2008-2009 Diary of Activities in the Rose Garden of 
Kitty and Bob Belendez
Copyright Kitty Belendez

By Kitty Belendez
Master Consulting Rosarian

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12-28-09    We're almost done pruning the front yard. So nearly all of the floribundas and hybrid teas are done. Next we start on the old garden roses, shrubs, climbers, miniatures, polyanthas, and minifloras. Overall, I think we have pruned more than 40% of our roses. Those are usually a lot easier, and if they are just lopped off the top, they will do well, but I would rather thin them and fine tune. Depends on how much energy we have left before I poop out. Floribundas are the hardest.

12-27-09    I think we have pruned almost 40% of our roses during the past several days, mostly hybrid teas and floribundas. For me, floribundas are the most difficult because they take a lot of thinning, down low on the ground, and I have over 50 of them. Next we start on the old garden roses, shrubs, climbers, miniatures, polyanthas, and minifloras.  

12-26-09    Bob was anxious to get out and continue pruning roses this morning, so he began about 9:00 a.m. It's still a bit too nippy for me so instead I will putter around and dilly dally on the computer in the warm house. Maybe around noon I'll be in the mood, but I know I need to get after those floribundas. We found some San Jose Scale on my Trumpeter tree, although it seemed to be dead residue. I will be spraying a horticultural oil next week after most of the roses are pruned. I miss the SunSpray Ultra Fine parafinic oil, which apparently has been discontinued. So now we have to use Lily Miller, which appears to be a different product as it is listed as "petroleum oil." I suppose that Volck Oil might be the same as Lily Miller, but I really don't understand the difference with the SunSpray. Bottom line they are all oils, most likely petroleum derivatives. I might have to give an extra dose to Trumpeter just in case. The 60-gallon green waste cans are beginning to fill up. The neighbor let us have her extra can so that helps.

12-25-09    We enjoyed talking to family on the phone this morning. First, my son in Northern California, then niece and sister in Oregon. Towards noon we talked to the grandkids in Northern California. Then while waiting for daughter Tina and her kids to come over, Bob and I went for a 22-minute walk. Then Bob pruned 38 floribundas. It's my job to thin out and de-leaf the floribundas, so that will take a couple of days. Maybe today, maybe not. It's supposed to rain tomorrow so I better get in high gear.

12-24-09    While waiting for our 310 home-made tamales to be steamed, which takes about 8 to 10 hours, Bob went out and pruned 16 hybrid tea roses. But before he started pruning I ran around the yard cutting three bouquets of hybrid teas for the holiday guests to enjoy. I call them Christmas Roses because they are a gift to me this time of year. The first bouquet is St. Patrick and the color was lovely although the stems were of only medium length. The next bouquet was a combination of very long stemmed Black Magic, Let Freedom Ring, and Hot Princess. The third bouquet was really the leftovers but lovely pastels nonetheless: Gemini, Sheer Bliss, Secret, Moonstone, and Pink Promise. He would have done more, but I told him to stop so that our guests for our tamale fest could see a few roses. He really did want to continue pruning. He reported that he found cotton cushion scale on one of the hybid tea roses. Friends and family began arriving around 5:30 p.m. and we all enjoyed the tamales, chile beans, salsa and chips. Oh, and the endless margaritas (virgins for me please).

12-23-09    We picked up 15 lbs of masa this morning bright and early 8:45 a.m. at Carillo's Tortilleria to beat the rush. We were surprised that the place was nearly empty, but glad that we didn't have to stand in line for 45 minutes like we normally do to pick up our prepared masa that we pre-ordered on December 1st. At 10:30 a.m. I went to a lovely brunch with my office co-workers at Marcia's newly remodeled home. This gal is a great cook and a talented seamstress and quilter. 1:00 p.m. Tina, Puanani, and William came over to help put the 310 tamales together. We were so glad when it was all done. It only took a couple of hours. No time for rosing today, but I did check on the budded roses that Bob did last month and they are looking mighty fine. Fingers crossed.

12-18-09    GONE PRUNIN'
Well, the rose pruning will start on December 26th and continue until we get 350 (or whatever) roses completed. Depending on the weather, this could take two or three weeks. I will report on our progress after New Year's Day. 

But first, we celebrate the holidays with family and friends ...

On December 22nd we will begin our Christmas celebration by beginning the process of making 300 home-made tamales which takes several days. The first day we boil the pork, beef, and turkey meat (20 lbs) and then shred it after it has cooled. The second day we pick up the prepared Masa (15 lbs) from Carillo's Tortillera, from which we have bought for about 40 years. (This is the tiny little place where famous comedian George Lopez actually worked when he was a young adult, and before he became famous. George had a smart aleck attitude even back then.} Then we roll and wrap the tamales into ojas (corn husks) with masa and filled with the meat and a whole black olive. On the 3rd day we steam the tamales in huge pots for about 8 hours. In the early evening of Christmas Eve, friends and family come over and enjoy the tamales, home-made crockpot chile beans, home-made pico de gallo salsa, and margaritas. Christmas morning, December 25th, is our gift exchange with family and then dinner in the early afternoon. I'm thinking of having an old fashioned pot roast this year since Bob doesn't really like turkey that much, but tolerates it at Thanksgiving.

