2011 Diary of Activities in the Rose Garden of
Kitty and Bob Belendez
Santa Clarita, California    
Copyright Kitty Belendez 

By Kitty Belendez
Master Rosarian

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12-29-11    We are well into the annual pruning ritual. After four days of pruning, it appears that we have nearly half of our 350 roses pruned. All of the hybrid teas and all of the floribundas are now done. The only exception is that we are delaying the pruning of St Patrick and Black Magic for several weeks because they both get frost damage. I have 7 St Patrick rose bushes, and 4 Black Magic, so we will come back to those at a later time. We also started pruning some of the shrub roses and old garden roses. One of my Yolande d'Aragon is now done as well as Baronne Prevost and Anna de Diesbach. All 11 of our tree roses are pruned. I like doing those as they are very easy to prune while standing up, no bending over to stress my back.12-26-11    Although it is only 40 degrees in our garden, Bob has already begun  pruning our 65 floribunda rose bushes this morning. I, on the other  hand, will remain toasty and warm at my computer, where I have a huge  project at hand, which entails drooling over nearly 700 rose photos.   This volunteer project will take several weeks to complete, so I only  work on it an hour or two each day as I want to take my time and make  the right decisions. Perhaps I will join Bob after lunch when the sun  will hopefully warm the garden to a more comfortable and human-friendly  65 degrees. I need to help Bob because we hope to finish pruning at  least half of our 350 roses by New Year's Day.  12-22-11Well,  the year is almost over. It's been a weird fall/winter. Normally I can  muster up at least one bouquet of roses for our Christmas dinner table,  but I don't think that will happen this year. Wind, rain, and hail  wrecked any remaining blooms. On Saturday I plan to scout the yard and  see if I can find any suitable blooms. A friend gave me a bouquet of  pretty rose hips the other day. Very nice. In the meantime, Bob and I  began preparations for our Annual Tamale Fest. Bob is roasting and  shredding 15 lbs of beef and pork today. Tomorrow we pick up the  prepared masa and family will come over to help wrap the tamales in the  afternoon. Yes, the year is winding down and rose pruning will soon  begin. For now, I'm just chillin', trying to avoid any stress, and just  relaxing. All the Christmas shopping and wrapping is done. There is  still one more party to go. We've been to five parties this month. 2012  will mark the 20th Anniversary of the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society.  Like!

12-15-11Our Annual Rose Care Seminar is scheduled for Sunday, January 8, 2012 at the SCV Senior Center in  Newhall California. Master Rosarians Bob Belendez, Kitty Belendez, and  Steve Jones will be the instructors, and the event is open to the  public. It begins at 2:30 P.M.

12-13-11I'm keeping an ever watchful eye on the nighttime temperatures. The budded maidens have now been put in trays on a cart so that if we see it will be 32 degrees or lower at night, then they can be wheeled to a warmer protected area, maybe even the garage. We've got a couple dozen maidens that Bob budded onto Fortuniana rootstock over the past several months. The 'Christian Dior' he did in September should be okay, but the newer ones he did in October, November, and December need to be watched more carefully. We have all kinds of eclectic stuff, such as Dona Martin, Pacific Celebration, and other goodies. I just don't know if maidens can handle the harsh cold weather and frost. I was tempted to experiment and leave them to the elements, but I don't have the guts to do that. The other day Steve gave me some eyes of 'Randy Scott', a white hybrid tea, which Bob has now budded, so it will be interesting to see if they will survive winter.

12-9-11What goes around comes around.-- In some religions it's called Karma. I like this explanation from Wikipedia: "Karma is not fate, for humans act with free will creating their own destiny. If one sows goodness, one will reap goodness; if one sows evil, one will reap evil. Karma refers to the totality of our actions and their concomitant reactions in this and previous lives, all of which determines our future. The conquest of karma lies in intelligent action and dispassionate response. Karma is not punishment or retribution but simply an extended expression or consequence of natural acts. Karma means "deed" or "act" and more broadly names the universal principle of cause and effect, action and reaction, that governs all life." --Karma happens!

12-7-11Winter Solstice doesn't officially begin in Southern California until December 22nd, which is the first day of winter. Until then each day will lose about a minute of daylight. Then on the 22nd the days will start becoming longer. My lonely little tomato bush (Husky Cherry) already thinks it's winter because the fruit has stopped turning red. Knowing that the frost and chill would kill off the rest of the fruit, we picked about 100 green cherry tomatoes and put them in a bag in our warm laundry room with an apple inside the bag. This will be an experiment to see if they ripen. We put two small bowls of light orange tomatoes on the laundry room counter, and within 3 days they ripened to red so we had a nice taco dinner with fresh tomatoes. They were not as sweet as vine ripened, but still they were tasty. Apparently just the warmth of the laundry room helped to ripen them. I noticed that some of the green tomatoes inside the brown paper bag have started to turn a pale orange. Maybe there is hope. More about Winter Solstice.

12-6-11There really isn't much to write about the garden this time of year. For one thing, it is too dang cold and breezy to spend much time out there. And for another thing, my attention is focused on the holidays. Shopping, wrapping gifts. Parties. Christmas cards, buying a tree, getting the lights set up. Parties. Making 300 tamales. Oh yeah, did I mention parties?   

11-28-11    According to my Rose Auction spreadsheet, we currently have 132 potted roses floating about my yard that are earmarked for the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society 2012 auction. No wonder I have no space in my garden for any new roses. These babies need to be fed and watered just like everything else in my garden. This quantity does not include the 14 roses I'm donating to the Pacific Rose Society, nor the other 100 that will be going on the raffle table for the next several months.

   11-26-11    BOTRYTIS ALERT! With the recent rains while our roses were in full bloom, followed by a little bit of warm weather, we are left with brown rotten blooms. This is not good because botrytis is a fungus that if left on the bush can spread throughout the garden, especially if you do not spray a fungicide, which I do not do this time of year. I call these "botrytis bombs" because after rotting, the blooms dry up and fall off the stem full of fungus spores (a grey powder)  to be blown throughout the garden. This can catch up with us next spring. So, Bob and I went out in the garden yesterday and today and trimmed off most of the blooms. We still need to finish tomorrow. Some telltale signs besides the brown rotting petals, are the red measles spots on the lighter colored rose blooms such as white and pink and yellow. Moonstone and St. Patrick are highly susceptible, but other especially heavy petalled roses are susceptible too, because the blooms cannot open and air out.   11-27-11    Today is National Cruelty to Roses Day. I was a bit sad to see my 22-year-old Leander bite the dust with Bob's crowbar and hacksaw. Had to do it. We have no more space in our garden, unless we want to fill in the pool and spa, but that is NOT going to happen. So, some tough decisions had to be made. The first casualty was the shrub rose Leander and she got no leniency and went into the dumpster because she is too old to adopt out. Two roses will go in her place, possibly Austin shrubs or maybe antique roses, I haven't decided yet. Next to go were a dozen miniature roses. These are in containers so they will be put on the January raffle table at the rose society meeting. On the chopping block are Doris Morgan, Fairhope, This is the Day, Glowing Amber, Caliente, Bonfire, Hilde, among others. The good news is we are replacing several dozen roses with new bushes of same variety on Fortuniana. So Bob has a lot of repotting and planting to do over the next several weeks.

yellow sport that I found on my miniflora 'Memphis Music', which itself is a striped sport of the solid red with yellow reverse 'Memphis Magic'). Yeah, I am fully aware that there already is a yellow sport so-called 'Top Contender', so now I might have my own plant if it is successful. And yes, I am aware of the story regarding these roses that they are really the petite florist hybrid teas  'Black Beauty', 'Abracadabra', and 'Frisco', and that story is told in the Summer 2010 edition of Bob Martin's Rose Exhibitors Quarterly. I did get outside for awhile today and looked through my rose inventory to find the 14 rose plants I'm donating to the Pacific Rose Society for their February rose auction.

11-25-11    Since we do not participate in "Black Friday" shopping craZiness, instead we are puttering around the home and garden today. I'm glued to the computer updating the websites, and Bob is doing some repotting and budding (a kooky looking older floribunda called Permanent Wave; and a 

11-23-11    I'm enjoying a pleasant diversion from roses today. I'm baking three pies: Pumpkin, apple, and cheesecake. All from scratch, including rolling out the dough for the crust. They will be hidden from me in the floral fridge until tomorrow, otherwise I might get weak and try to sample them. Between pies I went out to the garden to try and find some blooms to make a bouquet for my daughter Tina's family. Found about a dozen suitable hybrid teas: St. Patrick, Black Magic, Let Freedom Ring, Moonstone, and Big Time. They will make a lovely bouquet for the Thanksgiving dinner table. Granddaughter  Puanani is cooking most of the turkey and ham dinner and all the fixin's, so I get to bring the pies. This will be the first time in at least 30 years that I won't be baking the turkey for Thanksgiving. Kind of nice!

The  varieties donated by Weeks Roses in February 2010 were Over the Moon, Stainless Steel,  St. Patrick, Memorial Day, Honor, Falling in Love, Let Freedom Ring, and  Mellow Yellow. Bob and I have since added several others including Touch of Class among others. 11-19-11    So the "big dig" has officially begun. Bob has dug up Marmalade Skies, Sexy Rexy, and Brass Band. It's not that I don't like these floribunda roses, in fact I do LOVE them. But he made me new plants budded onto Fortuniana rootstock and the new bushes are now ready for planting. We gave the old bushes away for the rose society raffle table and they were snapped up quickly. 

11-22-11    Okay ... so I finally got off my lazy butt and actually did something constructive today. I took four potted hybrid tea roses to Wm. S. Hart Park to donate for their patio rose garden. They specifically want hybrid teas for this garden. I would have preferred floribundas and shrubs, but what do I know. Stephanie Ann, Sedona, Asso di Cuori, and Garden Party were the lucky ducklings. Their little garden continues to grow each year. This is only the second year of this new rose garden. The first year,the deer soon discovered the roses and chomped them down quickly. I think that park staff might have sprayed a deer repellent as I recommended because by the time of our November rose show, the rose bushes were looking awesome and in full bloom. Most of the bareroot roses came from Weeks roses last year, and Bob and I donated the rest. 

11-14-11I've kept an Excel spreadsheet of every rose show trophy Bob and I have won over the past 25 years. I do not track every ribbon we have won, like some other exhibitors I know, but I do track our trophies. The number of trophies is inconsequential. The more important data is the rose variety name, the date, the location of the show, and the class, all of which I can sort and see at a glance, for example, which rose wins the most for me, which classes I have won and so forth. Thus I can report that we won our first national trophy at Portland in June 2001 with the miniature rose Miss Flippins (Dee Bennett bouquet of 12), or that we have won 67 trophies with the fabulous hybrid tea St. Patrick. The total number of trophies we've won is about 1,066 now. That might seem like a lot, and it is. But in the beginning it took us two years of many attempts before we were able to win our first Novice trophy at the Orange County Rose Show on October 22, 1988. Then for the next ten years we felt fortunate to win just ONE trophy at any rose show, and really pleased if we won three. We exhibited at an average of 12 rose shows a year. We were slow learners but hard workers. There were many shows at which we were "skunked," meaning we won nothing. It took us 15 years before we felt like we had become successful rose exhibitors. It takes determination, hard work, and perseverance. I could write an article about this fun journey, but I will save that for another venue. So in thinking about this recently, I was remembering the wonderful PSWD website that used to be hosted by Glenn Fiery. A retired marine, some people might have felt that Glenn was not the easiest person to work with, but he and I worked well as a team for 12 years. I sent him thousands of digital photos and rose show reports from throughout the Pacific Southwest District, so he could post them on his PSWD website, which he did for many years. When the district replaced him a few years ago with a "prettier" but shallow website, Glenn dumped all of the data he had accumulated over the years.  Sad but true. I got to thinking about this recently, and it spurred me to dig back in my archives (I save everything!) And so this weekend I published all of the Santa Clarita Rose Show Winners Archives and photos from the present back to our Inaugural Rose Show in 1994. I do not intend to do this for all of the other rose society shows at which I took photos and kept records, but I certainly have the material to do so. I am thrilled that I am able to publish our Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society Rose Show archives now.

