed and she is very pretty. This is the floribunda that I blogged about on March 4th. 'Gentle Annie' is a hot pink semi-double floribunda created by Sean McCann in Ireland (2000). At first glance she looks like 'Playgirl', but 'Gentle Annie' definitely has more petals. Her petal count is between 6 and 16, while 'Playgirl usually only has 5 petals. The 'Pink Clouds'  that Justin Ekuan used as a rootstock to bud this plant onto has proven to be very vigorous. Enough so that I had Bob bud a couple plants for next year's auction.'Pink Clouds' is a climbing mini rose that was created by Ralph Moore in 1956.  Let's hope these newly budded plants make it through this heatwave. It was 116 degrees today. 

8-24-10I'm getting very tired of this triple-digit heat. It was 108 yesterday, 108 today, and projected to be 110 tomorrow. The good news is that it's supposed to go down to the 80's this coming weekend and hopefully next week. The roses say YAY! I'm reluctant to trim any of the roses until it cools off, but will have to do those few long-cycle varieties on Thursday otherwise it will be Thanksgiving before they bloom again. I think I will just do a "deadhead" and not trim them too far down as bare canes would get sunburned. I avoid going outside during this hot weather, and wait until 7:00 p.m. to water the roses in containers. Roses don't like to be in a boiling cauldron of water.

8-23-10The Rose Judging Seminar is going to be held at the L. A. County Arboretum in Arcadia on Saturday, September 18th, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Coffee and check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. Everybody is invited to attend. It will be of special interest to Rose Judges and Exhibitors, but all rose fans are welcome. The cost is $30 including lunch. The speakers will be Kitty Belendez on "Judging the Challenge Classes and Collections"; Suzanne Horn on "Judging Miniatures and Minifloras"; Bob Martin on "Judging Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras"; and Bud Jones on "Judging Old Garden Roses and Shrubs". The deadline for sign up is September 3rd, so send your check payable to Pacific Rose Society right away. Mail to Chris Greenwood, 1029 E Woodland Lane, Glendora CA 91741. 

8-22-10   I spent half the day working on the September issue of "Rose Ecstasy." Bob worked on budding more roses onto Fortuniana rootstock. He budded 15 roses in one hour. He is getting very proficient at budding roses. Some of the roses he budded were Puanani, Gentle Annie, and others. Some for me, some for our rose auction fundraiser next May. I'm very pleased with how some of the other roses he budded earlier this year are coming along. It's going to be fun having Touch of Class and Peace on Fortuniana, which reminds me that we need to get Mr. Lincoln on the wish list. It's incredible seeing how big Francis Dubreuil and Rose de Rescht grow on this rootstock. Huge!

8-21-10    Decided  to delay trimming my roses until 8/28. Because of the heat & also a  check of last year's spreadsheet indicates that most roses take an average of  60 days. Some take much longer, eg Leander, Candyland, & Anna de  Diesbach, a few bloom sooner (some minis & other roses in pots) so  I'll adjust accordingly. Last year I trimmed too late (up to 9/28) so this year I plan to finish by 9/10 or perhaps a bit sooner. Targeting OC, SCV, and DRS shows. Another thing my spreadsheet tells me is the later the roses are  trimmed, the longer the blooms take to repeat. So, if Black Magic is  trimmed on 8/23 it repeats in 54 days, but if trimmed on  9/7 it takes  60 days, on 9/19 it repeats in 64 days (all in ground, not in pots). I  never knew this before I kept detailed weekly notes last year.8-19-10BREAKING NEWS: Have now emailed our Rose Show Schedule to all SCVRS members and have posted it to our Rose Show page. I have also updated our Trophy Sponsor page.

8-18-10I'm hoping to e-mail our rose show schedule to the printer tonight. It's finished, but I just need to quit fussing over it. If I send it off tonight, then perhaps I can e-mail it to our members and post it on our rose show page.

8-17-10    This evening we trimmed our large bush of Leander in preparation for the fall rose shows. This is the only rose that we will trim this early because it takes the longest to rebloom after pruning. This coming weekend we will start on some of the floribundas because they take longer to rebloom than the other types of roses. At month end we will attack the hybrid teas, shrubs, and old garden roses, then seque into the minis and minifloras at the end. The plan is to have everything finished being trimmed by September 10th. Last year we finished September 26th which we learned was way too late. We enjoyed a delicious tomato salad with lasagna dinner tonight. Thanks to Susan Savage for sharing her bountiful tomatoes with me and Bob. I forgot to buy lettuce so the salad consisted of several huge tomatoes, avocado, and green and black olives. Very tasty! Today I discovered quite by accident that I can update this blog from my Mac. For the past 9 years this has only been possible from a PC. Miracle of miracles! This must be part of the beta test Homestead is doing.

Here we go with the darned heat again. Yesterday it was 108. Today it's projected to be a little cooler at only 101. Hah! The roses can handle it; I cannot. My biggest worry is the 15 roses that Bob budded onto Fortuniana rootstock on Sunday (2 days ago). He budded multiples of Alysheba, Cristina Lynne, Pride of Oakland, Bill Warriner, Golden Holstein, and My Sunshine. I get the pick of the litter, then the rest will go into next year's rose auction in May 2011. We have these newly budded roses in the shade of a big rose shrub, so it's just wait and see. It will take several weeks to know if they are successful.

8-16-10 Today I’m sending budwood of ‘Cristina Lynne’ and ‘Miss Kitty’ to Steve Singer at Wisconsin Roses. Steve will bud them onto Rosa multiflora rootstock and offer them for sale later this year. ‘Cristina Lynne’ is my orange-blend sport of the red-blend floribunda ‘Pinnacle.’ It will be available in very limited supply this year because I only had 9 budeyes available on my new bush to send to Steve. There might be a waiting list. ‘Miss Kitty’ will also be in limited supply, but I sent him about 25 budeyes, and he’s had this for sale the past two years. As my mother bush of ‘Cristina Lynne’ matures, I hope to send more budeyes to Wisconsin Roses spring of 2011. I’m also hopeful to have ‘Cristina Lynne’ on the Santa Clarita rose auction in May 2011, as Bob budded two plants onto Fortuniana rootstock yesterday.

8-13-10Sorry for the delay in posting for several weeks. I've been having technical problems ever since I downloaded the last Homestead software update last month, but I finally found a work-around for it. I won't be able to make major updates for awhile. Homestead is now Beta testing their new Mac software version that I have been patiently awaiting for 9 years. Hooray! I'm anxiously looking forward to its release, which will make my life easier.  Thank you, Intuit (new owners of Homestead). All of our web pages are still working and accessible to everybody.

7-20-10I got a new garden hose today at OSH. I have 3 hoses in my yard. One on each side: the front (100 ft) , the back (75 ft), and the north side (50 ft). Each 5/8" hose has a water wand with shut-off valve attached. These hoses can easily reach everywhere within their range. And they each have their own roll-up rack. I need to be better at not letting them kink up. Even though these are the expensive "no-kink" models, they always kink up if I'm not careful. Although we have automatic sprinklers that water our lawns and most of the big rose beds, we also have about 150 potted roses that need to be hand watered, especially when it's over 90 degrees like has been recently. Bob also got a new auger for drilling holes for the new sprinklers that he will be adding to the garden. The Water Queen is very happy! Yeah!

7-19-10Finished the rose show schedule. Just waiting for the final trophy sponsors and the list of judges. Hope to take it to the printer in a couple of weeks. I'm glad that we decided to have Rattler's BBQ cater the judges luncheon again. They have such yummy food, and at a very good price. Meanwhile, Bob is overhauling the Artist Palettes and English Boxes, adding permanent stands for them so that exhibitors don't have to figure out how to put them together. Unfortunately, this will eat up more storage space in our garage. We can barely get in there now.