12-13-09    We enjoyed a really fun Winter Holiday Party for the Santa Clarita Valley Rose society this evening at the home of Steve & Susie Jones. They had hundreds of Department 56 villages on display.  We had 36 friends in attendance. We sure have lots of good cooks in our society as each family brought a yummy dish to share. Outgoing president Judy Klement thanked her board and gave each person a lovely scroll and gift. Then Suzanne Horn installed the incoming officers and introduced her office and board member. I took photos of all the partygoers, which will be published in the January issue of Rose Ecstasy.

12-10-09More new roses arrived today. We received 3 new ones from Almost Heaven Roses, and 6 new ones from Rosemania. I hesitate to name varieties because these roses are untried and are new for me this year. All the new miniature and mini-flora roses received last year have not been stellar so far, but most don't do much the first year. So it will take some time to report on them. They are all on own root, not budded onto rootstock. Abby's Angel (received last year) shows a glimmer of hope so Bob will try to get her onto Fortuniana. 

12-8-09There is snow on the surrounding mountains this morning. It was 32 degrees and ice on my van this morning. Bob turned off the mister. He saw ice dripping (frozen drips) off the misting heads in the box. Just in the nick of time. I tried to water the new cuttings, but the hose was frozen solid. Tried to roll down my van window as I left for work and the window is frozen shut. Last night we did the last of the buddings and cuttings. This is going to be an interesting experiment to see if budding can really work this time of year. I'm not too worried about the cuttings because they should eventually grow, but the buddings will be a guessing game. We keep them on a wagon at night in the garage at about 48 degrees, and roll them out into the sun in the morning. I suppose we could just turn on the grow lights in the garage and leave the budded roses there for a few weeks. The coldest season for my yard is December 15 to January 15. After that it begins to slowly warm up a degree or two each day until spring, which is March 15. We will probably get some frost between now and March 15th.

12-7-09It's raining today. And it's a good thing because we have not watered the roses in 3 days and they were looking a little thirsty. Roses love rain so this is good timing to flush out the soil before our big pruning session at the end of the month. Today I brought in to the office another huge bouquet of Black Magic and St. Patrick that I had cut on Saturday and refrigerated until today. I decided to cut them before the rains began. Co-workers refer to Black Magic as "Red Velvet Roses." I do have to say that St. Patrick and Black Magic are the longest lasting cut roses that I grow as they sometimes last up as long as 2 weeks in a vase on my desk or kitchen table. This might be the last bouquet of hybrid teas for the season, but I'm hoping to have another bouquet of something for Christmas Day. 

12-6-09​  Bob finished putting up the Christmas lights today. Then in the afternoon we attended a lovely holiday party and dinner of the Pacific Rose Society that was held at the Embassy Suites hotel in Arcadia. Everybody was in good cheer, and outgoing president Don Lorenzini gave his officers a 2010 rose calendar and some candy. Afterwards a bunch of us stopped over at Bob & Lynn Snetsinger-Merchants place for a comfy little get-together. Lynn let me take some rose cuttings, and Suzanne gave me some cuttings too when we picked her up on the way to the party. So Bob and I will be propagating Monday night.

12-5-09  Bob and I sorted through our trophy winnings this year and selected 30 items to be given to our rose society members at our Winter Holiday Party on December 13th. We will be wrapping them in gift bags and everybody who attends the party will get one of these "grab bags." 

12-4-09  Tonight I found out quite by accident that my orange sport of Pinnacle is now registered with the American Rose Society. I have named it 'Cristina Lynne' after my daughter Tina. It is a floribunda and I will be sending budwood to a supplier next May, so my rose might be available for sale next fall. However, supply will be limited until sufficient budwood supply is built up. Meanwhile, Bob has budded me a plant onto Fortuniana, and maybe, just maybe, we will have a plant available on the Santa Clarita auction May 2010.

12-3-09​  First frost! It was 40 degrees here this morning, with frost on the lawns, roofs, and van windshields. Brrr!  We now are putting our budded roses onto a wagon and pulling them in the garage at night, and rolling them out into sunlight when we leave for work in the morning. I still have rose cuttings in the misting box, but we will have to keep a watchful eye on the weather and turn off the mister if the temperatures will be 34 degrees or lower at night. Otherwise, the water pipes to the mister might freeze and burst. This time of year rose cuttings can be put outside and most will still root if they are kept watered daily.