11-11-11    Today my garden is one that only a mother could possibly love. From the view across the street (or perhaps behind rose-colored glasses) one sees a mass of blooms in every color imaginable. Hundreds of blooms! Tall rose bushes! Tiny miniature rose bushes. But upon close inspection the damage from recent winds, rains, and hailstorms is quite visible. Shredded blooms. Botrytis disease. Broken stems. But I closed my eyes and can smell the strong perfume wafting throughout the garden. Then I open my eyes and see dozens of perfect little blooms of the yellow miniature called 'Behold'. Hey, look at that perfect cluster of 'Francois Rabelais' in chinese red over there! 'Archiduchesse Elisabeth d’Autriche' proudly presents a perfectly-shaped pink bloom on a very long stem that could easily win Victorian Award at any rose show. Although the hybrid teas got the brunt of the recent storms, there are still a number of intact 'St Patrick' blooms in my garden, and all with that coveted green tint brushed along the petal edges. Like a mother overlooks the faults of her monstrous children, a rose mother can see through her damaged roses and find the jewels hiding within.   11-10-11Bob and I only exhibited at 6 rose shows (+ 1 summer fair) this year. This is the least amount of shows at which we've exhibited since we first began 25 years ago. We used to average 12 shows (and have done as many as 14) in a year, but many of those shows are no longer in existence. We intentionally wanted to cut back on our (actually "MY") rose exhibiting addiction, and we finally did it this year. Six is good. Four in the spring, and two in the fall. That is enough. No more flying roses to national and district conventions. No more baggage handlers wrecking our roses. If it isn't driveable, we won't go. Even if it is driveable, if a show is mismanaged, uncommunicative, uncooperative, price gouging, and not exhibitor friendly, we won't go. We will pick and choose our favorite rose shows at the peak of our bloom cycles. We are now semi-retired rose exhibitors. I like that. Now I can actually have time to think about baking Thanksgiving turkey and pies, and going Christmas shopping. Getting a life.

11-8-11Now that our big rose show is over, it's time for a winter rest. Although it's not officially winter yet, and it's supposed to still be fall, you wouldn't know it by the TWO BIG FREAK HAIL STORMS we had in our yard last Sunday, 11/6/11. Bob and I are both ready for winter break as we have dug out our TV blankies, my Uggs and long PJs from storage. Oh yeah, Bob is still wearing his shorts during the day as I don't think I will ever be able to get him out of them. Funny thing is that he would never wear shorts during his entire lifetime until he retired and started working in the garden. Now they are attached to him permanently even though he has gone back to work. Speaking of working in the garden, Bob is chomping at the bit to start digging out roses and planting new ones. He actually asked me on Sunday, "When can I start?"

11-5-11   Our 18th Annual Rose Show at Hart Park was a fabulous success. Despite  wild weather the week before the rose show (high winds, low humidity, alternating with rain), our top exhibitors came through for us  by bringing many beautiful roses. We had many visitors and got 8 new members. The art and photography show on the patio was a nice complement to our rose show. Even the rose bushes that we donated to Hart Park for their garden were in full bloom. A very nice day indeed. Thanks to everybody that participated in our spectacular annual event. We are already looking forward to next year's rose show. We now have a complete list of official winners and many photos on our Rose Show page.

11-3-11There is a very good reason that I'm a "Weather Geek" and it's called ROSES. (Weather reports also come in handy for travel purposes as well, like when we went to Hawaii last year.) I have FOUR weather stations on my iMac, iPhone, and iPad 2, so I can access the most up-to-date weather reports anywhere, anytime, 24/7. A perfect example is this very week, and in particular, Wednesday, November 2nd. We had a wicked windstorm here that wrecked most of my roses (the blooms, not the bushes). This is not good when we are having a rose show this Saturday. Not to worry, "Weather Geek" knew the wind storm was coming and so she cut rose blooms all week and filled up the floral fridge before the wind storm hit. To add insult to injury, on Friday it is predicted that we will have rain. I would prefer cutting the roses as fresh as possible the day before a rose show, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. So I WILL have roses for the show. And hallelujah, it's expected to be cool and sunny for our rose show! The most accurate weather station is the National Weather Service, although their web site graphics are extremely boring. The Weather Channel is pretty and flashy, but not quite as accurate. Accuweather is pretty neat on my iPad 2, Yahoo is okay, and one called simply "Weather" is pleasant to use, but the accuracy could be a little off. Then there's also Wunderground. It all depends on where they have their station situated as Santa Clarita (or any locale) can be quite different in different areas of the city. Oh, and I don't just check the weather in Santa Clarita. I have many "favorite places" that I frequently keep my eye on. NOTE: the links above are for the desktop computer versions, so if you want them for a smartphone or the even more spectacular versions for  iPad 2, you will need to get those links separately from the Apple App Store. I got the free versions which are quite sufficient for my needs.

10-29-11    This morning I patrolled my rose garden and have to report that even I am impressed. Wow! Wow! Wow! It takes a lot to make me impressed, especially in my own garden. More and more I'm finding out that my roses love the late October weather of cold nights and warm days. I only wish there were was a rose show today, but it will have to wait until next weekend when we have our Santa Clarita rose show on November 5th. These roses were trimmed between August 28th and September 10th. They are pretty much on schedule but because there is an extra weekend this year in October,  and we had some unseasonably warm weather two weeks ago, it sort of threw things off a bit. We will hopefully still have some blooms for next weekend. I also shot two videos of my garden, both the front and back yard, that will be published soon on YouTube. Plus I took a bunch of other photos throughout the garden.10-28-11We have a one track mind this week. ROSE SHOW! ROSE SHOW! ROSE SHOW! Most everything is under control, but there are still a few tiny details to follow up on. Tomorrow I will send emails to our Judges, our Exhibitors, and our Volunteers with some very important information about the show. Today The Signal newspaper informed me that our Rose Show will be featured in the lead story of their Home Section. It will be on the newstands tomorrow, Saturday, October 29th. It warms my heart to know that we are so lucky to have partnerships with the wonderful folks at The Signal, William S. Hart Park, and Green Thumb Nursery, and of course, all of our generous volunteers.

10-27-11Where's a rose show when we need one? My garden is in maximum full bloom TODAY? We'll have to wait and see what we will have for our rose show next week. I doubt I will have anything the week after next. Just as well because I'm burnt out for the year. As soon as our rose show is done, then it's time to get serious about which roses are coming and going. I don't even want to think about that yet, but I need to make space. It's a rose zoo here.

10-25-11Well, I've had some health issues for the past two weeks, but I think I'm finally getting back to normal. At least 80% anyway. I better be 100% in time for our November 5th rose show because I will need all the energy I can gather to get through that very long day which will begin about 4:00 a.m. and probably not end until about 6:00 p.m. Yes, it will be a very long day indeed. However, the good news is that everything appears to be in fine order and ready to go. Volunteers lined up. Check. Caterer confirmed. Check. Trophies purchased. Check. Cash prizes organized. Check. Venue ready for us. Check. Exhibitors invited. Check. Judges invited. Check. Etc etc etc ... a long list with check marks. :-)

10-19-11We can never predict how roses are going to behave. For example, usually Hot Princess is gorgeous this time of year, but this fall they are ugly and malformed. I don't get it. On the other hand, St. Patrick, Black Magic, and Gemini have beautiful form during this same week. The other thing I notice this week is that I'm actually getting a few nice sprays on my floribundas, which normally only produce mostly sprays in the spring and only one bloom per stem in the fall. I'm certainly not complaining, only make an observation, and to remind myself that roses have their own mind and will do whatever they want regardless of what we want them to do.. 

10-17-11While watering my roses this afternoon, I was making a mental note of the "ins" and '"outs." These are the roses that are coming in and going out from my garden. I haven't really made up my mind yet, and won't until after the fall rose shows so I have not comitted the ins and outs to a written list yet. Some of the outies under consideration are roses that I just don't like, or maybe I have multiples of a rose and need space for something new, or in most cases I am replacing own-root plants with new ones budded on Fortuniana rootstock. At any rate, I do not need to buy anything new because I already have two dozen potted roses waiting in the wings that Bob budded on Fortuniana. Some of the tentative outies are: Walferdange, Precious Dream, Hurricane, Equinox, Cinnamon Girl, Foolish Pleasure, Sexy Rexy. Outies will either go on the raffle table or in our Annual Auction. Any plant that is sickly goes straight into the dumpster, as I will not give junk to people. Note: Ebb Tide is the only rose that does not improve on Fortuniana, but I love it so much that I am going to keep both puny plants.

10-16-11    Deadheading the spent blooms on our rose bushes and disbudding the queens is the focus for today. I filled a large trash can of spent rose blooms while Bob took charge of the disbudding, but we were too tired to finish after our long trip of the past several days. While deadheading, I discovered another sport in my rose garden. This time it is an orange and white striped cluster of blooms on my bush of Peppermint Twist (which usually is red and white striped). So, Bob will propagate it sometime during this week. This is my fourth sport discovery over the past 20 years. If this rose sport is successful in propagating, and continues to bloom orange and white striped, then I will name it and register it next year. 
          10-15-11    We just got back home from a lovely trip to visit family in Northern California. It was beautiful fall weather there, unlike the heat wave we had here this week. The roses are doing fine. Granddaughter Puanani watered the pots while we were away, so all is well.  Sights are now on Newport Beach, depending on what the weather does this week.10-11-11This afternoon we welcomed a lovely guest from South Africa to our garden. Sheenagh Harris is the President of the World Federation of Roses. Steve and Susie Jones are showing her around town, so I took her on a tour of my entire rose garden. There appeared to be  enough blooms to make her visit worthwhile, and the foliage and bushes were spectacular if I do say so myself. Some of our hybrid teas are over 6 feet tall now, and just getting ready to explode with blooms. Some of the roses in bloom today were Fourth of July, St Patrick, Miss Kitty, Gemini, Pinnacle, Cristina Lynne, Puanani, Baronne Prevost, Show Stopper, Red Intuition, Johnny Becnel, Green Rose, Golden Zest, Cinco de Mayo, Julia Child, Ebb Tide, Let Freedom Ring, Artic Circle, Signature, and a few others. Sheenagh explained how some of the roses we grow here have a different name in South Africa. For example, St. Patrick is named "Irish Luck" there.

10-7-11Just a few more details to finalize before our rose show that's only four weeks away on November 6th. We're pleased about our joint venture with the good folks at Hart Park who are sponsoring us. This year, for the first time, there will be an Art Faire featuring roses by local artists in conjunction with our rose show. The judges, clerks, runners, and placement staff are organized and ready to go. Our properties, trophies, are cash prizes are ready as well.  

10-6-11It rained this week so Water Queen Kitty turned off the sprinklers for several days. Anyhow, it's been in the 40's at night and the 70's during the day all week. So no need to waste water. The roses are getting their fair share, even though I will now change the sprinkler timer to turn on every second day during this time of year (instead of every day) and will keep it at 8 minutes duration for the next few weeks. We still hand water the roses in containers where the sprinklers don't hit, but we have a shut-off valve on the end of each hose so that we never have to lay the hose down with water running. 