7-18-10We spent a few hours today checking the sprinkler system to make sure the spray pattern is correctly hitting the appropriate places in the garden. Some areas had to be adjusted a bit higher in order to hit the rose beds properly. I've been nagging Bob for years about needing a fourth station as the front is split between two stations, but the back yard is all on one station. There are too many dry spots and some of the planters have to be watered by hand. I think I have finally convinced him that we need a fourth station, so he's trying to figure out where to lay some new pipe and add some sprinklers and the fourth valve. We still have to hand water about 150 potted roses, which used to be hooked up to a drip system. That will be another project for another day.

7-13-10The Fortuniana cuttings in the misting box are coming along quite nicely. All are still green and viable and some are even beginning to take root. It will be interesting to see how they can handle the intense heat, which is projected to be in triple digits this week. The cuttings from last year that I took in the Maness and Parsoneault gardens, which we moved to 1-gallons last month, are now blooming their fool heads off. I see some I want to keep, such as Othello. The bloom is big and a deep pink (nearly red) in the heat.

7-12-10We had our rose show planning meeting today. It went very well, and our awesome volunteers have signed up for the various committees. Everything seems to be covered. We even have 10 clerks already. Now we're just waiting for the list of judges and then we can finalize the rose show schedule, which we hope to have printed and distributed by early August. We debuted our new mini/miniflora English Boxes and Silver Revere Bowls. These slightly bigger sizes will accommodate the miniature blooms as well as the bigger minifloras. And the boxes are much easier for the exhibitors to assemble.

7-9-10Not a whole lot going on in the garden these days. I decided to give the roses a liquid feeding last Tuesday. They just seemed a little bit chlorotic (yellowed foliage) so I fed them 20-20-20 plus chelated iron, seaweed extract, and SuperThrive. The chlorosis was probably caused by constant watering and our sandy soil which causes the nutrients to leach out too fast. I also applied some Nitroform 38-0-0 to the lawn to make it a bit greener. We continue to wash down the foliage of the rose bushes almost every day, which amazingly keeps the spider mites away. We've been enjoying fresh tomatoes in our salads several times a week. Our one tomato bush gets fed once a week and I have to say that the bush is loaded down with fruit.

7-3-10We did a lot of deadheading of the roses this weekend, and filled up a 55-gallon trash can. Deadheading simply means to cut off the old, spent blooms. There are two reasons to do this: 1) to encourage new buds to form; and 2) to help to control insects that live in the blooms, such as thrips, aphids, budworms, and beetles. It usually takes about 60 days for a rose to rebloom after cutting off the spent bloom. Deadheading isn't something you have to do, but if you trim off the old blooms about once a week, then you should have continous bloom production.

7-2-10Craftmaster Bob is working on a new project for our rose show. I want to keep it a secret for now, until I have a better prototype to take a photo and share (hopefully by our July 11th planning meeting). He made prototype #1 but it isn't quite right. Here's two hints ... no more tinkertoys for the little ones, and the 6-packs will be idiot-proof. This will be an improvement over the prop we currently use for this class in the rose show schedule. He doesn't have the benefit of the neighbor's workshop with all kinds of equipment ever since friend Russ moved away, so it takes longer now to produce items such as this.

6-29-10Seems like every day I find a rose in my garden that surprises and impresses me. Today it was Lavaglut, a red floribunda. This photo of Lavaglut was taken two days ago during weather that averaged in the '90s for the week, and this is its second bloom cycle of the year. This little bush is blooming it's head off and the blooms have not fried in the heat (a second bush is just beginning to bloom behind it). I grow 5 bushes of Lavaglut, 2 of which are budded onto Fortuniana rootstock. This particular bush is growing on its own roots. This is a great disease-resistant landscape rose, and a prize-winning workhorse at the rose show.

6-28-10How I spent my summer vacation: Bob and I picked up 1,500 lbs of fertilizer from the factory and lugged it in our mini-van, low-riding all the way home. Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society members were offered the opportunity to purchase this fertilizer at special factory prices. Four different fertilizers were offered, three being organic, such as liquid fish emulsion; liquid seaweed extract; and Bio Start which contains dry goodies such as blood, bone, kelp, fish, cottonseed, alfalfa, and feather meals, worm castings and mycorrhizae. Interested members pre-paid and need to pick up their orders at my house this week. I hope they come soon because I can barely get in my garage. 

6-25-10The replacement Fortuniana rootstock arrived from UC Davis and they look awesome. They are so much better than the sticks they sent several weeks ago. This time the sticks are so much more robust, longer, and straighter, which will be much better to work with for chip budding of roses. Next time I order I need to remember to order AFTER June 20th, specify the length I want (at least 16 inches so top and bottom can be trimmed so the final length of the bud stick is about 12 to 13 inches, leave on the foliage, and the diameter should be 3/8" to 1/2". After inspecting and trimming the sticks, Bob de-eyed them, and I then prepared them for placement into the mister. I scraped the ends with an X-acto knife, dipped the ends into Hormex #8, and placed them into a small 2-inch pot filled with 50%/50% blend of potting soil and perlite.

6-24-10 For those of you who think my roses are perfect, they definitely are NOT! I only wish. At this time of year it's the thrips that invade my garden. They make the rose blooms look dirty, distorted and ugly. Here is a photo of thrips damage on a rose bud. They arrive early May so to get beautiful blooms to the June 4th rose show I had to take extra measures by spraying Orthene on the blooms and applying Bayer Advanced granules on the soil of each bush. I would not advise this for the regular rose gardener or those with little kids and animals that dig and play in the garden, but only for dedicated rose show exhibitors, and then only during peak rose show season, like the month of May here in Southern California. So the thrips will have their way in my garden for about a 6-week period from mid-June through July. It's so hot during that time of year so the blooms are burnt and shrunken from the heat anyway. Beginning in August the thrips seem to disappear on their own and my rose blooms get back to normal in preparation for a spectacular fall blooming season.

6-22-10Got a call from UC Davis to say they are shipping the replacement Fortuniana rootstock. I guess I know what I'll be doing in a couple of days when the 75 sticks arrive.

6-21-10Today was my Monday off from work, as I have 7 Mondays off this summer. Slept in late (8:30 a.m., that's late for me), lolled around and had coffee and a spice muffin, then went for a 1-mile walk to work off the muffin. Took a few photos of the garden. Floribundas are beginning to bloom again. Cinco de Mayo is pretty. Most awesome in full bloom is my big bush of 'Puanani' budded onto Fortuniana rootstock. Okay, now it's time to get busy and quit goofing off. Need to do something constructive today. Applied organics on all the roses. Mixed up a big batch of Dr. Earth, Kelloggs Organics, Osmocote, Nitroform, mycorrhizae, Epsom salts, blood meal, Mills Magic, and whatever else I found leftover in the closet. It came out to about 100 lbs, so the minis got 1/4 cup and the big roses got 1 cup. Then watered everything in nicely. Went to lunch with Bob and then went to the Forest Service District Office to get our lifetime senior passes to the national parks. Spent the rest of the afternoon and evening deciding which dates and which hotels we will stay in during our upcoming trips to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Hawaii. Oh yeah, also went into the jacuzzi after dinner. All this vacation planning is exhausting work. Hooray for the jacuzzi!

6-20-10We had a lovely Father's Day breakfast with Bob, daughter Tina, and granddaughter Nani. I gave the girls big bouquets of St. Patrick and Big Time. Afterwards Bob and I did a little weeding in the garden (I love those hula hoes!), then I applied Preen (a weed pre-emergent) throughout the garden. After a little deadheading of spent blooms, we lazed in front of the TV the rest of the afternoon. Even took a little nap. It's nice to do nothing every once in a while.