12-2-09The new roses are begining to arrive. The first two to come in are from Wisconsin Roses. They are maidens, which are recently budded onto Rosa multiflora with the rootstock still on top. The tops will be cut off around February. The new roses are hybrid teas Artic Circle and Asso di Cuori (an oldie). More roses to come from Edmunds Roses (the climber Purple Splash, which is purple and white striped similar to Purple Tiger), some minifloras and miniature roses from Almost Heaven Roses, and Rosemania. I already bought two new tree roses from Otto & Sons last weekend. Now to decide which roses will go out to make space for the new roses. Decisions, decisions. 

12-1-09I think that winter is almost here. It was 42 degrees on my patio this morning. Regardless, I am still able to cut some roses from my garden, so I brought a nice bouquet of the hybrid tea 'Black Magic.' It is no wonder that this rose makes an incredible florist rose as well as great at the rose show too.

11-24-09'Miss Kitty' is now beginning to bloom. I' ve had a bloom sitting in a vase on my kitchen counter for 5 days. 'Miss Kitty' still looks good after 5 days in the house. I have discovered that I need to cut her tight and let her open inside the house, much like her parent 'Cajun Moon.'

11-23-09The Mary Rose tree that I bought new this past summer has been exceptionally productive for me. I counted several dozen blooms on long stems during November and she is still blooming. I won two trophies with Mary Rose at the Santa Clarita Rose show on November 7th, and three trophies with Mary Rose at the Desert National Rose Show in Palm Springs on November 13th.

11-22-09I walked my garden today in order to inventory what is still blooming as part of my pruning experiment. I am shocked to discover that most roses this year took an average of 60 days to bloom from pruning day to bloom date, which is 10 days longer than I had anticipated. Even the miniature roses! My garden is in full bloom now but some roses still have not bloomed yet, especially the floribundas. I'm not entirely convinced that 60 days is normal, but rather the October cold snap (42 degrees at night for several days) had a big influence on the delayed blooming. I cut a huge bouquet of 18 St. Patrick and Black Magic for my office and will enjoy roses for Thanksgiving day.

11-19-09I have started my annual "In & Out" rose list. This helps me to get organized for which roses I want to dig up and get rid of, and which roses I want to order. I think this may be a small list this year, although I do have several roses on my wish list. I have a bunch of roses waiting in the wings to be planted. These are replacement roses that Bob budded onto Fortuniana rootstock last year such as Sexy Rexy and Perdita. Most of the plants going out will most likely be put on the auction or raffle table of our rose society. I need to find space to plant the few new ones yet to be ordered. Desperado hybrid tea needs a space as I received it as a maiden last April and she is so ready to get her personal space. I don't need two bushes of O'Rilla and Hollywood Star, so one of each will go on the May Auction.

11-18-09  At the convention last weekend, Bob and I were fortunate to have a personalized one-on-one demonstration of chip budding by Burling Leong who was Ralph Moore's assistant for many years at Sequoia Nursery. Burling now has her own nursery called Burlington Nursery. We discussed with her how our success rate for t-budding was not as good as we would like, usually between 10 and 20%, which is barely acceptable for a hobbyist budder and would be considered very poor for a commercial budder. She gave us some great tips which we will implement and even experiment with over the winter. Burling says we can bud any time of the year with her method, so we are going to give it a try. Next year I will write an article about the process and its success rate. 

11-14-09  Finally got a good night's sleep last night for the first time in almost a week. Slept for about 11 hours. Went to the district business meeting this morning where we were presented with our four district trophies: the McFarland (collection of 5 different hybrid tea roses in separate vases), the Scottsdale (collection of large roses in one vase), the Albuquerque (3 different shrub roses in separate vases), and the Los Angeles (collection of 8 antique roses in one vase). I was also awarded the Gold Award for the Santa Clarita Web site. I had already known about the web site award since September but nobody had told me they were going to present it last night at the national membership meeting, which I did not attend because be decided to get some sleep. So they gave it to me this morning at the district business meeting instead. A huge break down in communication from the powers that be. At 11:00 we went to the show room where they presented the horticultural section of the rose show and got 5 more trophies. Then headed for home for a good rest.