10-3-11Finally finished the October issue of Rose Ecstasy, so it will be e-mailed to all of our electronic members tonight. Printed copies won't be mailed until mid-week.  Planning to liquid feed all of the roses after work, and perhaps do a little disbudding while we're at it. Then jacuzzi time. The rose show is rolling along nicely. Have ordered some new, very large banners. One for the park fence, and a more colorful one for the inside of Hart Hall. Still a few things to be done, but mostly everything is under control. Trophies all purchased, boxed, and marked. Printed pretty rose envelopes for the cash prizes. Still have to make the table cards, but just have to change the date on the template from last year. Caterer for judges lunch planned. Now, if the weather stays good, hoping for some pretty blooms to take to our rose show on November 5th.       

9-29-11I guess it's time that I stopped foolin' around and got my butt in high gear. Enough of this procrastination! It sure has felt good though. Anyhow, we did manage to fertilize all of the roses this week. Another 240 gallons of liquid fertilizer pumped onto the Queens. Hah! We've also been doing some major disbudding if we expect to have any exhibitible hybrid teas at the October rose shows as the stems on all of the roses are pushing growth very fast. Furthermore, I've had writer's and editor's block (okay, it was a complete mental block) for the past several weeks but I finally got going on the October newsletter. Even managed to crank out a little article titled "Hot Water for Very Hot Roses."

9-18-11    I really didn't want to, but I got up early this morning and sprayed all of my roses. I had no choice. My indicator plants are Yolande d'Aragon which is usually the first to get green bud worms, and it already had a big one munching away at the new stems.  They really love her. And for mildew, the indicator plants are Unbridled, Nancy Jean, Affirm, and Conundrum. I also noticed that the floribundas in the front yard, which were trimmed three weeks ago, are already growing very fast. So I suited up while Bob pulled the sprayer out of the garage and filled it up with warm water. Then I mixed a batch of Compass (for mildew) and Orthene (for insects). Also in the mix was Response (liquid organic seaweed) and Indicate 5 (a spreader sticker to help the mixture adhere to the rose foliage). We're good to go for another two weeks. Since my sprayer is battery powered, we began recharging it yesterday, although it might be time to buy a new battery as the charger light never goes off. Later in the afternoon we went through 240 gallons of liquid fertilizer. All kinds of goodies including fish emulsion, kelp, water soluble fertilizer, and chelated iron. The roses dearly need it and will be so better for it. Although it might  sound like a lot of work, it only took 1-1/2 hours to feed all of our 350 roses. Thank God for the sump pump! We could not have done without it. Gotta love that machine.9-15-11Our talk on propagation at the South Coast Botanic Garden went well. We dined with a small group, some we've known for years, others are new to us. After dinner we went to the Gardens for the meeting. One of their members had e-mailed me to request some cuttings of Peppermint Twist, my red and white striped floribunda that I've had for nearly 20 years (bred by Jack Christensen in 1992). Don't ask me how she knew I grow this rose. So, I obliged and brought her the requested cuttings, and she gave me a stem of a beautiful orange-red hybrid tea called Rose Rhapsody. Very fragrant, it was bred by Keith Zary in 1999. We also met a lovely lady named Margaret who had brought cuttings of a very old hybrid tea called The Doctor, bred by Howard's Nursery in 1936. Margaret told us that her uncle had been the owner of Howard's Nursery, and her brother was John van Barneveld (both famous rosarians back in the day, and now both deceased). So Bob budded The Doctor onto Fortuniana rootstock for her, and I prepared the rest of The Doctor's stems for rooting. I really hope these are successful for her as she had taken the cuttings off of an original plant that had been passed along through her family for more than 50 years, and her plant is going downhill.

9-14-11Tomorrow night Bob and I will be speaking at the South Coast Rose Society meeting. It will be a hands-on tutorial and demonstration on "How to Propagate Roses." Kitty is the specialist in taking cuttings, while Bob excels in the chip budding technique. This is the same program that we presented at the Orange County Rose Society earlier this year. We are looking forward to it even though it's a 100-mile round-trip drive during peak rush hour traffic. The meeting is being held at the South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes, 7:00 p.m. Tonight we will get all of our supplies and materials together, and then tomorrow just before we leave for the meeting, I will cut some rose stems to be propagated. Even though all of our roses have already been trimmed for the fall rose shows, there are plenty of stems that are viable for propagation.

9-12-11We finally finished the last four rose bushes yesterday, so all the fall trimming is now done. It was a big job and it took the two of us two weeks, but to be honest we worked usually no more than 2 hours per day. And during the week after getting home from our regular daytime job, it was usually only a half hour or an hour of rose trimming in the early evening. It just takes determination to get the job done in the short time frame of August 27th through September 10th in order to have repeat blooms by the end of October. That is our projected target. Now we sit and wait. Hah! Nope, cannot rest on our laurels. We continue to water daily if necessary, or maybe every 2nd day if the temperature remains in the 80's. Next weekend we will begin the liquid fertilizer regimen, and plan to apply 12 large bags of Kellogg's Gromulch, a big shovelful to each rose. We also picked up a 50 lb bag of alfalfa pellets that will be scattered throughout the garden soon.   

9-5-11      We continue daily to deadhead our rose bushes, and as of today it appears that we are at least 2/3rds done. Mostly just miniature roses and minifloras are remaining. About a dozen David Austin shrubs still to do, and a half dozen floribundas in containers. I wanted to string them out until September 10th but honestly we just want to get them done and over with. But roses in containers will recycle fast so I don't want to trim them too early. We also have four hybrid teas left to do, but I promised some more budwood of Miss Kitty (white HT) and Cristina Lynne  (orange FL) to Steve Singer of Wisconsin Roses so we will do those next weekend when the weather is more conducive to mailing cuttings back east.  The main target is to have blooms for the Santa Clarita Rose Show. P.S.: The rabbits appear to be gone. 8-30-11Today we posted our Rose Show Floor Plan on our web site. It will also be e-mailed tonight to all of our members. The floor plan is very helpful in showing how and where to set up all of the tables, linens, and table cards. Set up then goes very quickly as we don't have to stand around scratching our heads. We've been holding off doing any more rose trimming until Wednesday, August 31st when the weather is expected to be cooler. We did trim ten very tall hybrid teas in the front yard last Sunday but that is all for now (besides the 40 floribundas we trimmed last Saturday. On Wednesday we will jump all over the HTs and will do more of them on the weekend as well. Plus shrubs, climbers, and the antique roses. We want to be all done trimming everything by around September 10th at the latest, including the miniatures and minifloras. That is the plan for now.   

8-28-11Our 2011 Rose Show Schedule was e-mailed to all of our members. We also posted it on our Rose Show page. The rose show is on November 5th at Hart Park in Newhall. Lots of crystal prizes and plenty of cash awards as well. You don't have to be a SCVRS member to participate. Just bring your beautiful roses (named) in a bucket of water, and we will furnish the vases and entry tags for use in the rose show.   

8-27-11      Bob and I got up early this morning and had some coffee and a pleasant breakfast of fresh strawberries, blueberries, bananas, sprinkled with Cheerios and light milk on top. Knowing that it was going to hit 109 degrees today (and it did!) we quickly got to work trimming the floribundas in the front yard. From 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. we trimmed 40 floribunda bushes in one hour flat. By 9:30 a.m. it was already quite hot and so we had to cool off with ice cold water and wet towels. Bob finished up by cleaning away debris from around the bushes, while I went into the house and e-mailed our show schedule to members. Our floribundas are very bushy so we aren't worried about trimming them in this heat. Besides, we just deeply deadheaded them to encourage reblooming for the end of October, we were not "pruning" them. We want to get all of our 350 rose bushes deadheaded within the next 10 days. We might start on a few hybrid teas tomorrow, but will hold off deadheading anything that's growing in a container as they get hotter.   8-25-11The rose bushes in our garden today are humongous! They have pigged out over the summer on all those organic goodies that we lavished on them. And plenty of water too. We stopped deadheading them several weeks ago, right after the Ventura Fair. We're just letting them fatten up before we trim 1/3 off of them for our November 5th rose show as it takes an average of 60 days for our roses to recycle. (Summer takes 45 days, winter takes 90 days.) We might start on the floribundas and polyanthas this weekend since they take a bit longer. Then for the next 10 days, through Labor Day, we hope to trim all 350 of our rose bushes.  We have a lot of work to do, especially considering that we both work full time and the weather is still hot.  It seems easier when we think "only 35 bushes a day." Goodness, I'm tired just thinking about it, but I always know that we get to reward ourselves in the jacuzzi every evening after our work is done.
8-24-11We think the rabbits are gone for good. We hope. We have not seen any in 3 days. Elmer Fudd got one for sure, and we suspect that Pistol Packin' Mama clipped the second one and it ran out of our yard. We're keeping a diligent watch because these critters can get out of control so fast. They have four reproduction cycles per year (gestation period is only 30 days!), and each litter can be as many as 12. I saw a mathematical equation on the internet that explained how two rabbits reproducing for one year can end up with 325,000 bunnies in just one year if they all reproduce with each other. This might sound funny, but it is serious rodent control that left unchecked can become uncontrollabe. 

8-21-11Gotcha you little B@&*@$#!    Elmer Fudd: 1.   Pistol Packin' Mama: 1. 
8-20-11    We still have two little wabbits hopping around the yard. They are youngsters, as bunnies go, and man they are hard to catch. Two traps and a BB gun with no results. Pistol Packin' Mama popped off the first shot but I'm so out of practice from when we used to go hunting and camping too many years ago. They love hiding in my big rose bushes. Seems like they love to munch on our nice green lawn for now, but when winter comes they will munch the new growth on the roses because the lawn will be dormant. Gotta get 'em now or never.8-17-11    It never ceases to amaze me that some people won't take advice but instead insist on finding out for themselves. What goes around comes around, and eventually (sometimes it takes many years) they do find out for themselves ... the hard way. It took 19 years for the saga to come this far. Chapter 11 is titled "The Devil Does Roses." This time it's going to be very costly for the players, and the debacle has only just begun. Thankfully I wised up early on, and have been proven correct after all these years, and now the shoe is on the other person's foot. It's too bad they didn't heed my warning. If you play with snakes, you WILL get bitten. Please  don't ask me to explain what I'm rambling about as it's an insider story that goes back many years and has finally been exposed. Today's communication technology is a joy! There are people reading this blog who are involved in this saga and know precisely what I am referring to. I say to them "I TOLD YOU SO!" (For those who wonder, this has absolutely nothing to do with SCVRS.)8-16-11Last year I got three new David Austin Shrub Roses: Munstead Wood, Darcy Bussell, and Young Lycidas. Of the three, I like Munstead Wood the most. It's a darker purple-red than The Squire, it's fragrant, and it looks like the bush won't get too big. The blooms on Munstead Wood are very enjoyable this week, and the heat doesn't seem to faze it. The other two roses appear to grow taller, especially Young Lycidas which could be very tall. Those two may end up in next year's rose auction, but I've nearly decided to find a permanent space in my garden for Munstead Wood. First I want to evaluate Munstead Wood a few more months to make sure stem length will prove out for rose show use.   

8-15-11Today's featured rose is 'Sheer Elegance', an orange-pink hybrid tea rose that was bred by Jerry Twomey, introduced in 1989, and won the All-America Rose Selection (AARS) in 1991. I grew this rose back then but didn't appreciate it at the time. Two years ago a friend sent me budwood so Bob put it on Fortuniana rootstock. It's not a top "Queen Machine" but it does have value in the garden and in AARS collections at rose shows. And so I am growing it again. I shot this photo of 'Sheer Elegance'  in my garden this morning, a bit wet from the lawn sprinklers but nonetheless very attractive, hardly any fragrance that I can detect.    