6-19-10First thing this morning I worked on the rose show schedule and came up with cute cowboy titles for the arrangement section. E-mailed to Steve for review, and he likes them. Then we spent some time repotting roses, especially those that had become rootbound in small 1-gallon pots. So we moved them to 3-gallon pots to give them more breathing room. We ran out of potting soil just in time to take a break for lunch. After lunch Bob and I went to Auto Club to get information about two trips we plan to take, one in the summer to Arizona (for him), and the other one in the fall to Hawaii (for her). Of course, we are BOTH going on BOTH trips. This year is for our 50th wedding anniversary so we each get a choice. That's how our marriage has worked so well for so long ... we both get what we want. Everybody's happy!

6-17-10My bush of 'Peace' was blooming this morning. I like 'Peace' best when the blooms are  fully open with stamens showing, which I feel is its most beautiful stage. Although the tight buds can appear small, the fully open blooms are much larger. I'm glad I recently got another bush of 'Peace' to replace the one I gave away years ago. I believe this is one of the few roses that my mother grew when I was a child. I remember only two or three roses growing in her yard as most plants needed to be edible during the war years when we didn't have much money. But I do remember Mom growing 'Peace'.. In Mom's later years when they moved out to the desert, I gave her a few roses that she especially liked, such as Dolly Parton and Angel Face. She liked the fragrance of those roses.

6-15-10Today is 'Gemini' day. I brought a vase of 12 'Gemini' to the office today. Gemini sure is pretty and is very disease resistant in the garden. However, it doesn't have as long a vase life as does St. Patrick or Black Magic. Gemini on Fortuniana rootstock produces more blooms and the canes are longer. I was lucky to be able to buy Gemini, St Patrick, and Black Magic all budded on Fortuniana rootstock a few years ago from MerryGro in Florida before they went out of business. If I counted correctly, I have 8 'Gemini' bushes, 9 'St Patrick bushes', and 5 'Black Magic' bushes. It's obvious that these are my three most favorite hybrid tea roses. I also have 5 bushes of 'Hot Princess' and I like it a lot but it is much more susceptible to mildew and thrips and so it must be sprayed.

6-13-10We had a very fun rose society meeting today. About 50 members showed up to hear Burling Leong speak on propagating roses and the work she's doing at Hearst Castle. Her PowerPoint presentation was excellent with great photos of every step of the chip budding process. Then afterwards she gave a hands-on demo of both chip budding and t-budding. Burling donated a dozen plants for our raffle table, plus Karen Gubert donated 12 and Kitty donated 10 potted roses. Also, since it is Pink Rose Month, I put a big vase of 12 'Hot Princess' in a pink and white floral vase on the raffle table. So we had a very full raffle table. The refreshments were plentiful and scrumptious. We are fortunate to have Barbara Grimm as our Hospitality Coordinator this year. Elissa Siefert is doing an outstanding job as our Program Chairman, and our President Susan Savage is doing a fine job as well. The Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society is top notch!

6-11-10Yesterday I received in the mail from the ARS their 2011 Calendar. I am stoked to see that they included my photo of Yellow Lady Banks in the calendar, and it's the featured rose for March. It's the photo that I shot in Jan Parsoneault's backyard a couple years ago when it was in full bloom. I've never before seen such a spectacular Lady Banks (Rosa banksiae lutea, a species rose). About 6 months ago ARS had invited me and other photographers to submit photos for consideration to be included in their 2011 calendar. So I sent two photos of Lady Banks, one horitontal and one vertical. I never heard from them again until the printed calendar arrived in the mail yesterday. It was certainly a big surprise!

6-10-10We received the 100 sticks of Fortuniana rootstock from UC Davis, but I am extremely disappointed at the quality. The plant material they sent are not thick enough to use for chip budding. The sticks are mostly 1/8th" diameter twigs that are unsuitable for our use. They are also very crooked and damaged, because these cuttings came from the very end tips of the canes. The appropriate diameter should be in the range of 3/8" to 1/2". I called my contact at UC Davis and they have agreed to send replacements in a month or two when the plants mature. They say the thin material occurred because they had such a cold and late spring. 20% of the sticks are just barely useable so we put them into the mister and will have to throw the balance in the trash as they are simply not useable.

6-9-10We're getting together a bulk purchase from the fertilizer factory at discounted prices. This is being offered only to members of the Santa Claritia Valley Rose Society. We sent an e-mail with all the details to all members a couple days ago. The deadline is June 15 to place your orders with check to me payable to SCVRS, but preferably many of you will place your order and give me your advance payment check at the June 13th meeting. If you cannot attend the meeting, you can mail your prepaid orders to me, but I must receive them by June 15. After we go to the factory, you must pick up your purchases at my house during July. We cannot ship and we cannot buy extra for sale later. This is a one-time deal that will not be repeated again this year and all orders must be paid in advance.

6-8-10Brought a vase of 8 St Patrick hybrid tea roses to the office this morning. There are lots more where those came from since I have 9 bushes. All are on Fortuniana rootstock, except the "Monster Mother Bush," which I won in a raffle in 1994, the year before St. Patrick was officially introduced, so it only had a code number at the time. That bush was donated by hybridizer Frank Strickland at a potluck dinner hosted by the Inland Valley Rose Club. What a great way to celebrate the beginning of summer now that our schools are closed for vacation. The bright yellow blooms edged with green are a beacon of light and hope for good things to come. 

I'm looking forward to my Mondays off for the summer as we go to a 4/10 work week for the next 7 weeks. Except I chose to do 4/8 plus a vacation day every Monday because I hate long work days. Would prefer Fridays off like last year, but I didn't get a vote in the matter. So I will take Mondays and like it.

6-7-10Despite our amazing successes at the South Coast rose show on Saturday, our roses haven't really come fully into their 2nd bloom cycle. There are still a lot of green buds out there. I'm thinking that my co-workers may get some hybrid tea bouquets to enjoy this week, and for the next  few weeks as well. My two bushes of Francis Dubreuil that Bob budded onto Fortuniana rootstock a couple years ago are getting ready to blast open in all their glory. The floribundas won't be blooming again for at least several weeks.

6-5-10We woke up to the alarms at 3:45 a.m. We were out the door by 4:30 a.m. since it takes an hour to get to Palos Verdes for the South Coast Rose Society rose show. We decided to exhibit there because it's 2 hours and 100 miles closer than San Diego (twice that for round trip), which is where the other rose show is today. We brought 10 crates for the big roses, plus one 80-quart cooler filled with minis and minifloras. 

There were not many of the regular exhibitors, but more of the local exhibitors. At the end of the day Bob and I won 29 awards, including Best of Show with a vase of 3 very green 'St. Patrick' hybrid teas. They didn't give trophies, just ARS Certificates. We loved the indoor prep room that was literally 6 feet from the entry table. The room was cool, had great lighting, and they furnished tables and chairs, and water was nearby. They had coffee, cookies, and muffins for the exhibitors, and generous properties with which to work. We did indeed make some silk purses out of sows ears. We had to groom more intensively to make the roses look better. In the case of the St. Patrick I had cut them quite tight late Friday afternoon so Bob had to Q-tip them and we left them in the warm kitchen without being refrigerated to coax them to open in time for the rose show. 

Some of our other favorite wins were Floribunda King with a spray of my orange sport of the red blend Pinnacle, which I have registered in November 2009 as 'Cristina Lynne' (named after my daughter Tina); my 1992 miniature seedling of Winter Magic x Hurdy Gurdy; and of course our Queen of Hybrid Teas, the wonderful 'Gemini'. We also won Miniflora Queen with 'Dr. John Dickman', Floribunda Queen with 'Trumpeter', Miniflora English Box with 'Butter Cream', Best Polyantha with 'Verdun'; Best Modern Shrub with 'The Squire'; and Victorian Award and Most Fragrant OGR both with 'Francis Dubreuil'. All of these winning roses were cut on Friday, with the exception of Gemini which had been refrigerated for 5 days. 