11-13-09​  Laid in bed for hours staring at the ceiling. Couldn't sleep because I was having an adrenaline rush. Bob always sleeps, lucky him. At around 3:00 am I jumped out of bed and said, "Let's go. I'm tired of not sleeping." Got down to the prep room by 3:30 am. I thought we would be standing in line waiting to get in, but the room was already open. The arrangers had gone overtime (they were supposed to be out by midnight). Grabbed two tables, then went out to the van to haul in our roses (11 crates) and get vases from the big U-haul truck. Fortunately, we brought our own cart as the hotel did not have one as promised, nor did they have the roll-up door open, so we had to walk a long way around the side of the hotel to haul in our roses and vases. The prep room was nice so we started working on the roses right away. By 9:30 a.m. we finished entering most of our roses. Could have used another hour, so ran out of time and had some left over roses. Made a huge bouquet of Hot Princess (these ones were very pretty) to enjoy in our room. Went out to breakfast with Jeff, Lynn, Suzanne, Bob, and Janene at Applebee's. The show room opened around 1:00 p.m. and we found out that we all had won a bunch of trophies. Bob and I won 9 trophies including the District McFarland (a collection of 5 different hybrid tea roses for the 3rd consecutive year). I took some photos and posted them on the Rosarian's Corner and on my Facebook. The complete list of winners is posted on roseshow.com, under What's New. Went out to dinner at La Bella Roma with 40 friends. Very relaxed and casual atmosphere, inexpensive, and the service and food was awesome.

11-12-09Today we spent most of the day packing for the national rose show in Palm Springs. Not only packing our clothes, which didn't take much time, but more importantly our exhibitor's grooming kit, packing the roses (which I calculate at around 200), and other supplies that we needed to bring to the rose show. We headed off for Palm Springs about 5:00 p.m. But first we stopped on the way for Pizza at our favorite Chi Chi's to avoid running into traffic on the 10 Freeway. That worked out well, and so we arrived at the hotel in Palm Springs about 9:00 p.m. First we checked into our room, then we went over to the exhibit hall and prep room to scope out the area. Finally got to bed about 10 pm, but who got any sleep? Not me. Bob could sleep standing up with bagpipers blaring.

11-11-09Today is Veterans' Day, which is a holiday from work for me. Perfect timing since I was going to take the day off anyway, to cut roses all day. Well, I cut, and cut, and cut, all day until my feet wore out. Now mind you, my garden is just barely coming into bloom, so it was somewhat like looking for Easter eggs to find those roses.

11-9-09I got out of bed at 6:00 a.m. to get ready for work early, then spent a little time scouting my garden to see if I will have any roses for the National Rose Convention being held at Palm Springs next weekend. I cut a few roses and will try to cut roses every morning all week, but time will tell if there is anything worthwhile for the nationals.

11-8-09Tom Carruth was our guest speaker at our rose society meeting today. Tom gave a very interesting presentation on the new roses being introduced by Weeks Roses in 2010. He gave each attendee a beautiful color catalog filled with delicious roses. I want that new climber called 'Purple Splash'. It is purple and white striped like Purple Tiger, but a climber. The parents are Soaring Spirits and Rhapsody in Blue (if I remember correctly).

11-7-09​  Our Santa Clarita Rose Show was a great success. We had 26 exhibitor teams, 434 entries, and 711 rose specimens. I was very pleased with the turnout, and our publicity efforts attracted many visitors to the rose show. We appreciate all of our volunteers who helped to produce our beautiful rose show for all to behold.

11-5-09Our rose show is on Saturday. At this rate, it looks like I will have plenty of blooms ... on Thanksgiving Day! I just hope that it remains fairly warm the next 8 days so that we can have some blooms for the National Rose Show in Palm Springs on November 13th. Patience darlin'. Back to the Santa Clarita rose show ... it looks like everything is ready to go. Tomorrow we will set up the exhibition hall and then on Saturday wake up at 4 a.m. and head for the show. I'm looking forward to Sunday (when the show is over and I can rest).

11-3-09To hedge my bets, this morning I started cutting a few roses for the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society rose show that is being held at Hart Park on this coming Saturday. I got out of bed much earlier, because I still have to get to work by 8:00 a.m. I cut a couple each hybrid teas, shrubs, miniatures and mini-floras. I never cut old garden roses more than a day before a rose show because they usually shatter if cut before that. I don't like to cut the minis this early either, but like I said, I'm hedging my bets. The Hot Princess is blooming, but they look horrible.

11-2-09 The good thing about the time change is that it is daylight at 6:00 am. but the bad thing is that it is dark when I get home from work. So ... I will be cutting roses for the upcoming rose show at 6:00 a.m. instead of 6:00 p.m. That is the only thing I don't like about the time change. I feel like a bear getting ready for hibernation. It's time to go to bed at 8:00 p.m. zzzzz..........

11-1-09The time changed today. I got up at 7 a.m. and found out it is really 6:00 a.m. Had to spray the roses, so I was glad that the sun was already up. Can't get used to the time change though. We are both tired and not used to this time change. In the afternoon we fertilized the roses with 240 gallons of mixed fertilizer using the sump pump. That is four 60-gallon barrels of mixture. It sounds like a lot but it goes real fast, about 1.5 hours to get the job done. This will be the last time this year that I will spray and feed the roses. After pruning in January I will apply a dormant oil to all of my roses. I am looking forward to a nice rest ... but first we have two more rose shows the next two weekends. Then we can rest for the holidays.