8-12-11It's amazing how many of my roses are now in bloom. In particular, my floribunda roses are blooming nicely since the temperatures all week have only been in the mid '80s. This is unusual for August when temps are often in triple digits, and one year it hit 117. We are enjoying the relatively cooler weather now, but know that will change next week when it is projected to get hotter. Thank goodness for our swimming pool as I go swimming every night after dinner. Bob prefers the jacuzzi so I have the pool (heated!) all to myself while we watch the TV that we have set up on the patio. Talk about creature comforts and spoiled rotten! Featured floribunda roses this week are Hot Cocoa, Pinnacle, Julia Child, Lavaglut. Oddly Hannah Gordon doesn't bloom much during summer. Come to think of it, she doesn't bloom much at all anymore. Hmm, a candidate for budding onto Fortuniana? Bob made some "splits" from the micro-mini 'Si' yesterday. So hopefully we will have some plants in next year's auction. I also want to make some cuttings of Scentsational, the intensely fragrant lavender miniature rose. That's a project for tomorrow, when we will be doing some repotting.

8-10-11Bob and I are itching to begin the "deep deadhead" of our rose bushes. But we know that we need to wait until the end of the month in order to produce the major bloom cycle for our November 5th rose show. Meanwhile, we will simply keep the rose bushes watered as we do not need to fertilize or spray at this time. 

8-9-11We have bunnies! And it's not even Easter. Sure, they're cute, but they also love to munch on roses. This is NOT a good thing. We do NOT want these pests. This is weird because we have lived in this house for 45 years and never had bunnies in our yard until last year when we found them running around the back yard. So ... Bob has set out traps to get rid of them. We finally found out how they are getting in our yard. There is a hole in the back fence, which Bob has now patched. But we still have to trap the bunnies already in our yard, but they are still too small to set off the traps. So we will have to fatten them up a bit first so they will weigh enough to set off the traps. We found out that they like carrots but they really love lettuce. Elmer Fudd is on the hunt.       

8-7-11I wrote a full page story about our adventures at the Ventura County Fair & Rose Show. It will appear in the September issue of Rose Ecstasy.

8-6-11Today we went to the Ventura County Fair and entered 119 roses into the rose show. 

We won:1st Place: 40 @ $5 each2nd Place: 25 @ $3 each3rd Place: 6 @ $2 eachHonorable Mention: 27 @ $0 each

Each exhibitor was limited to two awards per class, that's why we got so many Honorable Mentions. They didn't want one person to hog up the winnings. Fair enough. We also won Best of Show with the floribunda 'Pinnacle', and Best of all four Divisions. Best for each Division were Gemini spray, The Governator, The Squire, and Pinnacle. It appears that we won close to $300 for the day, and apparently they will send us a check in a few weeks. The weather was great out there. Love the junk food at the fair. We had hot dogs and ice cream for lunch. Some of our best blue ribbon winners were Paul Ecke Jr (Yeah!), a large spray of Gemini, Gemini in a picture frame, Miss Kitty, St. Patrick, the floribunda By Appointment, Julia Child, Lavaglut, a huge spray of Sexy Rexy, Fabulous, Pinnacle, Playgirl, Verdun, Lullaby, Nancy Jean, Butter Cream, Shawn Sease, The Governator, Candy Land, Sidonie, Distant Drums, The Squire, and Eugene de Beauharnaise. Our notable 2nd Place winners were Veterans Honor, O'Rilla, Francois Rabelais, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Burgundy Iceberg, White Pet, Baldo Villegas, Fairhope, Leading Lady, Shameless, Unbridled, Breath of Spring, Mons. Tillier, Abraham Darby, and Molineux. What a day! Came home and took a nap. 
       8-3-11I'm wondering if my pathetic, sun dried roses could possibly be worthy of a 3rd Place ribbon? Or would it be worth driving 100 miles for a couple of donuts? The dreams we dream ... LOL!

8-2-11Now that temperatures have reached 100 degrees this week, I'm hard pressed to find any pretty roses in my garden that are enjoyable to look at. Most are fried like crispy corn flakes, even more so by the time I get home from work at the end of the day. A big surprise was to see a bush of 'Paul Ecke, Jr.' in full bloom near my front porch. This rose only has 5 petals on each bloom and yet they are gorgeous in this heat. This vigorous bush is barely a year old and yet it has almost outgrown its 15-gallon pot. The bush itself is about 4-feet tall, and its height including the pot is nearly 6-feet tall. No fragrance, but the brilliant color is eye candy galore. Oriental red on the outer edges of the petals, slightly more orange at the center, overlaid with chocolate velvet brushings on the red, and topped off with bright yellow stamens. And it appears to be disease resistant here as well. I think I might have to move 'Paul Ecke, Jr.'  out of the pot and into a more spacious location in the ground. 

7-28-11One of the roses that Bob recently budded onto Fortuniana rootstock for me, and which I decided to keep for myself, is the medium yellow miniature rose that was bred by Dee Bennett in 1986 called 'My Sunshine'. I have an own-root plant that's about 20 years old but it was going downhill. After several failed attempts, we have finally succeeded in getting one onto Fortuniana. The stems were so very tiny that it was difficult to find a large enough budeye to graft. The new baby bush has 6-inch bushy growth that has already produced several blooms. This yellow miniature rose only has five petals and yet it is actually fragrant.

7-25-11Took inventory of all the potted roses for next year's auction and put them all on a spreadsheet. We have 77 own-root roses, mostly in 1-gallon, some in 2-gallon. We have an additional 30 or so that are duplicates, so are allocated to the raffle table at monthly meetings. In additional to those 100+ roses, we also have a bunch that are budded onto Fortuniana. I haven't inventoried those yet, but I estimate at least 50 budded. There's a few of those that I'm keeping for myself, but most will go in the auction.   

7-21-11The 100 sticks of Fortuniana rootstock (virus-free) arrived from UC Davis yesterday afternoon. So Bob de-eyed them all, and when I got home from work, I cut and scraped the ends, dipped them in powdered Hormex #8, and then stuck them into 2-inch pots filled with a 50-50% blend of potting soil and perlite. They are now in the mist box, and we expect to see some roots starting to come out the bottom of the pots in about 3 or 4 weeks. They root a lot easier in the warm and sunny time of year, like now, as compared to winter when they take 2 or 3 months to root. Quite a difference. These rootstock sticks will be budded onto next spring after they are well rooted, maybe some even this fall.   

7-20-11The Rhapsody in Blue rose that I bought bareroot at the Pacific Rose Society Auction in February is producing blooms again, so it's good to know that it has more than one bloom cycle. It holds up pretty well in the heat, and is very disease resistant. I did not see any mildew on it even though it's still in a 5-gallon pot in my mildew factory backyard. OMG, it is extremely fragrant too. Although I cannot yet confirm its growth habit and height, Helpmefind reports that it can grow 6 to 8 feet tall.   

7-17-11    Now that I don't have a rose society newsletter to produce for two whole months, I'm catching up on a few writing assignments that I've been meaning to do. I finished my Horizon Roses annual report and shot it off to Editor Robert Martin. Didn't really have a whole lot to say since I don't have many NEW roses to report on. The Horizon Roses booklet is scheduled to hit the streets in September. It costs about $10 and will be available at the roseshow.com website. Then I wrote an article for Pacific Rose News titled "Why I love Roses" as requested by Editor Chris Greenwood. This article could possibly be published in September. Next up are two articles I want to write for Rose Ecstasy, "Roses in Hot Water" and "Purple Roses Can be Grown in the Desert." Those are just the working titles, and if I get my butt in high gear they just might be published in September. But first a summer nap ...7-14-11We took advantage of the cool June Gloom (June? I thought we were in July already?) and applied my secret concoction blend of dry fertilizers and organic materials to all of my roses, both the front and back yard. One of the ingredients of my magic elixir was Grow More Bio Start 3-4-3. Lots of goodies in this product that the roses love. Such as Blood Meal, Bone Meal, Kelp Meal, Fish Meal, Cottonseed Meal, Alfalfa Meal, Feather Meal, Worm Castings, and Rock Phosphate and Potassium Sulfate. Whew! If that wasn't enough that product also includes a bunch of different Bacillus and Mycorrhizae. But wait ... there's more. I also threw in a bunch of stuff I had lying around in my fertilizer closet. Magnesium Sulphate, more kelp meal, Nitroform, and Osmocote 10-10-10. It all weighed in at about 80 lbs and I put a cup on each big bush, and a 1/4 cup on the minis, then watered in well. That should do them until Labor Day when we will trim 1/3 off of all the roses to get ready for the big fall blooming season.   

7-10-11    We cranked out our very long Rose Show Agenda in a lickety-split two hours flat, in between  snacks of ice cold watermelon and grapes. Most everything was finalized. Yeah!  Thanks to everybody that attended the meeting at the Belendez abode. Candy LaChance will be in charge of Placement; Elissa Siefert in charge of Runners; Carolyn Monday in charge of Clerks. Chis Greenwood in charge of judges. Judge's lunch will again be catered by Rattler's BBQ, and the floor plan will remain nearly the same with just a few minor changes. Waterford Crystal and CASH this year. Arrangement themes will be in the vein of cowboy songs written about ladies. My favorite is "Pistol Packin' Mama." LOL!  7-3-11      Today it is so darned hot (105 in the shade) that we are just lazing around inside the house under the AC, or as we call "amazing comfort"). But we did manage to get outside and take a look at all the roses that Bob has budded onto Fortuniana over the past couple of months. They are looking amazingly good, and it appears to be about a 75% success rate. So we cut some of the tops off and then staked them. We found one that had mysteriously broken off and darn that is one that I really wanted. Fortunately, there is a second one of that that same variety, so there is hope. Of course, I get the first pick of the litter as "MINE." But there will be so many left over that we will put them in next year's rose auction fundraiser. The rose varieties that were not very successful are the same ones that always refuse to propagate, such as Impulse, My Sunshine, Golden Holstein and so forth. But we did manage to get one My Sunshine  to grow (it's a yellow 5-petalled miniature that was created by Dee Bennett). I never let these babies bloom their first year because I don't want to put unnecessary strain on the bud union until it heals completely. So I will be patient and wait until next spring to see their blooms.   6-28-11Bob and I produced a new video over the weekend, titled "How to Liquid Fertilize a Large Rose Garden Using a Submersible Pump." It is now posted on YouTube at:
http://www.youtube.com/user/kbelendez1944?feature=mhum  We did fertilize our roses last week with a liquid feeding of various water-soluble products. We combine Grow More and any brand of Fish Emulsion (both at half strength). We also added seaweed, iron, and SuperThrive. This is my favorite concoction and the roses obviously love it too. In this heat (into the '90s) we will water almost every day. Then in mid-July we will apply a big batch of dry organics and slow release products. I will talk about that in more detail at a later date.