6-4-10It's been terribly hot all week so this morning I started cutting roses at 6:00 a.m. before going to work. I only had about an hour so I rushed frantically around the garden. I had made a list last night of the potential candidates, and I was surprised how many blooms opened just since yesterday. Then after work I cut some more roses for two hours. Again I am amazed how many roses I was able to cut and refrigerate. I cut a lot of things I normally wouldn't. Not bad roses, just some that I normally don't exhibit.

6-3-10After looking at my garden again this morning, it appears that I may be making a lot of silk purses on Saturday. Although more work, attempting to make silk purses out of sows ears (junk) can be fun and rewarding because it gives us the opportunity to hone our skills on roses that we would normally throw in the trash. Since most of my strongest "banker" roses aren't even blooming now, this is when some of my "second string" rose varieties get to play in the game (the rose show). As they say, bring what you have and do the best you can.

6-2-10Strolled my garden this morning, wondering if I will have enough rose blooms to bother taking them to the rose show this coming Saturday. Mostly I see green buds and lush foliage in my garden. Everything is green and clean, but the blooms need another week or so to open up properly. Perhaps I might be able to dredge up something worthwhile if the heat pops them open in time. I put a few possibilities in the fridge.

5-31-10Showed the new neighbors how to use their automatic sprinklers and explained that they need to be turned on for 10 minutes every day in this heat. They fertilized their lawn last week, which almost killed it because they haven't been watering. I also offered to care for "their" roses that are planted on their side of the fence. They love the idea and even offered to pay us, but of course I said we would do it for free. They only have 10 bushes, all of which were planted by me and Bob when the previous owner lived there. She is even interested in planting more roses. I offered to give her some. She says she likes red. (Hmmm ... what shall we select?) We showed them what a "sucker" is and Bob removed it from their bush. She showed me a big bag of rose fertilizer that she had purchased and was going to dump the whole bag on these bushes (YIKES!). I gently explained that they only need 1 tablespoon once a month and the bushes need to be watered before and after being fertilized. Meanwhile we sneaked our hose over the fence and watered the neighbor's roses.

5-30-10Just puttered around the entire weekend. Did a little weeding with the hula hoe, watered every day because it was hot and windy. Checked the budded maidens and they are coming along nicely. Looks like the 2nd batch will also have at least a 75% success rate. Bob repotted a few things. Have not yet cut off the tops of the newest budded roses. Will hold off for another couple of weeks. Had to put down some gopher pellets in a few holes in the back corner. Bob refurbed the evaporative cooler that we sometimes use. We have ceiling fans in every room of the house, plus central AC, but we use the EC during the low humidity season to keep energy usage low.

5-29-10Got out of bed at 5:40 a.m. to spray the roses before it gets windy today. We have now stored the sprayer and 55-gallon drum feeder away for the summer. Will take them out again at the end of September before the fall bloom cycle begins.

5-27-10WHOA!!! ... was totally shocked today to find out the price of a 50 lb. sack of Osmocote 14-14-14 fertilizer has increased nearly 50% in one year. At Western Farm Service (now called Crop Production Services) a bag skyrocketed from $53 to $77. Even worse, a Google search on the Internet brings the price of Osmocote to $109 at Amazon (via A.M. Leonard) or $129 at Ebay, or $155 at Esbenshades Garden Center, PLUS SHIPPING. Too expensive for my budget! Appears that Scotts has now bought up most of the fertilizer companies so now that they think they have a corner on the market (a monopoly), they have raised all their prices. They now own Scotts, Osmocote, Bandini, MiracleGrow, and Ortho to name a few. My money is NOT going to Scotts and their brands anymore. Crap, even Supersoil and Whitney Farms have been bought up by Scotts. What a bunch of fertilizer! Will stick with Kelloggs and GrowMore from now on.

5-26-10Fed the roses Magnum Grow and Fish Emulsion today after work (half strength each, for a total of 100% strength). Also added SuperThrive, Grow More Chelated Iron, and liquid kelp to the mixture. No more liquids until September. Nothing wrong with liquids, I just prefer to put down granular and organics over the summer, a sort of grab bag of whatever I have laying around in the closet. Granular and organics take longer to break down, so it actually lasts longer. Besides it's actually quicker to put down the granular than setting up the 55-gallon drum. Liquid takes 90 minutes, granular takes 30 minutes to feed 350 roses. And during the summer it's so hot that I want to get in and out of the garden as quickly as possible. Now I'm wondering how I'm going to fit 100 Fortuniana cuttings into my small misting box when they arrive next week since I already have a bunch of cuttings in there. Well, I'll just have to cram them in there the best I can.

5-25-10Today I mailed my order to UC Davis for 100 sticks of Fortuniana rootstock. I'm excited and look forward to them arriving in a couple of weeks. Bob has the mister refurbed and ready to go. I tried to order the sticks 4 weeks ago but my buddy there said the wood wasn't ready yet because of the cold spring. When the wood is too green they don't root well. So I waited until now. Fortuniana needs lots of sun to encourage quick root growth. They will be well-rooted and ready to bud by late October.  Meanwhile, I've begun my "Budding Wish List" of roses for Bob to bud. Bob is the "Master Budder" (now that he has accomplished a 75% success rate) and I get to pick whatever I want budded, select the eyes and matching rootstock, label the plants and get them into the mister. I root the rootstock and anything else I want to propagate on their own roots (95% success rate), and generally supervise the entire budding process. We make a great team!

5-24-10My roses have all been deadheaded (spent blooms trimmed off) and are preparing for their 2nd bloom cycle which should hit mid-June. I sprayed Banner Maxx Fungicide last Friday (plus included Response liquid seaweed into the spray mixture) so everything looks pretty clean. I will again spray fungicide this coming weekend (probably Compass this time) plus will add an insecticide and/or miticide. That will be the last time I spray the roses until late September. Meanwhile, I plan to liquid feed the roses this week if the rain doesn't dampen the schedule. After that, the emphasis will be monthly applications of dry/granular organics until fall. Bob already applied the alfalfa pellets last week.

5-18-10Today I went "shopping" in Karen's garden. By "shopping" I mean I took cuttings. Of course, she gave me permission, and she was there supervising me. She gave me a "shopping list" in advance. She has a neat Excel spreadsheet listing all her roses. I will root these cuttings and have them on next year's fundraising auction. This time I was interested in obtaining polyanthas, shrubs, and old garden roses. Karen has an awesome collection of unusual roses. Some of the roses I got were Doc, Snow White, Urdh, Bouquet Parfait, Sweet Pea, Panache d'Orleans, Too Cute, Autumn Damask, and a bunch of other stuff. I'll be rooting cuttings from my own garden as well. And Bob will be custom budding some of the bigger roses such as floribundas and hybrid teas onto Fortuniana rootstock. These plants will be grown for a year and then put on our auction list.

5-16-10Spent half the day finishing the June issue of "Rose Ecstasy". I'm really looking forward to putting this issue to bed, because then I have the entire summer off. The next newsletter will be September. I already have things lined up to keep me out of trouble. Today, Bob finished working on the swimming pool filter, so we kept out of each other's way. Then he budded 6 more roses for me, which is now the last of the Fortuniana rootstock until I receive my new order from UC Davis in a few weeks.

5-15-10Got up at 6:15 a.m. this morning and sprayed all of the roses. Bob had to do quick maintenance on the fly ... the hose for the pump sprayer came loose and was spewing chemicals. Fortunately this happened when I was almost done spraying. He fixed it, and then I finished up. Spent the rest of the day working on "Rose Ecstasy" and doing weekly errands, you know, all that not so fun stuff such as marketing and laundry. Enjoyed BBQ and jacuzzi in the evening. Our treat for a long day of work. We do love that jacuzzi! Every serious gardener should have one.

