Kitty Belendez,
Master Rosarian

Kitty Belendez and her husband Bob grow about 300 roses of all types in Santa Clarita, California. Some of their favorites are the greenish-yellow hybrid tea named 'St. Patrick'; the velvety red shrub 'The Squire', the vibrant pink-blend hybrid tea named 'Gemini'; a gorgeous light pink floribunda named 'Puanani'; and the pink old garden rose Yolande d'Aragon with its heavenly fragrance. Other favorites are the stunning white miniflora rose 'Whirlaway', the purple miniflora 'Dr John Dickman'; the vivid yellow floribunda named 'Golden Holstein'; and the lovely red polyantha named 'Verdun.'

Kitty was a co-founder of Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society in 1992. She served as President during 1995, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008, and will be serving again as President beginning January 2015. Kitty established the inaugural rose show for the SCVRS in 1994, served as Vice President/Rose Show Director for 1992 through 1994, 2004 through 2006, 2009 through 2015, and other offices including VP Program Chairman, and Board of Directors. In December 2004, SCVRS honored Kitty and her husband Bob with ARS Bronze Medals and Lifetime Membership for their many years of outstanding service and dedication to the rose society. This is the highest award that a local ARS rose society  can bestow.          

Mrs. Belendez has also served 23 years as editor of the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society's gold medal award-winning bulletin Rose Ecstasy, winning awards for every eligible year of its publication, including 3 Golds (1998, 2002, and 2007), 5 silvers, 5 bronzes, and 3 honorables. Kitty has authored over 450 published articles on rose horticulture, which were published in Rose Ecstasy, the American Rose magazine, ARS Annuals (1997, 1999, 2000), the Rose Exhibitors' ForumSan Diego Rose RamblingsPacific Rose, and Pacific Southwest Rose. Her articles have been reprinted hundreds of times in newspapers, rose society newsletters and web pages throughout the World. ARS has presented Kitty with 48 Awards of Merit for her articles since 1993. She was a contributing writer/editor of the ARS book project The Ultimate Rose.

In March 2001, Kitty designed, produced and launched the web site for the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society. The popular web site has attracted over 3.5 million visitors since its inception. In April 2009 Kitty designed and created the web site for Pacific Rose Society, for which she was honored with Life Membership for her work on their web site. She continues to serve as Webmaster of both the Santa Clarita Valley and Pacific Rose Society web sites. The American Rose Society honored Kitty's Santa Clarita web site  with the GOLD MEDAL Queen of Local Rose Society Web Sites for 2008. Kitty also designed and actively manages the social media Facebook for the Santa Clarita Rose Society.

One of Kitty's favorite activities is the annual winter pruning demonstrations which she and Bob have provided free to the public for the past 24 years. Bob's quick method of pruning miniature roses is always an eye-opener and provides comic relief from a potentially boring topic. Kitty enjoys opening her private home garden to the public for spring tours, and welcomes rosarians from other states for visits. Probably the most challenging yet rewarding event is planning and organizing the annual fundraiser for the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society because Kitty and Bob grow and provide 125 rose plants for the auction which earns the rose society $3,000 each year. The fundraiser is coupled with a fun-filled theme party such as a Hawaiian Luau, Mexican Fiesta, Mardi Gras, or a Western BBQ, which the members love.

Kitty and Bob love to exhibit their roses at about 8 rose shows each year, and have won thousands of ribbons and nearly 1,300 trophies on the local, district, and national level. But, more importantly, they have been fortunate to meet many other rosarians from around the country who share their passion for growing roses.

Kitty co-authored a 48-page booklet with Steve Jones titled How to Grow Roses in the Santa Clarita Valley. All proceeds from this book are donated to the rose society for educational purposes.