6-23-11Rosarians are the neatest people! Today I received cuttings from a rosarian friend back east. He sent me cuttings of his beautiful shrub rose that is dark purple with a yellow eye. The name is a secret for now, but the proposed name describes what it looks like, and I hope he gets it registered soon. So Bob budded a couple, and I also put cuttings in the mister. He also sent me cuttings of some other stuff. I reciprocated by sending him cuttings of my 'Miss Kitty' and ' Cristina Lynne'.  I hope these cuttings are successful with all this heat and the 2-day transit time in the mail. It's always a gamble but worth the effort. 6-20-11Okay, what the hell happened to my June Gloom? Somebody stole it! Just four days ago the temp was in the 70's and I was lovin' it. Now it has skyrocketed to 97 today. Man, I got cheated, and want my June Gloom back. At least until after 4th of July. Couldn't even go for a walk in the neighborhood this morning, so we had to do our daily walk in the air conditioned mall. Ended up spending $100 bucks. Since it's supposed to be in the 90's the rest of the week, looks like I will need to get up at 6:15 a.m. to do the morning walk before going to work each day.   6-18-11    Bob has a mistress! Her name is "Miss Hula Hoe." I approve of the liaison. Yesterday they did the "dance" in the garden. She is my new best friend, and I love him for it. It's not like we have a lot of weed in our garden, just little sprouts. So now it's all cleaned up and this morning I applied a bucket of Preen throughout the garden to keep the weed out. Preen is a weed pre-emergent, which means it prevents the weed seed from germinating. It does not kill weeds that are already growing, that's why we have to have a party with Miss Hula Hoe BEFORE applying Preen. Our worst enemies are little bittercress (which we suspect was introduced into our garden about 10 years ago from horse manure. And oxalis  (also known as creeping woodsorrel), which loves the pots. Sowthistles is also a frequent visitor to our garden, because the seeds blow down the street from our neighbors who neglect their yards. Of course, we get some dandelion too, but mostly in the lawn. We also have knotweed, brass buttons, purslane, and spurge. For more weed identification visit the UC Davis IPM website at
 http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/weeds_all.html       6-16-11Hey, I love "June Gloom." I like this cool weather (yet oddly humid) because it is more comfortable to work in the garden. Not like yesterday when it hit an unexpected 91 degrees. Ugh! Summer will come soon enough. One drawback to June Gloom is that mildew has reared its ugly head. I thought about spraying a fungicide but will try to hold off until the heat is sure to return by 4th of July. And even though a few of my roses are covered in mildew, there are plenty that are still as clean as a whistle. The worst mildew magnets are Ladybug, By Appointment, Hot Princess, Garden Party, and a few others. Almost forgot the absolute worst of all ... AFFIRM. I only keep it because I need her for those rose show challenge collections calling for a bunch of different hybrid teas. Gemini is totally clean. So is Puanani, Fabulous, Julia Child, St. Patrick, Playboy, Miss Kitty, Black Magic, and very many others. Uh oh, the thrips are moving in now ...

6-8-11During April and May, Bob has budded about 50 roses (mostly duplicates) onto Fortuniana rootstock. They are looking exceedlingly awesome. So far, it looks like about a 95% success rate. Of course, it's a little bit too early to say for sure, but most are pushing out new growth, and some we cut off the tops of the rootstock. I will get the pick of the litter for myself, but the rest will go into next year's auction. Some of the varieties he's budded are Sister Jane, The Imposter, Cristina Lynne, Golden Holstein, Nancy Jean, Lavender Spoon, Playgirl, Evalyn Jane, Francis Dubreuil, and a bunch of other stuff. One thing we did different this year is that we put the budded plants into the mister for two weeks before moving the budded rootstock in 2-inch pots to 1-gallon pots and out into the sun. 

6-5-11    Now that the spring rose shows and the garden tours are over, it is time to take a rest. I do not spray my roses after May 15th. I will give them a big organic feeding (slow release dry organics)  sometime in June, but I do not feed them weekly water solubles like I do from mid-March through mid-May. I do not worry about bugs and mildew at this time either. With June Gloom some of the roses are going to get some mildew, and we will begin to see thrips, spider mites, and even a few aphids. But the birds and spiders will come for the feast and the roses will be fine over the summer. Of utmost importance is to keep the roses watered and washed down, and lightly trim off the spent blooms. This will help to control mildew and some of the insects. The roses don't need to look 100% perfect 365 days a year. Come Labor Day we will lightly trim back the roses to get ready for the spectacular fall bloom cycle. We will spray and fertilize again at that time. So let's just enjoy the Lazy Daze of summer. And don't forget to water. :-)6-4-11   We went to the rose show at the South Coast Botanical Gardens today in Palos Verdes Peninsula. I spent much of my childhood in and around PV, especially the beach, caves, and rocks. so it always brings back memories. Got up at 4:00 a.m. Yep, crazy rose exhibitors! They don't give trophies there, only ARS Certificates. But they did have indoor, lighted prep area which is a big luxury in SoCal, as usually we have to prep our roses outdoors in the elements. It was a good day. Bob and I won a bunch of trophies, but Best of Show with our collection of six floribunda sprays, called "The Bob Butler Challenge," was the coolest. The roses in this entry were two stems each of Playboy, Playgirl, and Puanani.  Miss Kitty (HT) won the Hi-Lo challenge along with its miniflora look-alike Whirlaway.  Miss Kitty also won the Court of Honor.   6-1-11Since we're between bloom cycles, there isn't much to see in the garden today. Paul Ecke is awesome. The petunias look beautiful. We have pinks, reds, purples, stripes, and picoteed. They love rose food. And the clematis are coming along nicely. The batch of clematis I bought online this year from Brushwood Nursery are excellent plants, so much better than the ones I bought several years ago, which mostly died. I still have one more to plant if I can find space. It's called Jackmanii, and it's purple. Our husky cherry tomato bush is loaded with fruit, although still green. There isn't a lot to do now except to keep everything watered as the weather begins to warm up. "Rose Ecstasy" newsletter should hopefully get e-mailed tonight, if I get around to it. The lazy days of summer are beginning to creep up on me. 

5-26-11We still haven't decided what will be planted on our shady northeast side of our house. It could take months to decide. I will often let a spot go empty for awhile until I decide on the right choice. I recently had two spots in the back yard go empty for many months and finally chose another Red Intuition (I do love that rose!). And the second one was another Veteran's Honor. Both on Fortuniana of course. I have several empty spots in the front yard as well. The choices there will be hybrid teas in the upper deck, and floribundas in the parkway. I already have potted roses from which to choose, so it's not like I have to go out and buy anything. It's just a matter of making up my mind.

5-24-11We need to rethink the shady, narrow northeast side of our house that's sandwiched between my neighbor's. It barely gets 4 hours of sun a day in that narrow space, so it's not easy to find roses that will bloom well there. I've tried many roses there without good results. As I said yesterday, we removed Madam Ernest Calvat and Mme Isaac Pereire last weekend after growing them in the shade for about five years. Sally Holmes refused to bloom there (she left long ago). Louise Odier hated it there too. On the other hand Anna de Diesbach and Mrs. R G Sharman-Crawford are quite happy in limited sun, so in the spring they are fully loaded with blooms. Purple Splash is blooming and growing well after only one year. I'm about to give up on Reine des Violettes, and although Joasine Hanet blooms well, I'm not too fond of its smallish blooms. So I'm toying with the idea of placing Rhapsody in Blue over there. Or maybe John Hopper or Madam Knorr, but I first need to know how tall they get. We need a tall bush there to be able to reach skyward for the sun. 

5-23-11Over the weekend we accomplished nearly everything that we had on our to-do list. Didn't quite get to the cuttings because we ended up budding more roses than we had originally planned. We also got a little side-tracked because we decided to dig up several large roses that I got fed up with. I have no more patience for Madam Ernest Calvat and Mme Isaac Pereire so they are outta here and on their way to the raffle table. Also, Cardinal de Richelieu just doesn't bloom enough for me so bye bye. Other roses that have a shovel next to them are Julia Child (a very good rose, but I do not need two) and Marchesa Boccella. Some are being replaced with plants on Fortuniana rootstock (such as Brass Band,  Peace, etc.) We then reorganized the potted roses so they are easier to find. Our June raffle table is going to have a lot of roses since I desperately need space to plant some of the new plants that Bob has budded for me.

5-20-11Nothing major planned for the weekend. Mostly rest. However, I am going to get up early tomorrow and spray the roses, which will be the last time until late September. The roses are looking pretty good now, but I see a little bit of mildew from this unusually cold weather. Hopefully this last spray with Compass and something for thrips will get them through until the weather warms and mildew disappears. We've deadheaded like crazy all week. We plan to dabble a little in finishing up the budding, just a few more to do. Gotta do some more Cristina Lynne. Maybe take some cuttings of the popular varieties for our next year's auction. People always want Green Rose, Verdun, Yolande d'Aragon, Memphis Music, and some other whatnot. Oh, almost forgot ... need to work several hours on Rose Ecstasy, and feed the roses one more liquid feed. Did I say something about rest? Hah!   

5-15-11Our annual fundraiser auction was a tremendous success. Our great auctioneer, Bob Martin, whipped through 106 roses in two hours flat and earned us $2758.. These were all high quality potted roses. High bid of $105 was made by Geri McCarron who won Kitty's Cristina Lynne on Fortuniana rootstock, the orange-blend sport of Pinnacle. A second Cristina Lynne went for $80. Although a cold breeze had arrived in the afternoon, attendees steadfastly continued with their desired bids. All the roses quickly sold, and Bob Belendez is very happy not to have to bring any roses back home. The food was awesome, as contributed by all the attendees. Barbara Grimm and sister Hilda Miyamura provided main dishes of roast pork and chicken. Susan Savage and Jan Parsoneault were the decorating queens so The Good Ship Gubert was filled with many pirate-themed goodies. Did you see our pirate ship in the back corner of the garden? Susan's talking parrot was especially cute when it mimicked whatever we said to it. The Gubert Rose Garden was in tip-top shape and showcased many blooms throughout. Many members helped out with this fundraiser. Elissa Siefert and friend moved all the plants from the Belendez garden to the Gubert garden. Todd Siefert and Bob Belendez moved the plants in and out for the auctioneer. Candy LaChance and Kitty Belendez kept track of purchases and collected the booty. Lots of photos will be included in the June issue of Rose Ecstasy.

5-13-11Yay!!! 100 potted roses are now moving out of my garden and over to the "Good Ship Gubert". Our rose auction is this coming Sunday at 2:30 p.m. So if you are a member of any rose society, you are invited to attend. But you must RSVP to Barbara Grimm, either by e-mail at jjcgnbng@aol.com, or by phone (661) 257-1764, and bring a dish of food to share for the potluck. Sorry, this event is not open to the general public. And if you want the full-color auction catalog, please e-mail Kitty at rosextckb@aol.com

5-12-11We continue to repot, dig up, and replant this week. We had about 36 cuttings in 4-inch pots that had to move to 1-gallon pots. We also have 30 freshly budded roses still in 2-inch pots that need to move up to 1-gallon pots. Needless to say, we had to order over 100 1-gallon pots from McConkey, and we also picked up a bunch of potting soil at the local nursery. I'm also going to be taking cuttings over the next week or so and put them into our misting box, but I don't expect to do too many cuttings because of lack of space. Just some very high demand roses that folks love to get on our raffle table and on the auction. Like MarriottaGreen Rose, and Memphis Music. The unusual stuff. Peace rose on Fortuniana will get a spot in the garden; but where? Will Dayna Sawyer get a coveted spot? What about that new hybrid tea that will be introduced next year? That definitely will get a spot, but I cannot show it until next year. Something else will have to go out to make space. Decisions, decisions.      