5-14-10We've been deadheading our roses all week as soon as we get home from work. "Deadheading" simply means trimming off all the spent blooms. This will hopefully encourage another bloom cycle and help to control thrips. Tomorrow I will get up at 6:00 a.m. and spray all the roses with insecticide, miticide, and fungicide all combined. I feel doubtful that my roses will rebloom in time for the June 5th rose show, but they will certainly be blooming sometime in June. I will try to spray one more time in two weeks, and then the roses will be left to their own devices over the summer. Just water, water, and more water with the water wand to keep spider mites under control. I plan to order rootstock from UC Davis in a few weeks.

5-12-10We fertilized all of our roses after we got home from work today. It only took 1-1/2 hours to do all 350 roses. Not bad considering we applied 220 gallons of mixture containing Grow More and fish emulsion (each at half strength), epsom salts, iron, SuperThrive, and liquid kelp. Of course, we use a pump and a 55-gallon barrel (filled four times) to get the job done. Saves a lot of wear and tear on the body.

5-9-10After going out to breakfast with daughter and grandkids, Bob and I had intentions to do some work in the rose garden. I did a little deadheading and Bob did a little repotting. We pooped out early about 1:00 p.m. and took the rest of the day off and rested. We were simply worn out from yesterday. Besides, it got very cold and windy today and we didn't want to risk getting sick. Glad there isn't another rose show until next month, but don't know if we will have more roses blooming by then or will have to wait for the fall rose shows.

5-8-10Up at 2:00 a.m. to get dressed and get the roses packed into the van. Got to Bakersfield about 5:00 a.m. for the Kern County Rose Show, but couldn't start preparing them until 6:00 a.m. when the vases and water arrived and they opened the doors. As usual, we had to prepare the roses outdoors. Got finished at 9:45 a.m., but still had roses left over, just not enough time to enter everything we brought. Went to breakfast with friends Lynn, KC, Gerry, Ron and Modine. They opened the show around 1:00 p.m. and we found out we had won many trophies. My favorite wins were my Seedling Fabulous! x Fabulous!, and also Hybrid Tea King called 'Red Intuition.' Other wins included Miniflora Queen, King, and Princess, Best Shrub, and a bunch of other stuff. Oh, what the heck, I will just post photos of Bob and Kitty's winning roses here.

3 Floribunda Sprays:  Sexy Rexy 
3 Miniflora Blooms:  Whirlaway 
3 OGRs <1867:  Yolande d'Aragon 
3 OGRs >1867:  Rose de Rescht 
3 Polyantha Sprays:  Lullaby 
3 Shrub Sprays:  Fair Bianca 
Hybrid Tea King Let Freedom Ring 
Hybrid Tea Princess:  Red Intuition 
Hybrid Tea Court:  St. Patrick  (I forgot to get its picture)
Floribunda Challenge:  Europeana, Fabulous!, Golden Holstein, Lavaglut, Sexy Rexy 
Shrub Spray:  Molineux 
OGR English Box:  Yolande d'Aragon 
Seedling:  Fabulous! x Fabulous! 
Floribunda Court:  Puanani 
Floribunda Princess:  Fabulous! 
Miniflora Queen:  Foolish Pleasure 
Miniflora King:  Whirlaway 
Miniflora Princess:  Dr John Dickman (somebody snapped its head off before I could get a photo)
Miniflora Court:  First Choice 
Miniflora Court:  Louisville Lady 
Miniflora Spray:  Leading Lady 
Most Fragrant Rose:  Rose de Rescht 
OGR Challenge:  Baronne Prevost, Marchesa Boccella, Rose de Rescht, Sidonie,Yolande d'Aragon 
Victorian Award:  Rose de Rescht 
Blue Ribbon  Miss Kitty (she only won a blue ribbon -- pretty good for being refrigerated 6 days)

5-7-10Worked hard in the garden all day from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. cutting roses and getting them ready for the Kern County Rose Society rose show that is being held in Bakersfield. We have 14 crates and 2 coolers of roses to bring to the rose show. I didn't count them exactly, but I estimate that we are bringing about 250 rose stems to the show. 

5-2-10The Rose Auction & Mardi Gras Party  was a great success with about 45 people in attendance. We netted $2266, which will help to pay for our November Rose Show. Per our tradition we will have the best trophies in the Southwest. All will be high quality crystal including Waterford for all the Queens. Big spender of the day was member Geri McCarron who came all the way from San Diego for these special roses. Highest bidder for one rose was Candy LaChance for the shrub rose Perdita that Bob Belendez custom-budded on Fortuniana rootstock. 

The party was lively and fun. Bob Martin, as our auctioneer, did an outstanding job in whipping through all those roses in two hours flat. The information he gave about each rose was detailed, fun, and educational. Karen's garden was beautiful as always, and in tip-top shape. 

A special thanks to Karen & George Gubert for letting all us rose nuts invade their home and garden once again. And the weather couldn't have been more perfect. Jan Parsoneault was cute and scantily clad as a ... shall I say "tart" with fishnet stockings and golden slippers. Most everybody wore Mardi Gras beads in the traditional gold, green, and purple colors. The food was delicious and much was authentic cajun. Somebody made some spicy hot cajun stew, we had lots of shimp, and a lovely cajun bread pudding with bourbon sauce. We had so many helpers (Judy Klements, Elissa Siefert, and others) who helped out with food, decorations and set up too. Bob Belendez and Todd Siefert wrangled the roses, while Kitty Belendez and Candy LaChance tallied the purchases and collected the money. A special thanks to our Hospitality Coordinator Barbara Grimm who went above and beyond in coordinating all the food and then cleaned it all up afterwards!

5-1-10Elissa and her son Todd, plus two friends came over and picked up the 100 potted roses for tomorrow's Rose Auction & Mardi Gras Auction at Karen's house tomorrow. Wow! Our garden almost looks naked with all those roses gone from our yard. In the afternoon, friend Jan brought Mardi Gras shirts and decorations for me and Bob to wear tomorrow. 

4-30-10The miniflora roses have finally developed into favorites in my garden. They now earn their space. Especially varieties such as Dr. John Dickman, Whirlaway, and Butter Cream. However, they do take more space since they are bigger, so they need a larger container. If I had the space, I would grow them in the ground. Last weekend Whirlaway won Miniflora Queen for me and Bob. Some of my other favorites are Leading Lady, Robin Alonso, Equinox and Abby's Angel.

4-28-10Only 4 more days until our annual Rose Auction & Mardi Gras Party. Members of any rose society may attend as long as they RSVP to Barbara Grimm. I will be so glad when those 100 potted roses are moved out of my driveway on Saturday and head to Karen's place. The auction on Sunday is going to be a ton of fun. Even the numbered auction cards have a cute Mardi Gras graphic on them. I've got my Mardi Gras beads all polished and ready to go. And a funky hat too. The weather will be a perfect 80 degrees. The food is always yummy too. 

4-26-10Now it is time to concentrate on our big fundraiser of the year, our Annual Rose Auction and Mardi Gras Auction, which will be held at Karen Gubert's place on Sunday, May 2nd, at 2:30 p.m.. More on this soon.

4-25-10This was a very busy weekend indeed. We got up at 6:15 a.m. and sprayed the roses. This took 1-1/2 hours. After a quick shower, we had breakfast of ham & eggs at Mimi's then went to the first garden tour of the day at 9:00 a.m. at the home of Jim and Karen Degnan in Castaic. A large and beautiful garden. At noon it was time to visit the second garden at the home of Charles & Susan Maness in Saugus. Another lovely garden, and very fragrantly filled with antique roses and English shrub roses. The weather was perfect and so it was a huge turnout from members and guests. Both gardens were meticulously groomed and offered yummy refreshments. I took photos and will post them soon on our Rose Garden page

4-24-10Woke up at 3:30 a.m. to pack the roses into the van and head for the Pacific Rose Society rose show. We met friend Jan at 4:15 a.m. at the Shell station so we could caravan. Bob and I had 14 crates of roses, and I estimate that we brought nearly 200 roses of all types to enter into the rose show. We arrived at the show site about 5:00 a.m. and finished entering our roses at 10:00 a.m., which was the deadline. Then we went to breakfast with friends. We could have entered a few more roses but ran out of time. Bob and I won 16 trophies for the day. It was a long day, so when we got home we watered the roses, went out to dinner, then into the jacuzzi and to bed early for another big day tomorrow. No rest for rose nuts. Click here for photos of the Pacific Rose Society Rose Show.