10-31-09Bob attempted to hang the wallpaper in the bathroom, but the "prepasted" very expensive wallpaper did not have glue on the back. Instead it bubbled up on the back. Had to return it to Lowe's and special order a different wallpaper. I sure hope we get this redecorating project done by Christmas. In the evening lots of kids stopped by our house for Trick or Treat. They sure were cute. Lots of fun.

10-30-09We had a fun Halloween lunch at work. I dressed up in a Jester-Devil outfit ... half jester and half devil. I won the prize for best costume, probably because this is the first year that I actually wore a costume to work, so it must have been the shock value. We had yummy pizza (hooray for pizza parties) and home-made desserts. Wowee it was good!!

10-27-09What is that strange noise outside? Drats! It's the Santa Ana winds thrashing everything in sight. Trees are rendered naked as their leaves are blown hither and tither. Local weather report says it is now blowing 44 MPH with expected howlers at winds up to 65 MPH tonight. There is nothing I can do to protect my roses, but I suppose there will be a rose or two for English Box or Rose in a Bowl on November 7th and 13th rose shows. I'm going to be philosophical about it ... doo doo happens. 

10-25-09I wanted to sleep in late, due to lack of sleep yesterday, but dragged myself out of bed at 7:00 a.m. to go out and spray the roses before it gets windy. It's a good thing I got up early, because by 10:30 it was indeed windy. I hope the Santa Ana winds don't wreck the roses because we have two more rose shows to go to. Prepared the newsletter for mailing and did a bunch of other chores, then squeezed in a 30-minute power nap. At 4:00 we fed the roses (it took four 55-gallon drums of my secret recipe). After dinner we topped off the day with our daily soak in the jacuzzi. Gotta love that jacuzzi!

10-24-09At 3:15 a.m. the alarm went off. We jumped out of bed and quickly got dressed and loaded all the roses in the van. We were out the door by 3:55 a.m. Not much traffic but it did get foggy down near the coast and LAX. Arrived at 5:30 a.m. and worked until 9:45 prepping our roses. Went out to breakfast with exhibitor friends at the Cheesecake Factory. That place is expensive but we only go there once a year for breakfast. Great food but a budget breaker (and a diet breaker too). At 1:30 they opened the show and we saw that we won 7 trophies. My little seedling of Winter Magic x Hurdy Gurdy won the Best Seedling prize. This is the 3rd time I won a trophy for this mini seedling since I bred it in 1992. Got Mini-Flora Queen with Whirlaway, Best Floribunda with Trumpeter, and some other stuff.

10-23-09 Got up early and spent half the day cutting whatever rose blooms we could find for the rose show at Orange County Rose Society. After scrounging around for whatever we could find, it looks like we will have enough to keep us busy, also really not that many blooms. Normally we bring 10 or 12 crates of roses plus a large cooler of mini roses. This time we only have 4 crates plus a half-full mini cooler.

10-21-09Today is Bob's birthday. Happy Birthday, Bob!  We'll go out to dinner on Friday with the family to his favorite pizza joint, as is his birthday choice. 

10-20-09Cut a few blooms after work this morning and put into the floral fridge. Not much out there in the garden yet, but I figured I better start cutting and refrigerating whatever I see on a daily basis. These blooms will hopefully be for the Orange County Rose Show but my expectations are not very high. My garden is a good two weeks away from producing usable rose show blooms. November 7th and 13th are my main goals.

10-19-09Bob cleaned and organized the rose show equipment after work today. We are getting ready for the fall rose show season. Meanwhile, I arranged for the judges luncheon, which will be yummy catered BBQ chicken.

10-18-09Today was a busy day in the garden. Got up at 7:00 a.m. and sprayed for pests. Later in the afternoon we fertilized all the roses. The roses look pretty clean and dark green, but the blooms won't open for a few more weeks. 

10-15-09There is lots of fresh, new red foliage on my roses. However, the cold snap of last week  slowed down the bloom cycle so that there will be no blooms this weekend, and unlikely any next weekend as well. I'm just hoping that it will warm up enough to push open the blooms in time for our rose show on November 7th, and the following week at Palm Springs. It's out of my control so we just sit and wait. Obviously we will be enjoying roses on Thanksgiving Day. What will be will be. 

10-13-09It is drizzling today. But the temps this morning were 58 degrees, not bad for a brisk one-mile walk before going to work. We need the rain! Will take daughter Tina out for her birthday dinner tonight. I'm thinking about perhaps naming my new rose sport after her, if she likes this orange rose. But I know that her favorite colors are purple and yellow, so I will bring a bloom to show to her and see if she likes it. Otherwise, it could take another 10 years to find a suitable yellow or purple rose sport to name after her.