5-8-11      I began this lovely Mother's day by having breakfast with husband Bob, daughter Tina, and granddaughter Puanani, and enjoyed a good visit, which was so lengthy I thought the restaurant was going to invite us to leave so others could sit down. Once back at home I declared that this was going to be a rest day, and then Bob asked, "Is this Kitty's version of a rest day?" LOL! He knows me so well. Bob then budded 29 roses onto Fortuniana for me (well, truth be told some will be for me, and many others will be for next year's rose auction). This took a couple hours as I first had to run around the yard selecting proper budwood for each variety. When that project was completed (when is it ever done?), we took inventory of the 100 roses for next week's auction. Wanting to thin out the inventory, I added a few more roses to the list so now the total is 105. Josh Alonso has come up missing, or at least it's lost somewhere in my yard, so it won't be on the auction. The scary part is that we still have more than 100 roses left over and waiting for NEXT year's auction, although some will go on the monthly raffle table between now and then, but I don't think we need to go looking for any more plants.  5-7-11      We had a very busy day today, trying to get caught up on various tasks. Got up at 7:00 a.m. and sprayed all of the roses. Spent some time working on my family tree at ancestry.com, where I connected with one of Bob's 2nd cousins that he had never met. After a few errands we then fed all of the roses a combination of fish emulsion and 20-20-20, SuperThrive, liquid kelp and iron. That should make them all happy for awhile and will spiff up those 100 roses going on auction next week. Then to cap off the day, Bob and I made a new rose care video titled "Rejuvenating Potted Roses" which is now posted on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/OOiWKTryTHU. Now it's time for BBQ filet mignon and a soak in the jacuzzi as our reward for working so hard today.  5-6-11    Spent hours today deadheading all of our 350 or so roses. Filled up two 80-gallon trash containers. Removing the spent blooms will make spraying of the roses more efficient and also will encourage the rose bushes to rebloom faster.  5-4-11I had my own little personal rose show on my office desk today. The "Best of Show" was a gorgeous spray of the purple floribunda called 'Ebb Tide'. This rose is even more intensely fragrant than it is purple. The color in the photo above has not been retouched and is accurate to what I see in my office under fluorescent lights, next to a window with northern exposure, filtered with miniblinds.. Funny story about this specimen is that I cut it last week a couple days before heading for the San Diego rose show. I then cut a second stem which appeared to be better. So we left this first stem at home in a vase on the kitchen sink. The next day we put this stem in the refrigerator and then on Monday I took it to work where I forgot it and left it in my car in the heat for half a day. Didn't win anything with the stem we took to San Diego, but this leftover forgotten stem is a blue ribbon winner in my eyes. Delicious color and fragrance!   

5-3-11This week is rejuvenation and spring cleaning of the garden. No, our garden does not have weeds (weeds are not allowed in my garden!), and the garden is not dirty. What I mean by "spring cleaning" is thinning out the number of roses to make space for new ones. And rejuvenation means replacing old plants with new bushes of the same variety on Fortuniana rootstock. I'm excited to have new bushes of 'Arcanum', 'Francois Rabelais', 'Paul Ecke Jr',  'Secret', 'Brass Band', 'Bill Warriner', 'Fabulous', and 'Sexy Rexy' all on Fortuniana. New bushes of 'The Lighthouse' on Fortuniana will be moved from 2-gallon pots to 7-gallon pots. Oh, and we finally got most of the clematis planted. If it cools down this weekend, we plan to do some rose budding. Or not. Maybe we will just rest. There is no pressure to do anything unless we really want to.   

5-2-11Our attention will now turn towards doing some budding, planting a few new roses, and of course getting the 100 auction roses on their way out of here. Bob says yeah!   

5-1-11Today we had our garden tour. It was a bit breezy all day but our roses cooperated and there were plenty on display in our garden to please the most discriminating visitors. It was a pleasant and peaceful day, so it was relaxing as well. Two lovely events this weekend.  

4-30-11We drove 165 miles at 2:30 a.m. to enter roses in the San Diego Rose Society rose show. We brought over 100 blooms and entered most of them. We ended up winning 7 trophies, including Hybrid Tea Queen with Gemini. The San Diegans grow huge roses of vivid coloration. Mostly different exhibitors than what we are used to up in Los Angeles County. It was a good experience for us as it gives us a different perspective, and teaches us to expect the unexpected. Here is a link to a complete list of winners. Seems like a whirlwind and now we are exhausted.

4-28-11Looks like we still have plenty of blooms in our garden to satisfy visitors to our garden tour on Sunday. No feeding and spraying this week, however the focus is on keeping the plants well hydrated with water on a daily basis, especially when the temperature goes above 80 degrees. We will also do a little deadheading (removing the spent blooms). Perhaps this will be the last week of our peak blooming season, until the next cycle in June. That's if the thrips don't get them first.

4-25-11    Here is a direct link to the Pacific Rose Society Rose Show, which shows photos of winning roses and includes a link to the complete list of winners. It was a great show last Saturday. Bob and I participated and so did other SCVRS members Jim Delahanty, Tom and Miriam Cooney, Jan Parsoneault, Steve Jones, Lynn Snetsinger, and Suzanne Horn. The Pacific rose show is even bigger than our own, because their spring blooming season has a lot more floribundas and old garden roses than our show does in the fall.

4-20-11The weather has cooled down again. I'm glad because it will keep the colors of the roses more vibrant as opposed to when the high heat fades them quickly. This will be very good for the upcoming rose shows as well as our garden tour. The blooms in the Belendez Rose Garden are about one week ahead of schedule. We continue to keep the roses watered as they still get thirsty during this heavy bloom production time.

4-17-11While cutting roses for the rose show last Friday, I noticed that thrips are already making their grand appearance inside the rose blooms. They are so tiny you can barely see them without a microscope. If left alone, this could mean ugly deformed blooms within a week or two. So I had to take drastic measures and spray a combination of Orthene and Avid today. Mid-week I plan to also apply Bayer Advanced 2-in-1 Systemic, a granular combination of insecticide and fertilizer. This is a serious product for serious rose growers that want to prevent thrips from ruining the blooms. Usually just one application does the trick, and by July the thrips are usually gone until next year.  Hopefully, this treatment will get us through the spring rose shows and our May 1st garden tour. After that, I apply no more pesticides until October, when we head into the fall rose shows.

4-16-11    The WOW factor! That is what our bouquet of Playboy and Playgirl had at the San Fernando Rose Show today. Yesterday Bob and I worked hard all day cutting roses for the rose show. We went to bed early and then got up at 4:00 a.m. to arrive at the show about 6:00 a.m. for prepping our roses for entry by 10:00 a.m. Our hard work paid off with 10 trophies: the Playboy and Playgirl Bouquet; Hybrid Tea Queen with Gemini; Miniflora Queen with Butter Cream; Dowager Queen with Yolande d'Aragon; Best Single-Petalled Floribunda with Puanani; Three Hybrid Tea Blooms with Hot Princess; Three Miniature Sprays with Renegade; and several other trophies. Other Santa Clarita Rose Society members that won trophies were Jan Parsoneault; Jim Delahanty;  Lynn Snetsinger.; Leota DeCuir; Suzanne Horn; and Gerry & Gloria Youngewirth. Congratulations to all!
      4-14-11'Playboy' is out there showing off for me this morning, shouting "Take me to the rose show!" Well, he will have to wait because I'm not quite into the zone yet. 5-petalled roses often bloom first, so both 'Playboy' and 'Playgirl' are doing their thing. Today we water all the roses deeply. Tomorrow we will see if anything is worthy upon close inspection.

4-12-11Lots of activity in both the garden and the rose society. Today we posted our Rose Auction Catalog (see Events Calendar for May 15). I am so ready to get those 100 potted roses out of my yard and off to the auction block on the "Good Ship Gubert". That will occur a day or two before the auction. Meanwhile, today we plan to fertilize our roses since it's been a whole nine days since we last fed them. They surely must be hungry by now. Keep in mind that what we are feeding this time of year are liquid fertilizers and organics, not granular. Liquids go through my sandy soil quickly. Granulars would take at least a month dissolve. The first rose show of the spring season is this coming Saturday, April 16th. I'm not into the groove yet, as my adrenaline hasn't yet kicked in. I might start cutting blooms for the show as early as this Wednesday, but most likely most of my blooms will be cut on Friday and held in our floral refrigerator until Saturday morning.

4-11-11The past two weeks I've been totally immersed in my ancestry project, and I now have over 260 relatives listed, but still a long way to go. Not to worry, my roses have not been neglected. They are looking quite good despite the crazy weather we've been having. Heat, then cold, then hail, then wind. Mary Rose (a David Austin English Shrub Rose) has been putting on quite a show. Both my bush and tree versions. Of course, this means that Mary Rose will be bloomed out by the May 1st garden tour. Oh well, there will still be plenty of other roses in bloom by then.  I have managed to find the time to fertilize and spray, and even deadhead and disbud all of my roses. Bob has been a doll, watering and disbudding when he can.

4-1-11Today my blog takes a little detour to my newfound hobby. Genealogy! I've been building a family tree online and have over 100 relatives listed, spanning more than 300 years. One of the great influences in my life was my Grampa John Hudson Getz, who was a wonderful loving man. I was fortunate to be able to spend some time with him during my childhood, and he taught me how to read at age 4, even before I entered kindergarten. He grew a very lush garden full of vegetables, fruit, and all kinds of flowers. Although I don't specifically remember him growing many roses, I think he had a few rose bushes in his front yard. I will love and honor him today and always.

3-29-11Purple Tiger! One of the most beautiful floribundas I have ever seen. Created by one of my favorite rose breeders, Jack Christensen. One of my three Purple Tiger bushes is now coming into bloom. The central buds are now big blooms, so I will need to remove those central buds if I want to show stems with clusters (sprays) at the upcoming rose shows. Mr. Christensen retired early from breeding at Armstrong Roses when they went out of business during the 1990's and now teachers horticulture at a Southern California college. Between 1970 and 1990 he created over 100 different hybrid roses. Some of the other great roses he created were Brandy, Brass Band,  Gold Medal, Silverado, and Peppermint Twist, another one of my favorites. He created the white hybrid tea Crystalline in conjunction with Tom Carruth. I am pleased that he is one of my friends on my Facebook.

3-25-11Now that my clemmies are tucked safely away and growing in their little pots, and we have planted a bunch of petunias here and there all around the front yard, my attention now turns back to the stars of my garden ... ROSES! There are no roses blooming yet (I don't count the rogue bloom tucked inside a bush). But it's time for me to get serious about weekly feeding and spraying of my roses. Remember now, I am a rose show exhibitor, so I'm very intensive in my rose care. I do not advise this level of rose care for the home gardener who just wants to enjoy their roses. I don't criticize what other people do. I just do what I need to do to be competitive at the rose shows. The first show is coming up on April 16th, then April 23, then April 30. Three weeks in a row. I hope the weather starts warming up soon otherwise there may be no blooms to take to those rose shows.

3-24-11    Oh boy! I received my six new baby "clemmies" today. So you ask ... what the heck do clematis have to do with roses? Well, roses and clematis complement each other and live together quite happily. Now, I wonder how long it will take me to kill these new babies, because I'm a novice when it comes to growing clematis. I know very little about them, but I'm willing to learn. Reminds me of when I first got hooked on roses back in 1985. Some say I'm an expert at growing roses, and perhaps I am, but still I learn something new every day. By the way, I am very pleased with these clemmie plants that came from Brushwood Nursery in PA. They were packed very well, and the pots were larger than I anticipated, they look to be about quart size. One even has a bloom on it. Cost was $14.95 each and I got free shipping because I ordered 6.  3-22-11We posted the flyer for our garden tours on our calendar. The tour features two gardens on May 1st. The Kale Garden in the morning, and the Belendez Garden in the afternoon. We are looking forward to it and our rose garden is ready. Just waiting for some blooms to open their smiling faces.