4-23-10Spent 10 hours in my garden today, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., cutting roses, cleaning them, and storing them in the floral refrigerator. Getting ready for the big rose show at Pacific Rose Society tomorrow.

4-22-10After work we spent two hours coralling all the potted roses for next week's rose auction. The potted roses were all over my yard, front and back. So we had to bring all 100 roses up front.  Somehow this felt like herding cats, as they were everywhere. Fortunately, I had the auction list so at least I knew what I was looking for. Bob was trying to bring some of MY roses up front for the auction. I had to watch him like a hawk as he would love to downsize our garden. But we promised our board that we would keep the number of plants on the auction to 100 as the auction takes several hours as it is. Have to save time for the Mardi Party after the auction.

4-20-10We had a spectacularly fun time at the District Rose Convention at Tucson last weekend. Bob and I won 8 trophies. The Awards Banquet was fun, and we enjoyed seeing five beautiful gardens near Tucson. The best trophy was the Hershey Bowl because it is only offered in the Pacific Southwest District once every 17 years. I was surprised that we were able to bring so many roses, but I harvested my garden for 10 hours the day before we left for Tucson. The fridge was so full that we couldn't get all the roses into the van so we had to pack the roses a different way, in buckets instead of tubes, in order to get them to fit into our special ice box. Then it was a 8-hour drive to Tucson (each way). The hotel at the DoubleTree was very nice. We only have a couple of days to recuperate before the next show at the Pacific Rose Society this coming weekend. Thank God for our jacuzzi! But uh-oh, rain is coming.

4-12-10As expected, it rained cats and dogs last night. The rose blooms were drenched so there was no point in trying to cut any roses this morning before going to work. I probably won't even try to cut anything until Wednesday when the roses will hopefully not be so wet. However, after work I will do a little disbudding of any promising blooms. Not really much to deadhead at this point. On the other hand, the foliage looks terrific! Very green and clean in the front yard. The back yard is a different story. We get so much more mildew in the back yard because the swimming pool produces a more humid environment even though the entire yard is in full sun all day and there is plenty of air circulation.

4-11-10It's going to rain tonight and tomorrow, in fact we had a very light mist this morning, so I got a head start and started cutting roses and put them in the floral fridge. If they hold up, they will be used at the rose show next weekend. Tonight's rain will rot and ruin any blooms on the bush tomorrow. But hopefully I can cut some more blooms on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Being so cold this week, I don't think there there will be many appropriate blooms to cut from my garden this week. But I never give up hope and will cut whatever we have and will attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear if need be.

We had a great turnout at our Santa Clarita Rose Society meeting today. Nearly 40 people, and our speaker Scott Klittich was awesome. He brought four 5-gallon potted roses for our raffle table, so along with our goodies our raffle was very successful. The roses Scott donated were Ch-Ching, Cinnamon Girl, and two other new roses whose names escape me at the moment. Oh, a big lavender very fragrant grandiflora that made me swoom. I didn't win anything, but one of the members gave me the collector's plate featuring the "First Edition" rose that I wanted. It's going on the wall in my computer room. 

4-10-10    This afternoon we fed the roses with liquid Dr. Earth and some Magnum Grow, 1/2 strength each. Added some SuperThrive of course. This stuff is too expensive ($128 per gallon last time I bought it several years ago) but my roses are worth it.

4-9-10    Got up at 6:30 a.m. this morning and sprayed the roses with Banner Max and Avid. I need to spray now because I won't be able to next weekend with the rose shows starting. Also, It's supposed to rain on this coming Sunday, so I wanted to get ahead of the game. I also tested some E-Rase fungicide on my most mildew prone roses. E-Rase is made from jojoba oil. So far, it doesn't look impressive, but I will wait and see. It needs to be sprayed every few days. I have a 1/2 gallon sprayer especially for this.

4-8-10    I'm thinking the best name for my new sport is "Bipolar."  It's a mutation from the solid red Memphis Magic. Of course, it probably won't remain stable and will revert to the solid or a regular striped like Memphis Music. But it was fun to see.

4-5-10    It is indeed raining today. Well, it was actually POURING on my way to work, and my windshield wipers could barely keep up with the rain. I can see that I will spend all day inside, and there will be no gardening after work.

4-4-10    We fed the roses this afternoon even though we know it's going to rain tonight and tomorrow. The water soluble fertilizer will have about eight hours to soak in and be taken up by the roses before it rains. I used Magnum Grow and Fish Emulsion (both at half strength) plus Response, SuperThrive, zinc, and chelated iron. The rains will enhance the growth of the roses as long as it rains no more than a day or two. Too much rains might bring blackspot, downey mildew, or anthracnose diseases. I will definitely have to spray fungicide again next weekend. After we finished fertilizing, Bob planted several roses (Marilyn Wellan, Artic Circle, and Pink Promise) while I weeded a little bit with the hula hoe. 

We propageted the "Swirly Magic" sport today. Bob budded one budeye onto Fortuniana rootstock, and I took a cutting and put it into a pot covered with a glass bottle. We left several eyes intact on the bush to see if the stem will bloom again like this. Odds are probably not (it will probably revert to solid red) since this particular rose isn't stable and has produced color sports before. But it's fun trying.

4-3-10We sprayed the roses with Compass and Orthene this morning. Got up at 6:30 a.m. to get it done while the air is still. It's been two weeks since I last sprayed so I see some mildew on the more mildew-prone varieties. This is the time of year that we must prevent mildew weekly during the fast spring growth. I was out of town visiting our son last weekend so had to miss spraying. Now I have to make up for lost time. Unfortunately, some varieties, like the mildew indicator Conundrum, never can stave off the mildew.

4-2-10We continued to disbud the hybrid teas and some of the miniature roses on a daily basis as we've been doing all week long. This will encourage big central blooms. Rose shows will disqualify roses that have side buds or even side growth foliage, so it's best to get it off early. 

During our rounds in the garden this week I came across a sport in the garden. We found it on the miniflora Memphis Magic which is normally solid red on the top petals with pale yellow underneath each petal. This sport is a mutation that is swirled solid dark yellow with solid velvety red. It is very unusual.

4-1-10Bob was finally released by the doctor to return to work after two weeks recuperating from surgery and complications, requiring a second surgery. He is happy to be back working, but was so tired at the end of the day that he went to bed at 8:30 p.m.  

3-26-10    Today I will mail the printed copy of the April  Rose Ecstasy via U.S. Mail. Last night I e-mailed the full-color copy to all of our members. This morning I posted our full-color Rose Auction Catalog to our Events Calendar (see May).

3-25-10    Our son Rob was finally released from the hospital this evening after spending 10 days in ICU (7 days on life support) and another four days in a regular room. Although vastly improved from when he was admitted on 3-11-10, he still has a lot of healing to do. First priority is to have dialysis 3 days a week until such time his kidneys might begin functioning properly. His lungs still aren't operating at full capacity, but they are much improved. His four young sons and his wife are happy to have him home again. Mom & Dad look forward to visiting with them.

3-23-10    During Bob's time off from surgery these past two months, he's been able to just relax and catch some rays of sunshine in the backyard while he recuperates. Now that he can walk around a bit, he has been disbudding the hybrid teas (removing side growth with his fingers) from the long-stemmed roses. This is a tedious (but NOT strenuous) job that we usually can't find the time to do. But it keeps him busy and helps to pass the time until he heals and returns to work next week. 