10-11-09Had a great rose society meeting today. Baldo Villegas ("Bugman") was our speaker. His presentations are always so educational. After the meeting, Baldo came to our house and inspected my garden. He said my foliage looks awesome. I pointed out some chewing damage on my Rose de Rescht and Baldo told me it was a very tiny worm that gets into the bud when it begins to develop. The Orthene I spray will kill those bugs (but Merit would not have). These bugs seem to be attracted especially to Rose de Rescht. Then we took Baldo out to dinner and came back and talked until late hours.

10-10-09It's supposed to rain tomorrow and some days next week, so I got up at 6:45 a.m. and sprayed all the roses with Compass (for mildew) and Orthene (for insects). I also added in some Response which is a liquid seaweed, plus the spreader-sticker Indicate 5. Got most of it done, but found out the neighbors are having a garage sale this morning. Had to work around that and come back and spray the neighbor's side in the late afternoon when the garage sale was over. Then we fed the roses with a combination of 50/50 fish emulsion and water soluble fertilizer plus a dash of SuperThrive and liquid seaweed. The roses love this combination.

10-8-09The roses are beginning to push out new growth, but it appears to be slow. This is due to the cold weather that has now appeared. It was a chilly 42 degrees on our patio this morning. I hope the days remain warm, although mid-80's would be better than mid-70's if we are going to realize some blooms for the November rose shows.

10-7-09My "Orange Pinnacle" sport had a bloom and a bud on it today. It is quite lovely and continues to grow now that Bob has budded it onto Fortuniana. However, further plants have refused to be budded over the summer, probably because it didn't want to be budded during 100 degree weather. Now I have to think of a clever name for this lovely floribunda, which is a sport of the red blend Pinnacle.

10-6-09We walked to the older part of town this morning, then had breakfast at a cute little place called the Busy Bee Cafe. It had a jukebox and they continually played 50's music the entire time we were there, and the decor was authentic 50's- 60's. Even the waitress (who was probably a teenager during the 50's) wore a cute little red poodle skirt. The food was delicious but expensive. I had blueberry pancakes and well-done bacon strips. Bob had chorizo and eggs. Afterwards we had another long walk along the board walk. The doctor says, if we're gonna eat more, then we have to walk more. So walking it is ... over 15,000 steps today. Whew! But those pancakes were worth it.

10-5-09We arrived at our Ventura beach front hotel and it is fun to watch the surfers from our 5th floor window. We took a long walk on the old historic pier, then another walk along the board walk to get a closer look at those surfers. They were all wearing wetsuits. Whatever happened to the real surfer dudes (the Beach Boys of the Hawthorne era in the early 60's) when they just surfed in their cut-offs and no wetsuits. What a bunch of whimps these days. 

10-2-09The weather today is an awesome 86 degrees at mid-day. I wish I had a hammock to just take a nice nap out in my backyard. I think I will go for a walk instead. Since all the rose pruning is done, I want to feed the roses a blend of Grow More, fish emulsion, liquid kelp, and SuperThrive tomorrow to get them going. I hope they bloom by early November. It's out of my control so I refuse to worry about it.

10-1-09Bob and I drove down to Westminster this evening where I gave a PowerPoint presentation to the Orange County Rose Society. The title of my presentation was "Judging and Exhibiting the Challenge Classes." This is an updated and much expanded program that I produced several years ago for our judging seminar. I added about 20 new slides. The traffic was heavy going down, but not too back coming back except there was an accident on the I-5 before we got to Newhall. We got home at 10:55 p.m. Funny thing is that the temperature was a lot colder in Santa Clarita (82 at 2:30 p.m.) than in Long Beach (94 at 5:30 p.m. That was a very big surprise.

9-30-09We finished pruning the final dozen minis today. Now we just sit and wait for them to rebloom. Well, there is a little more to it than that. We will begin fertilizing this weekend.

9-27-09We pruned just a few more roses today and then I did some minor weeding with the hula hoe. I wanted to apply Preen but it was just too darned hot. So instead I prepared the newsletter for mailing and will take it to the Post Office tomorrow. Meanwhile, Bob checked all the sprinklers and found that a couple of heads needed to be replaced. Then we both checked out the spray pattern and discovered that a few needed to be adjusted to spray correctly. This is so important to do every couple of months as it is surprising how they can easily get out of whack.

9-26-09We finally hit 250 ... that is the number of roses we have pruned since September 6th. Only about 100 to go, which we plan to have finished by October 1st if not sooner. All the pots, trellises have been moved away from the perimeter of the house so it can be tented for termites next week. Roses that are growing up close to the house have been trimmed a bit harder to clear 12-inches away from the house. I think we are ready for the tenting. We just want to get the tenting over with and get on with life.