For the Pacific Southwest District (PSWD) of the American Rose Society, Kitty serves as a Horticultural Rose Judge and Master Rosarian, both since 1992. In 2005 she was designated as a "Master Rosarian" by the American Rose Society in honor of her 10 years of active and continuous service as a Consulting Rosarian. She was PSWD bulletin editor of Pacific Southwest Rose and District Education Chairman (2000 thru 2003). She has been a featured speaker at four Judging Schools, three Consulting Rosarian Schools, as well as dozens of speaking engagements at local rose societies and garden clubs throughout the district on topics ranging from "Growing Roses in Containers," "Rose Hybridizing""Rose Propagation from Budding and Cuttings", "Planting Roses", and "How to Grow Prize-Winning Roses." For 2002 she was the Producer of the Consulting Rosarian School & Seminar held in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2004 she was the Director of the District Judging Seminar held in Santa Clarita. And in 2007 she designed and produced a unique Consulting Rosarian Seminar that was combined with a bus tour to rose gardens in Santa Barbara. She has attended nearly every district convention since 1988, and many judging schools and CR seminars held in Southern California since 1992. In 2001, Kitty was honored as the Outstanding Consulting Rosarian of the Year for the Pacific Southwest District of the American Rose Society.

Kitty has been a member of the American Rose Society (ARS) since 1985. She served on the ARS Year of the Rose 2002 Committee and the ARS Garden Evaluation Committee (2000-2009). Kitty served on the ARS Publications Committee (newsletter contest) and the ARS Editorial Advisory Committee (1997-2000). For 2003-2006 she served on the ARS Program Services Committee as well as the Product Evaluation Committee. For 2006 through 2009 she again served on the Product Evaluation Committee as well as the ARS Editorial Advisory Committee. And from 2006 through 2012 she served on the ARS Digital Photo Contest Committee and judged hundreds of photo entries every year. She has been a featured speaker at two ARS national conventions (1995, 1997). Of note was her well-attended lecture on "How to Produce a Newsletter That Your Members Will Love" at the ARS National Convention held at Denver in 1995. From 1998 through 2009, Kitty served as an ARS online "Cyber Consulting Rosarian" where she answered thousands of e-mail requests for rose care information. 

During 2004 and 2005 Kitty produced four PowerPoint programs for the ARS for use by its members: "The Rose, Our National Floral Emblem"; "Miniature Roses"; "Fabulous Floribundas"; and "Judging Challenge Classes and Collections." In 2013, Kitty produced a new PowerPoint presentation called "Kaleidoscope of Fabulous Floribundas" which she presents at various rose clubs throughout Southern California. For 2014 she will be giving her Floribunda presentation to Santa Clarita, Pacific, South Coast, and in 2015 to Ventura Rose Society.

During 2006, Kitty wrote the monthly "Beginner's Column" for the American Rose magazine. For 9/2006 through 9/2009 Kitty was Chairman of the ARS Editorial Advisory Committee, and was the Editor of the 2007 American Rose Society Annual. In June 2008, Kitty was awarded an ARS Presidential Commendation for her work on the 2007 ARS Annual.

Well known for her editing and writing skills, Kitty was editor of the quarterly ARS publication Rose Exhibitors' Forum from 1994 through 1997 and was awarded the ARS Presidential Commendation (from Pete Haring) for her exceptional performance. For 2010 through 2012 Kitty served on the Board of Directors of the American Rose Exhibitors Society.

Kitty has become an accomplished rose photographer. Hundreds of her rose photos have been published in books, magazines, newspapers, rose society newsletters, as well as many web pages. Her rose photos have graced the American Rose Society annual calendars on several occasions.

Kitty's newest venture beginning December 2010, in partnership with her husband Bob, is producing YouTube mini videos featuring various topics on roses such as budding, rooting, exhibiting, fertilizing, repotting, and pruning. They have produced a dozen rose-related videos.     

Kitty Belendez attended the UCLA Graduate School of Management where she studied advertising, marketing and business, and received a Certificate in Business Management. Kitty most recently worked as Executive Assistant to the Superintendent and School Board of an elementary school district where she worked for 19 years. In the past, Kitty worked 27 years in graphic arts, marketing communications, advertising, TV commercials, magazine ads, direct marketing, media, print production & purchase, point of sale, publicity, convention management, product marketing, packaging, including a very successful 17-year career as National Advertising Manager for Staedtler-Mars, an international manufacturer of drafting, art, and office supplies, frequently traveling throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Kitty's maternal great-grandfather, citrus grove owner, and Azusa Water Company owner, Samuel Ashton Overholtzer, was the founder of Laverne University in 1891. Her paternal grandfather, Junius Laws, homesteaded 160 acres of land in Saugus, California around 1910.


Photos © Copyright Kitty Belendez
© Copyright Kitty Belendez. All rights reserved. 

For questions about 
Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society, contact:
Kitty Belendez
Updated December 28, 2014
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