3-21-10    We've had several family crises this year, so it's been tough to pay as much attention to my roses as I should be. Despite that, my roses are looking pretty good and today we fed them with a concoction of fish emulsion & Grow More 20-20-20 (both at half strength) plus some epsom salts, chelated iron, and liquid kelp.

3-20-10    Bob and I celebrated our 50th Anniversary today. We didn't do anything special other than our usual Saturday night steak BBQ and relaxing in the jacuzzi, but hope to take a couple of special trips this year. Personally, I'm not really keen on traveling, but he is. I guess I'm more of a nester but we're still hoping to go to Tucson for a few days in April if things settle down here and life gets back on track.

3-19-10The Rose Auction catalog is almost finished. It includes nearly 100 roses, all with full color photos and descriptions. This was a huge project and I will be glad when it is done. Just doing some proofreading and then we will release it for publication in a couple weeks. The auction is scheduled for May 2nd at Karen Gubert's place. It will be combined with a Mardi Gras party. Bob Martin will be our auctioneer.

3-18-10    We finally got some nice sunshine this week with temps around 78. This caused the maiden budded roses to quickly push out new growth. Some even have 1-inch of new growth already. At a quick glance it looks like we have at least 90% success rate. I don't know what I'm going to do with all these roses, because we're so accustomed to throwing away 90% that were unsuccessful.

3-13-10    I sprayed the roses again this morning. This is not what I wanted to do, but what a dedicated rose exhibitor MUST do to keep the foliage and blooms perfectly clean and free of mildew, aphids, and green bud worms. Gardeners who don't look so closely at their roses like I do don't need to spray, because for the general landscape gardener the color is just as pretty.

3-8-10    Brrr, baby it's cold outside. High today was 51 degrees. Breezy too. I sure hope the "breeze" doesn't rip the delicate new rose foliage. The rose auction is coming along nicely. With this cold weather who wants to go outside and work in the garden? Not me! The time (after work) is better spent on producing an informative rose auction catalog for our May 2nd fundraiser. We will offer nearly 100 roses, some so rare that I've never even heard of them before. Like the climber from Cliff Orent's EuroDesert Roses called Ceske 'Praci cest, a hybrid musk called Art Deco, and the one I'm lusting after called Mrs. Robinson (Cliff's floribunda creation).

3-7-10    I found out today that the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society will have a second rose garden on tour on April 25th. In addition to the Maness Garden in Saugus, we will also have the Degnan Garden in Castaic. Both will be amazing, and I'm excited to be able to take photos on garden tour day. Each garden is an ever-changing palette of color.

3-6-10I was a dutiful rosarian and jumped out of bed at 7:00 a.m. even though I had planned to sleep in until 8:00 a.m. I checked the weather reports and it says it won't rain until 4:00 p.m. but will rain tomorrow. So I went out and sprayed the roses with the fungicide Compass and the insecticide Merit. I whipped quickly through the job and was finished by 8:30 a.m. However ... by 11:00 a.m. it started to rain. Hopefully, the systemic material had enough time to dry before it rains. Otherwise, it might have been a complete waste of my time. I will need to spray again next week (if it doesn't rain) because I can see some mildew and aphids on the roses already.

3-4-10I received a plant of 'Gentle Annie' sent to me in the mail by a friend. It's a floribunda that looks similar to Playgirl except perhaps a few more petals and a more vivid pink (if that's possible). This rose is very hard to find and I've been looking for it several years. Justin obtained a plant from a friend of a friend, then budded it onto 'Pink Clouds' a climbing miniature rose that Ralph Moore used for rootstock. Justin remembered that I was looking for Gentle Annie. Rosarian friends are the best!

3-3-10It is time to spray preventative fungicide for my roses. I know this because the #1 indicator plant, Conundrum, is showing signs of mildew. Glowing Amber is the #2 indicator, and it has a touch of mildew too. I should have sprayed last weekend but it rained heavily on Saturday, and the bushes were still too wet on Sunday. Instead,  on Monday I sprayed Green Cure (baking soda type) on the indicator plants until this coming weekend when I plan to spray Compass fungicide as well as Merit insecticide for the aphids which are also making their grand appearance. I hope it doesn't rain this coming weekend.

2-28-10Today we went to a lovely 75th birthday party of Yu-Lan Friebergs who lives in Pasadena. She has a lovely garden containing all types of lovely plants. Not only roses, but succelents and exotic plants. In particular, we enjoyed the lavender Chinese Magnolia that was in full bloom. The weather was perfect and we enjoyed gourmet finger foods, and met Yu-Lans many friends and family.

2-27-10While doing research for an article I'm writing on floribundas, I was surprised to learn from old documents that my very first floribunda was 'Playgirl', which I obtained growing on its own roots from Sequoia Nursery in 1988. I still grow 'Playgirl' although my two plants are now budded onto Fortuniana. Coincidentally, this evening we took our granddaughter Puanani out for her 25th birthday dinner. In 1992 I had found a light pink sport on 'Playgirl' which I propagated, registered and named in honor of her: the rose is named 'Puanani.'

2-20-10 I wanted to wait until March 1st, but I couldn't stand waiting any longer, so today I cut off the tops of many of the roses that Bob had budded on Fortuniana rootstock at the end of November. They are just barely starting to push out the budeyes, but hopefully by cutting off the top of the rootstock this will encourage the hybrid eye to grow. So far, 95% of the 36 roses Bob budded at the end of November and the first week in December are still viable.

2-16-10I always find it amazing what a small world it is, and the various people who are hooked on roses. From all walks of life, and all ages. Although our group seems to have an unusually high number of teachers and nurses, we also have doctors, actors, homemakers, artists, office administrators, landscapers, bartenders, sales personnel, chemists, construction workers, airline executives, truck drivers, factory workers, and attorneys. Oh, yes, and retirees too. This eclectic group never ceases to amaze me. We all have one thing in common: The love of roses!

2-15-10What a lovely day! It was sunny and 75, perfect for working in the garden. I weeded and then applied Preen, a weed pre-emergent to help prevent weed seeds from germinating. Because we faithfully use our handy dandy hula hoe at least once a month and apply Preen quarterly, we really didn't have many weeds to dig up. Later in the afternoon, I updated our rose auction list and the total is now 106 roses. I plan to pare that number down to less than 100, so that we can have time to Party Mardi after the auction at the Guberts. Bob Martin has agreed to be our Auctioneer.

2-14-10Our Rose Society meeting at the Senior Center turned out nicely. A small group of only 35, but everybody generously brought Valentine goodies to share, so our refreshment table was overflowing with the most yummy treats I have ever seen. Our speaker, Suzanne Horn, did a lovely job with her PowerPoint presentation featuring "The Rapture of Miniature Roses." Thanks to everybody who arrived early to help set up the meeting room as Bob is still healing from his surgery. 

Today we had 2,018 hits on our website -- a new all-time record for one day!

2-12-10The hybrid tea roses have been planted at Hart Park. I'm very excited and look forward to seeing them in full bloom at the end of April. The varieties donated by Weeks Roses are Over the Moon, Stainless Steel, St. Patrick, Memorial Day, Honor, Falling in Love, Let Freedom Ring, and Mellow Yellow. We laid them out in three beds. Two beds contain the pastel colors, and one big bed will be the bright colors. It should look gorgeous come Mother's Day and the June weddings.

2-10-10Received 15 rare and unusual roses from Cliff Orent of EuroDesert Roses today. These roses will be included on the Santa Clarita Rose Society Rose Auction & Mardi Gras Party on May 2nd. Our Auction List is rounding out quite nicely. We depend on the generosity of fine rosarians such as Cliff. We has a rare and eclectic collection of roses that he has imported from all over the world. Our Mardi Gras party will be a lot of fun. I encourage all of our members to attend and bring their friends, family, and neighbors (although the event is not open to the public)

2-9-10Bob had surgery today. Although very invasive, he didn't have to stay overnight at the hospital, and is now on the mend. We were at the hospital from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm most of the time in the prep room, then recovery room, then waiting for a room where they prepped him for check out. The surgery itself only took a little over an hour. It was a long day. Fortunately he didn't have unbearable pain afterwards. He just needs time to heal. No digging, planting, lifting nor heavy excercise for awhile. 