9-25-09I took some cuttings of Rose du Roi and hopefully they will successfully root so that I can put it on the rose society auction next May. I checked on the Fortuniana sticks that have been in the mister for about 5 weeks. Most have begun to root and in fact I might have taken them out of the mister today but it is supposed to be over 100 degrees this weekend. I will leave them in the mister until after the termite tenting next week as this is the safest place for them right now.

9-20-09Still continuing to prune the roses for the fall rose shows. Bob got off focus to fix the water valve to one of the sprinklers in the back yard that was leaking and causing a mud puddle. He also had to clear away a bunch of junk away from the side of the house in preparation for the termite tenting. Meanwhile, I took over in the pruning department and attacked the climber Fourth of July, and some more hybrid teas in the back yard such as Gemini, Hollywood Star, and O'Rilla. Took a break for an ice cream cone at the Dairy Queen, a stop at the hardware store, and then a well-deserved nap. Oh yeah, before the nap I finished our October newsletter, Rose Ecstasy, and e-mailed it off the the printer. We deserve a nice soak in the jacuzzi tonight, under the stars. Yeah!

9-19-09Bob made quick work of the rest of the hybrid teas in the front yard. He pruned two St Patrick's, a Miss Kitty, Gemini, Black Magic, and Veteran's Honor. These are the tall ones growing up against the garage, all on Fortuniana rootstock. We had to chop them back a bit more than we wanted to, in preparation for the termite tent that will cover our house in a few weeks, and we have to keep the bushes 12 inches away from the house. Meanwhile, I attacked some shrubs and old garden roses in the back yard. Large bushes of Abraham Darby and Golden Celebration were my main projects for the morning. I also trimmed Anna de Diesbach, Mrs R G Sharman-Crawford, The Squire, and Rose de Rescht. That's enough for this day. 

9-15-09This morning I was saddened to read an e-mail announcing that the great Ralph Moore has passed away at age 102. He was known as the "Father of the Miniature Rose" for his tireless work in developing and breeding miniature roses for the past many decades. Ralph had just retired last year. The rose world will miss him, but surely he is enjoying a beautiful rose garden in Heaven.

9-14-09Continuing to focus on our goal ... we trimmed 24 floribundas today after work. Bob is so fast it is incredible (he uses hedge scissors on floribundas, shrubs, and minis). I then followed behind him and did some thinning and fine-tuning. So far we've trimmed 97 rose bushes since 9/7/09 ... only 250 or so to go. Will probably do another 100 (HTs, shrubs, and OGRs) within the next 5 days. Then will begin on the minis and mini-floras next week. I'm looking forward to being done. (Somewhere in-between trimming I have find some time to produce a rose society newsletter and go to work everyday.)

9-8-09Enjoyed history in the making this morning. Was fortunate to watch a live video stream with my administrative team of President Barack Obama's very inspiring and motivational speech to school children K-12. I don't understand what all the pre-speech media fuss was about because kids need to be motivated more often in life. Who better than the President of the United States.

9-7-09Trimmed the first dozen large roses for the fall rose shows. Will do another dozen or so this week, then a few minis. The bulk of our 350 roses will be trimmed beginning September 15th through September 22nd. It's a lot of work, very time-consuming, but not nearly as much work as the full winter pruning in January. With fall pruning we do not strip off any foliage, so the job goes much quicker. However, having to dismantle the four trellises attached to the house is going to be a distracting project, but it has to be done in order to prepare for the termite tenting and fumigation that will be scheduled for the end of September. We're hoping to fit in a long weekend in October to visit family in Grass Valley, followed by a quiet side trip to a nice bed & breakfast on a remote river before the rose shows begin. But first, ... work before play ... have to get busy pruning those 350 roses (but who's counting?). And a 1, and a 2, and a 3 ...

9-2-09We found termites in the house. Had to call an exterminator for an inspection. Will need to tent the house and have it fumigated as they found termites in 3 places: on the exterior bathroom door, in the garage, and in the southwest portion of the attic. Well, the house is 43 years old, that's how long we've lived here, so it's time to do it. It's going to be a pain in the butt prepping everything because any rose bushes growing up against the house will have to be trimmed back and out of the way of the tent. Pots will have to be moved away, and the 3 trellises with climbers on them will have to be temporarily moved. And we will have to stay in a hotel for two days. We will probably have the tenting done at the end of September after we have trimmed the roses and before the rose show season. Sigh.