3-20-11    A special day today. Our 51st Anniversary! After breakfast we walked the mall for awhile. to get the pedometer cranked up. Pouring down rain, so spent most of the day indoors on the computer today, finishing our Rose Auction Catalog, designing our Rose Garden Tour flyer, and working on the April Rose Ecstasy newsletter. Then had a little spare time (needed a break anyway) so I ordered six more "weeds" online at Brushwood Nursery. I'm getting Clematis MultiblueClematis Daniel DerondaClemantis JackmaniiClemantis Fireworks, Clemantis Bees Jubilee, and Clemantis Ragamuffin. Love that name! Then this evening we enjoyed a cozy dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurante.3-18-11    Wow! Today I was entertained by a hideous melodrama. And I had a front row box seat to the spectacle. A blow by blow play. The monster is the same as in the past, except this time it morphed into evil twins that will eventually devour each other. Scary but amusing. Too bad the lemmings don't understand the consequences. Deja vu from 1992.  3-16-11The foliage on my rose bushes looks dark glossy green and really quite pretty. At least until I came up closer to take a better look. Uh oh! Apparently there is a lot of frost and freeze damage on some of the roses. There will be no spring St Patrick blooms as there is too much freeze burn and very short stems. We have not had so much winter damage in many years. We're not going to stress over it, because it is what it is. Mary Rose has very short 3-inch stems, not the usual 15-inch stems. Affirm has nothing but blind shoots (no buds on the ends of the stems). I suppose there will still be plenty of blooms for the garden tour, but I'm sure glad we planted petunias as filler.

3-13-11      We bought 60 petunia plants this morning at Green Thumb Nursery in Newhall. We will interplant them among the roses in the front yard to add a splash of extra color for our May 1st garden tour. I favor the purples, blues, burgundys, and dark pinks. Some are bi-color with white edging or white stripes. They had some icky yellow petunias, but I didn't buy them. They also had some pastels, but I decided on the more vibrant colors this time. Not too keen on the red ones, but I did buy one tray of the red and white stripes. The petunias should be blooming before the roses. Bob calls petunias "weeds" but he's being a good sport about it because he knows how beautiful they will look for our garden tour, and he knows how much I love them even though they attract "bad bugs" especially worms and snails. However, the birds will love eating those bad critters.3-11-11Planning continues for our May 15th Rose Auction. Still lots of things to do, but attention is now focusing on decorations for our "Caribbean Pirates" theme party in conjunction with our Rose Auction. President Susan is scouting about for some fun decorations. She's still looking for a cussing parrot, but I keep telling her she already has Bob. LOL! Our list of roses on auction ain't too shabby either. Ahoy Mateys! 

3-9-11Disbudding of our hybrid teas has officially begun, and looks like 'Miss Kitty' is the first little filly out of the chute. We usually only disbud hybrid teas, not the other types of roses, because I like to see a lot of clusters in the garden. Sometimes I might remove the central buds on certain floribundas, but mostly not. I also like to see sprays on the miniatures, but will disbud the minifloras. The shrub roses are usually left alone. "Disbudding" is simply removing the small side buds from the larger central bud on a long-stemmed hybrid tea. On a floribunda cluster (spray) it's the central bud that is removed if desired. The purpose of disbudding is for rose shows, so it certainly isn't necessary for the casual gardener.

   3-5-11      I've gotten bored with rose sticks this time of year so I've been cruising the internet in search of some interesting CLEM-uh-tis. I have some places in my yard that I can use them as fillers. The purple clematis 'Viola' grows well on the shady north side of my house. Now mind you, clemmies take years to mature, much longer than roses do. So patience is a virtue. I bought 12 plants of clematis 3 years ago, and killed half of them the first year. The others are just barely beginning to grow. The Viola is 5 years old and far ahead of the others.

3-2-11Today we posted the write-ups and color photos of the two gardens that will be on our May 1st Garden Tour, which will be open to the public free of charge. The Kale Garden in Valencia will be open for tour from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and the Belendez Garden will be open from noon to 3:00 p.m. Visitors that join the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society on that day only, will receive a 20% discount on membership fees, a 10% discount card good at Green Thumb Nursery all year,  plus a free bouquet of roses..

3-1-11For the past week, I've been working intensely on our Rose Auction Catalog, which will feature around 100 different roses. Thanks to Jan Parsoneault who is assisting me in gathering information about each rose (class, color, breeder, intro date). Still lots of work to do because 70% of the roses are different than last year, so I have to change most of the photos and listings in the template. One of the roses to be featured is a bright yellow miniature called 'The Lighthouse' bred by Jim Sproul.

2-26-11    Happy Birthday to my beautiful granddaughter Puanani!  In 1997 when she was only 12 years old, I named my first rose discovery in her honor. 'Puanani' is a beautiful light pink, single-petalled floribunda rose, a sport of the hot pink Playgirl. From the time she was a baby to about 10 years old, she traveled with me and Bob to almost every rose show where she would help us prep and carry in the roses. She even won some novice and child trophies. She had fun romping around Descanso, the Arboretum, and the South Coast Botanical Gardens, and then enjoyed having pancake breakfast with the large group of exhibitors. Of course, when we arrived at each rose show very early in the morning, she always wanted to know "where are the donuts?"    

2-24-11    Those that play with snakes eventually get bitten. They are mean venomous creatures that must be avoided. That's why I don't allow snakes in my garden. No invasive weeds either. We are so very thankful for our beautiful, peaceful rose garden. We are each responsible for our own present happiness. 
2-22-11I saw the first rose bloom of the season in my garden today. It's a lovely pink and white bloom of the very fragrant hybrid tea called 'Secret'. What a pleasure to see and smell this bloom when I came home from work today. This particular plant is budded onto Fortuniana rootstock and will be on our May 15th Rose Auction.     

2-19-11    While I'm playing on the computer this morning (aka working on the newsletter), Bob went to  the garden center to get a large 20-gallon pot for Paul Ecke Jr, and several 2-cubic ft bags of potting soil. So, the boys will get planted in temporary 5-gallon pots today, even if it has to be accomplished under the covered patio.  Meanwhile, I took advantage of a few rays of sunshine to snap a picture of the boys' feet.                   

2-21-11   I'm a weather freak! Yes I am. I have direct links to three different weather stations on my iPhone so I can check the status anytime, anyplace, without getting on a computer. And all three weather stations give me the weather of anyplace in the world. Did you know that Kona, Hawaii averages 80 daytime/71 nighttime nearly 365 days a year? Yep. Not in Santa Clarita though. So this morning it was 34 degrees in my backyard at 7:00 a.m. And since weather projections say it's going to rain all next weekend, I went ahead and sprayed Banner Maxx fungicide today instead of waiting until next weekend. Wish I could have slept in later than 7:00 a.m. but what's done is done. I'm glad!

2-18-11I have a long list of things I wanted to get done in the garden this weekend, but it looks like drizzly weather is gonna keep me bundled up indoors. Instead of feeding the roses, applying Preen and repotting a few roses, apparently I will get stuck working on the newsletter and on the auction catalog. After being editor of the "Rose Ecstasy" newsletter for 19 years, sometimes it's difficult to stay focused.

2-16-11The handsome barefoot boys have arrived on my doorstep. Just in time! Darcey Bussell, Munstead Wood, and Young Lycedas. (Darcey is actually a female ballerina so of course she has long legs.) Their long journey didn't seem to faze them. They have gone swimming for a few days until I can take a picture of their feet for a special feature for "Rose Ecstasy."

2-15-11I received notification that some David Austin English Shrub Roses are on their way to me. Oh boy, I wonder what they are? Perhaps they will be here by Friday and I will be able to report on my treasures (my reward for participating in research).

2-14-11  Happy Valentine's Day! I enjoyed having lunch with colleagues today. Now that the rose show trophies are under control, and the venue is secured, I am very happy to announce that our Chairman of Judges will again be Chris Greenwood. That is a tremendous relief for me because Chris always has the judging process under control and I don't have to worry. We will again have catered luncheon by Rattler's BBQ. Mmm yummy!

2-13-11    We have already purchased 10 Waterford Crystal prizes for our November 5th Rose Show at Hart Park in Newhall. One Waterford will be for Best of show, and the other nine will be for Hybrid Tea Queen, Floribunda Queen, Best Polyantha, Best Shrub, Dowager Queen, Victorian Rose, Miniature Queen, Miniflora Queen, and Most Fragrant Rose. Ten more prizes will be Mikasa crystal or equivalent for the Kings and Princesses of the various classes, Novices, and Judges. Forty more prizes will each get $20 cash.    2-12-11   It's Saturday. The alarm buzzed at 6:30 a.m. Lots to do today. First, I sprayed my 350 roses. Bob refuses to spray, but he does get my sprayer charged and set up, and he cleans up after me. That's okay because I enjoy doing it. It feels therapeutic as I drift away in my own personal thoughts. Took just over an hour. This is two weeks earlier than I normally do my first spray, but the conditions were right ... not windy, and my indicator plants (Arcanum and Conundrum) are already leafing out several inches and showing their first signs of mildew. Gotta prevent  fungus, not eradicate. Compass (fungicide) for mildew, and Merit (insecticide) for aphids. Both are pesticides. I try to use the least toxic products, and I suit up from head to toe, including boots, gloves, hair cover, spray suit, and respirator. Shower immediately when finished. Now that the spraying is out of the way, we still have a full schedule of things to do today.   

2-11-11    Our SCVRS meeting is being held this coming Sunday, February 13th, at 2:30 p.m. at the Senior Center on Market Street in Newhall. It's sure to be a lot of fun, and the theme will of course be Valentine's Day. Steve & Susie Jones will show a PowerPoint program featuring their rose travels around the globe. We always have a full raffle table, but this month we will have a special $50 Gift Certificate, complements of Heirloom Rose Nursery, in addition to a bunch of other potted roses. Our refreshment table is also full of yummy treats furnished by many of our members. Thanks to all! Come join the fun!   

2-9-11Our other main spring event is our Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society Rose Auction, which we told you about on 2-1-11. This year it's going to be held on May 15th combined with a "Carribean Pirate" theme party. Here is a really fun website link to help get you in the mood: http://www.talklikeapirate.com/howto.html   I'm busy working on the list of auction roses, but it's going to be at least a month before we can release the information. I've tried to include some very unusual roses, some by popular request, such as Green Rose, Marriotta, and Memphis Music. As I stated before, all three of my "sport" roses ('Miss Kitty''Puanani', and 'Cristina Lynne') will be up for bid, all on Fortuniana rootstock. In the meantime, I'd like to let you know that 'Miss Kitty' is available in limited supply from Wisconsin Roses, budded on Rosa multiflora rootstock. Price is $13.95 each, plus shipping. As I had sent budwood to Steve Singer last fall, he only has limited stock of 'Miss Kitty' while supply lasts. Otherwise, there is no other place to get her (that I'm aware of), except our very own Santa Clarita rose auction on May 15th, and the bids for this rose (and anything budded on Fortuniana) will start at $20 each.   

2-8-11It's been several years since the Belendez Garden has been on the Santa Clarita Garden Tours, so this year it will again be on tour. Not to brag, but our garden is visitor-ready 365 days a year (if you enjoy seeing sticks in January and February, and green foliage in March and halfway into April). LOL! Although at first glance my garden looks the same as three years ago, the rose varieties have changed considerably. I have a revolving door policy, or maybe it's called musical chairs ... many roses come and go every year. The tour this year is going to be on May 1st, which is peak spring bloom season. The Kale garden in Valencia will be on the morning tour, with the Belendez garden in the afternoon. Complete details will be on our Calendar in the near future.  