2-7-10The bareroot roses arrived from Weeks Roses a few days ago. They've been soaking in barrels until we can get them to Hart Park where they will be planted. Weeks Roses generously donated them to Hart Park, thanks to Tom Carruth. Today we laid out the beds at Hart Park with landscape flags so that the park crew can plant the roses in the locations indicated. Tomorrow the roses will be delivered to Hart Park.

2-6-10We went to the Pacific Rose Society auction today. It rained all the way down there. They had a good turnout, perhaps as many as 50 people. The plants were mostly bareroot, and just a few in pots. I estimate they had 400 plants. I got a few things for myself, and four plants for the Santa Clarita Auction as well. The refreshments were scrumptious, and Bob Martin did a great job as auctioneer.

2-3-10Despite frost almost every morning for the past several weeks, the roses are beginning to leaf out and most plants have one to two inches of new growth. The potted rose maidens that Bob budded onto Fortuniana rootstock late November and early December are brought out of the garage every morning so they can get sun during the day. They are kept on a cart so they can be easily rolled out and returned back to the safety of the garage at the end of the day. We will probably continue this procedure until the maidens have new growth, which we expect in March.

1-31-10The board of directors of the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society held our annual planning meeting today. All but one of the 13 board members attended. We accomplished a lot in 3 hours. Of significance is that our Annual Rose Auction will be held at George & Karen Gubert's place on May 2nd. We will have a Mardi Theme and Bob Martin will be our Auctioneer. We planned our spring garden tours, and made a huge decision to go totally electronic with "Rose Ecstasy" bulletin beginning November 1, 2010. Those wishing to get a printed copy mailed to them will need to pay an extra $9 fee. Membership dues will remain at $20 per year (plus $9 for those wanting the bulletin mailed.)

1-28-10Not much going on in the garden right now. The roses are beginning to grow and some have an inch or two of new foliage. I believe that the rain has flushed out the soil, which is good for the roses. Rain is good, but if it rains to much there is the danger of providing an environment for the dreaded downy mildew. I will keep a close watch on the foliage for the ugly purple blotches and subsequent leaf drop which is an indication of downy mildew. This is not the same as the white powdery mildew which is easier to control with fungicide spray. Downy requires a soil drench with a different chemical. I still have some Subdue in my pesticide closet. I've only had to use Subdue twice in the past 15 years, and only during heavy rain years (rare in SoCal).

1-25-10It was a lovely weekend. No rain but still very cold every day. On Saturday I finally finished the February newsletter. Sunday was a fun day with friends Susan, Candy, Charles, and Ingrid. We went to the Great Rosarians of the World Conference at the Huntington in San Marino. Although we were disappointed that David Austin was unable to appear in person because of health issues, we had great speakers and a lovely lunch nonetheless. Michael Marriott spoke on David Austin's behalf. And we saw a video interview that Clair Martin filmed last summer. Mike Shoup of the Antique Rose Emporium gave a great talk on the Texas Rose Rustlers and his nursery. Ingrid and I both won a raffle prize. Bob didn't want to go,. so he stayed home and repotted roses and applied alfalfa pellets and epsom salts to all the roses. His reward for getting to stay home, and my reward for having to drive the gang to the event. See our new Rose Gallery.

1-22-10It's been raining all week and very cold. Really couldn't do much except go to work. The nights were extremely cold (in the 30's) and we had frost on the lawns every morning. We were careful to bring the "babies" (the maiden budded roses) into the garage every night. 

1-15-10I'm looking forward to a long weekend, although it's supposed to rain so we might not be able to get everything done in the garden that needs doing. We still have to apply mulch, Preen, granular fertilizer, and repot some rootbound roses. I'd also like Bob to bud a few more roses if we can find some appropriate budwood on the pruned roses. Bill Warriner, Brass Band, and Pink Gruss an Aachen are going downhill and need to be put on Fortuniana before they decline to the point of no return. There are some old roses that need digging up too. However, most of the weekend will probably be spent working on the rose society newsletter, which needs to be sent to the printer by Monday.There is never boredom here. Sometimes I yearn for the good old days when we did nothing but watch old movies on a Sunday afternoon. But I know that our busy life keeps the both of us young in mind, body, and spirit.

1-14-10A quick check of the roses that Bob budded on Fortuniana between Thanksgiving and December 6th reveals that they are looking very good. So far, 100% are still viable. This is the new procedure that Burling Leong taught Bob how to do when we were at the National Convention in Palm Springs. Still too soon to get excited but we should know for sure in a few more weeks.

1-13-10They were filming NCIS in a building next to my office today. They leased part of our parking lot for their craft station (the caterers and tents for serving the actor's and crew's meals). I saw Mark Harmon walk past my office window three times today, about 6 feet away on his way to eating breakfast and lunch. He sure is "pretty," he's friendly and has a nice smile. He seems to be a "regular guy" that hangs out with the crew. The parking lot and street were chaos all day. I got to work at 7:00 a.m. to make sure I got a parking spot as their trucks, tents, and catering got there at 5:00 a.m. and took up most of our parking lot. It was a distraction for most of us "girls" all day. I lead a sheltered life, so this was an exciting day. :-)

1-11-10This week my evenings (after work) are crammed full of judging hundreds of digital photos for the ARS Photo Contest. This is a huge, huge job and very time-consuming. But they only gave us 10 days to get it all done (in between a full time job, caring for 350 roses, and producing a rose society newsletter). At first it was very overwhelming, but it got easier once I got organized and figured out a procedure to cull and rank the photos. I'll be glad when I get finished, because I really need to get busy on the February newsletter. I need a new hobby. Like snorkeling at the beach in Hawaii.

1-10-10This was a busy weekend indeed. Today we held our annual Rose Care Seminar at the Senior Center. About 80 people showed up. This day we enlisted an additional 9 new members. Bob did his awesome pruning demo, starting out with his Edward Scissorhands version of lopping off the tops of miniature roses, and I answered questions. Steve discussed planting, fertilizing, and mulching. Another fun day! We sure have a fun and friendly group of rosarians in the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society. As Judy says, "We are ALL rosarians because we all love roses."

1-9-10    We had a busy day at Green Thumb Nursery. The weather was perfect so lots of people came to Green Thumb to check out the new bare root roses. Our Consulting Rosarians were there to answer questions for the customers. Steve, Elissa, Bob, Karen, Susan, Judy, Walt, and I were there. I bought a couple of bareroots for myself: Cinnamon Girl (miniature rose) and Sedona (a hybrid tea). Bryan, manager of Green Thumb gave us our annual 10% discount cards that members can use all year. We enlisted 8 new members. It was a fun day.

1-3-10    I got up early this morning and sprayed Lily Miller Petroleum Oil (similar to Volck Oil). I am still sore from yesterday's event, but this had to get done and it wasn't going to do itself. Finished the rest of the minis, and we finally finished pruning all 350 roses today! We went to the Outback to celebrate then a nice soak in the Jacuzzi. We deserve it. I look like hell with this black eye and fat nose. Now for a nice cup of herbal tea and a Tylenol, and get a good night's sleep because I have to go back to work at the office tomorrow. 

1-2-10    Worked hard on finishing the minifloras, shrubs, and old garden roses today. No mishaps in the garden, but this afternoon we went for a walk in the neighborhood, and I tripped on a raised bump in the sidewalk, went flying through the air then fell flat on my face. Splat! Got a bloody nose, a black eye, sore knees and wrists, and ruined my eyeglasses. What a way to end the day. I am very sore from the sidewalk kissing. Ouch! I need to file a complaint with our fine city -- they need to repair our sidewalks!

1-1-2010    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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