2-6-11    Today was a beautiful sunshiny day so we did a little work in the garden. We repotted some roses, mostly moving them from 1-gallon to 3-gallon. Then later, we applied 50 lbs of alfalfa ("hay") pellets and 50 lbs of  granular, organic rose food (contained a bunch of yummy stuff such as kelp, chicken manure, beneficial microbes, and mycorrhizae). Then we finished off the day by watering everything into the soil. Then we went out to dinner. (NO, we did not watch the Superbowl as we are not so into it. :-)   . John lives in Connecticut and is a talented photographer, and is an awesome whiz with Photoshop. I wish John lived closer to me so he could give me one-on-one instruction. http://www.youtube.com/user/jpmattia2-7-11    Friend John Mattia shared with me his stunning rose videos. They are beautiful and so professional-looking. Here is a link to his works of art:  

2-5-11    Enjoyed the day at the Pacific Rose Society auction at the L.A. County Arboretum. They had hundreds of roses up for auction, plus a separate silent auction. I donated four plants for their silent auction: Green Rose, Too Cute, Yolande d'Aragon, and Miss Kitty. All went for over $20 each, and Miss Kitty (budded onto Fortuniana rootstock) grabbed high bid for $35.  We will have two of Miss Kitty on the May 15 Santa Clarita Rose Auction at Karen Gubert's place. Oh yeah, I came home with a Rhapsody in Blue to be planted on the shady north side of the house.2-4-11    Thanks to Steve at Helpmefind (HMF) for assisting me in removing nearly 70 of my rose photos from HMF so that I can watermark them with my name and copyright notice. I removed dozens of photos from my Facebook as well. I have also removed all of my photos (over 100) from the Rosarian's Corner because they were not watermarked. These are my older photos that I posted years ago without watermark. I might replace my photos on those sites in the  future if and when time allows. The majority of the photos on this SCVRS site were already removed and replaced last year with watermarked photos.
     2-2-11I am a very happy camper! As of today, all of the offending PowerPoint programs on the American Rose Society website that contained photos stolen from me, have been removed from their website. Of course, it took some bitching on my part to get it done. It never ceases to amaze me (and it pisses me off to no end) that high ranking officials (a National Vice President, a former National Chairwoman of Judges, and a National Consulting Rosarian Chairwoman) have the audacity to pirate other people's photos without permission and/or without giving credit to the photographer. Photos on this website and anywhere on the Internet are NOT in the public domain. My photos that I have put in my PowerPoints are not there for the taking. My photos are copyright protected for 70 years. Thank you for your cooperation.   

2-1-11Ahoy Mateys! "The Dread Pirate Robert" (Martin) will be our auctioneer for our Rose Auction and Caribbean Pirate Party being held on May 15, 2011 on the Gubert Man o' War ship in Saugus. Lots of booty to be divided. Grub of the day will feature hearty stew, eyeballs, pirates teeth, squiggly worms, cackle fruit, and grog. Doubloon Diggers will be Kitty and Candy, First Mates are  Karen and Jan, and Deck Hand Bobby B. (If you know what that stuff is, you get one doubloon.)    

  1-30-11    I finished the auction inventory and have a very preliminary count of roses. For now, my count is 174 including many multiples (but the count doesn't yet include all of the multiples), and I keep finding roses here and there. All three of my sports will be on auction, all on Fortuniana rootstock: 'Miss Kitty', 'Cristina Lynne', and 'Puanani' among a bunch of other things, some on Fortuniana but most growing on their own roots. It's way too early to publish the official list of auction roses because I have to narrow it down to about 100 and I want to obtain a few other unusual varieties before I finalize.

I'm starting to take inventory of the roses for our May rose auction. So far, I have listed over 50 potted roses, but I haven't even counted the ones in the back yard. I know that I have around 300 candidates for the auction, but only 100 will be on the final list. No, I'm not getting rid of my own personal roses. These plants have been propagated especially for the auction.1-29-11   Today Bob is pulling the trailer full of rose show properties out of our garage and bringing them to storage on Monday, after being here for 7 years. Bob is a happy camper. So am I. 

1-24-11The board meeting yesterday went 2-1/2 hours and we got a lot accomplished. We're so happy they approved getting a storage facility for the rose show properties so Bob can have his garage back again after it being filled to the brim for the past 7 years. We also decided to have our Annual Rose Auction on May 15th with the theme of "Carribean Pirates". Possibly we will do something different for our rose show trophies.    

1-23-11    Would like to work in the garden today as it is full of sunshine, but other tasks take precedence. This morning I'm again working on the February issue of "Rose Ecstasy." Then later this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. we need to attend our rose society executive board meeting. That will surely take 2 or 3 hours and that will be it for today. Next week I hope to apply Preen (weed pre-emergent) and feed all the roses with dry granular rose food, epsom salts, and alfalfa pellets. Then there won't be anything to do in the garden for the next two months, except the occasional watering. Bob is busy working on the swimming pool today as now the pump is acting up.

1-22-11      Today Bob shoveled 12 large 2 cubic ft bags of Kelloggs Gromulch around all of our roses, even those in containers. They could probably use a few more bags, but that's good enough for now. After he was finished he watered everything in well.   1-21-11I like to add a handful of dry fish meal in each hole when planting bareroot or potted roses. I recently tried to purchase a 50# bag from Fox Feed but they don't offer it anymore. It was a lot less expensive in the larger bag although each bag lasted me about 5 years. So now I will need to try and find it at a local nursery, which usually is only a 3 lb box. Green Thumb says they don't have it, so now I will check out Orchard Supply and Lowe's. I suppose an organic blend such as Dr. Earth might contain fish meal along with other nutrients but I will need to check the labels.

1-18-11What a beautiful day! Just two weeks ago we had snow (okay, it was only one inch, but unusual for here) and today it's 81 degrees. Yes, that's our erratic Southern California weather. Is it any wonder that I monitor the weather at three stations on my iPhone? We're not like Hawaii where year-round it's 80 degrees daytime and 70 degrees nighttime. So what you say? Well, it means that I need to water my roses today because we haven't had rain in nearly two weeks and I have the automatic sprinklers turned off. We did water the potted roses several days ago, but it's now time to water them again. We especially need to water those roses that we planted last weekend because their roots haven't spread out yet, and also those roses that we dug up and put in containers.
1-15-11    There is a nice article and big photo in the LA Daily News today featuring Bob Belendez and his humongous rose trimmers. The title is "Shear Genius." They also have the article on the Daily News website with different photos and a different headline. I like the paper version much better. Clair Martin, Steve Jones, Peter Schneider and Kitty Belendez were also quoted, but Bob was the star!1-14-11On my wish list for tomorrow (and Bob's Honey-do list) is to plant the two tree roses that have been sitting in my driveway in 5-gallon pots since last October (Outta the Blue and Topsy Turvey). I also have a 5-gallon Sweet Intoxication (lavender intensely-fragrant floribunda) that needs to get in the ground too. Oh, and I want him to move Wild Blue Yonder from the backyard to the front where it will have more space to breath and not be cramped in between huge bushes of The Squire and Distant Drums. This Honey-do list keeps getting longer and longer by the minute. Honest, I don't make him do everything in our garden. I'm the one that sprays and fertilizes and gets to decide which new roses to buy. He just digs holes and prunes. Sounds fair to me. :-)      

1-13-11    I'm making some progress on this photographic project. Hopefully, I will have some time on the weekend to apply some Preen to the rose garden and take inventory of the auction roses. I know for sure we will have Green Rose, Miss Kitty, The Lighthouse, and way more. But the main focus on the weekend will be to finish the February issue of Rose Ecstasy. So little time, so much to do. Have you paid your membership dues? If not, sign up today HERE.      

1-11-11    For the next two weeks (after I get home from my day job), my evenings and weekends will be consumed by a huge photographic project. Although this is a major volunteer project to which I committed last year, the project materials were dumped in my lap only yesterday, and we were given only 5 days to get the job done. After I threatened to quit, they gave us a one-week extension. I am not happy about the the extremely tight deadline that we were given, but I will try to fulfill my obligation to the best of my ability. In between, I am also working on the February issue of Rose Ecstasy. Looks like my upcoming "holiday" weekend will be spent doing volunteer work.      

1-10-11Although I have about 350 roses listed on my "official list of roses" in the Belendez Rose Garden, everybody knows that we have another couple hundred roses waiting in the wings in 2-inch, 3-inch, or 4-inch pots. These are roses that I took cuttings in friends rose gardens last year. These roses will be moved up to 1-gallon pots soon for our Annual Fundraiser Auction. Even I do not know what roses I have out there, but I need to take an inventory soon. We also have a bunch of roses that Bob budded onto Fortuniana rootstock early last year, and they too will be on the auction. The budded roses are already in 1- or 2-gallon pots and are busily growing roots. I probably won't be able to find the time to take inventory until President's Day weekend.
1-9-11    Our Annual Rose Care Seminar was again very successful and many visitors from the public attended. Bob and I discussed and demonstrated pruning roses, and Steve talked about planting bareroot and fertilizing roses. We had many items on our raffle table, including potted roses, Corona long-handled pruners, and goodies from Kelloggs.
*1-8-11    Our gig at Green Thumb Nursery was busy and we answered many questions from the public about growing roses, and we assisted them with their bareroot purchases. It was very cold this day but we kept busy so the day went fast.
*1-6-11Bob and I gave our pruning demonstration at the Pacific Rose Society meeting tonight. It was a long drive out to the Arboretum in Arcadia, but we had a lot of fun with very congenial folks. They had a potluck that was good as any Thanksgiving Feast.

1-4-11Bob finished all the rest of the 35 roses yesterday. Yeah!      

1-3-11Because of the snow and extremely cold weather yesterday, we didn't quite get all of the rose pruning done as planned. We still have about 30 more rose bushes to do. Since we are now back to the real world at our regular day jobs, and it gets dark by the time we get home from work, any further pruning will have to wait until next weekend. That's okay because we're pretty much on schedule as I like to have the roses finished being pruned and dormant sprayed by mid-January. From here on out it will depend on the weather.   

Anyhow, I had to thaw out from our walk to the end of our block, as I came back with icicles on my face. Well, not really, but at 47 degrees and the wind chill factor it sure felt like it. So I'm warming up with a big cup of hot mocha. Then I will finish "Rose Ecstasy" so I can e-mail it to paid members at the end of the day. UPDATE: Bob gave up after only 2 bushes as it started to sprinkle and he says "It's freezing out there!"What he really meant is he wants me to stay out of his way and not bug him so that he can get the pruning finished. 1-2-11    Mr. Bob is out in the garden taking a few more licks at the last 35 roses before it starts raining today. He gave me orders to go in the house and do what I do best. I think he meant "play on the computer." Ha Ha! So that is what I'm doing. 1-2-11    ANOTHER UPDATE:  At 2:30 p.m. it started snowing here. Just lightly at first, and we thought it wouldn't stick to the ground. But the temperature started dropping quickly and by 4:30 p.m. it was 41 degrees and we had white stuff all over the roses and lawn. This is the first time in 20 years that it has snowed here, and only the second time during the 45 years we have lived in this house. The forecast calls for an inch of snow, which is a lot for Santa Clarita Valley. This is very unusual.

1-1-2011    HAPPY NEW YEAR! We've been pruning our roses almost every day all week. Except Wednesday, December 29th when it rained all day. I am happy to report that we are almost done pruning. We have about 35 more rose bushes to prune, and they are mostly minis, minifloras, and polyanthas so they aren't too big.    

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L to R: Susan Savage, Steve Jones, Kitty Belendez, Beverley Wexler, Ingrid Gonzalez, Elissa Siefert, Candy LaChance, Kathy De Roo, Bob Belendez, Carolyn Monday