8-27-09We've stopped deadheading now because we want the roses to grow with abandon. Some of my hybrid teas are 5, 6, and even 7 feet tall (Black Magic). I'm not concerned if they set a few hips because in a couple of weeks we will begin trimming 1/3 off of all the bushes so that they will bloom at the end of October. Most of my antique roses probably will not bloom in the fall, except Rose de Rescht, Marchesa Boccella, Green Rose, and Francis Dubreuil will never disappoint us. Other OGRs will tease us with a sporadic fall bloom here and there, such as Yolande d'Aragon, Rose du Roi and Sidonie. The Gallica Cardinal de Richelieu will only share his bounty in the spring. Miniature roses produce blooms continuously as do most shrubs. For most gardeners (non-exhibitors), I recommend to simply keep deadheading your roses (trim off dead blooms) at least once a week, which will pretty much ensure you of having a continuous supply of blooms.

8-23-09Wow! Everything at the Tomato Fest was free including parking, BBQ, salsa, chips, soft drinks, and a tour of the massive greenhouses. It's amazing how they grow their tomato plants horizontally at Beylik Family Farms in Fillmore. Bob and I had a great time with friends Jan, Elissa, Judy, and Walt. It was very humid inside of the greenhouses as these tomatoes are grown hydroponically in just 4 inches of coconut coir and without insecticides. They grow the tomatoes year round and sell them at 20 different Farmer's Markets throughout Southern California. It was a pleasant diversion for the day.

8-22-09I inspected the 17 roses that Bob budded two weeks ago onto Fortuniana rootstock. 8 have failed, and 9 still look good. I lopped off the tops of the rootstock. This will be a good test to see if the tops can be cut of this soon. It was disappointing to see that Playgirl has once again failed miserably.  Playgirl is immensely better when grown on Fortuniana. The bush is much bigger with longer stems, and many more blooms. The trick is in getting her to accept the rootstock. Try, try again.

8-18-09​  The roses are loving all these organics I'm pouring on them. Not so sure the tomatoes like to be fed that much though, as all of a sudden they appear to be sulking. Anyhow, the rose bushes are getting so big and tall. We've stopped deadheading as I want the roses to grow with abandon until we start light fall pruning to induce blooms for the October and November rose shows. I noticed that Rose de Rescht has some worm damage near the blooms, those worms love Rose de Reccht and she is my indicator plant. I will need to snap off the heads of those  although the worms have already done their damage.

8-16-09  I checked the new Fortuniana sticks that I received from UC Davis two weeks ago. They are looking very good in the mister. Still very green, still have all their leaves, and nothing looking "pruney."  I got 60 and expect at least 55 to successfully root. These will be used to bud onto next spring after they are well rooted.

8-15-09​  The 17 budded roses are looking good so far. But it's only been a week since Bob budded this batch so I don't want to get my hopes up. I noticed that one of the few surviving roses he budded on Fortuniana in July is the oldie Christian Dior. Thanks to friend Cliff for mailing budwood to me! I am so excited to see that it is beginning to grow. Cliff also sent budwood of some other oldies and although they were not successful in budding, it looks like the leftover cuttings are rooting. I think the problem with the July batch is that we left the rootstock, rootbound, in a 4-inch pot after budding. We probably should have moved them up to a 1-gallon pot straight away. Live and learn.

8-14-09  The rose show schedule for Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society is now available. We have some fabulous crystal trophies. Karen and Ingrid lucked upon a terrific Waterford sale and so bought enough for next year's show too. There are going to be some lucky winners at our November 7th rose show.

8-13-09Here is the link to the sad story about the ARS election. I am so bitterly disappointed with the leadership of the ARS for ignoring this disaster and keeping it a secret from our members. 

8-10-09Bob and I take a walk every morning before going to work. Today was no exception. It's about one mile and feels very invigorating. In the winter, when it's cooler, I walk mid-morning at work. But during the summer it's too hot after 9:00 a.m. My goal is still 10,000 Steps a Day, and I do hit my goal most days.

8-9-09Bob budded 17 roses for me today. Lots of goodies like Playgirl and Miss Kitty and some other stuff. We put them on Fortuniana rootstock, and this time moved them to 1-gallon pots instead of 4-inch pots. I hope they are more successful than the ones we did last month, which were a miserable failure during the heatwave.

8-8-09We put some chicken manure on all of our 350 or so roses (who's counting?).Not the stinky stuff, but the bagged kind we get from Orchard Supply. We put 1 lb. on every rose, 1/2 lb on the minis. Used up 7 large bags of this stuff. The roses seem to love it.

8-7-09Custom ordered some really nice vinyl wallpaper for the bathroom. Really splurged on this stuff, but we both love it. Bob will begin stripping the old wallpaper off as soon as the new wallpaper arrives. Then have to paint the ceiling and all the trim.

7-28-08 The death knell has sounded for the American Rose Society (ARS). Their web site has been destroyed by hackers who have installed a trojan virus on the site. DO NOT GO THERE! It will install the virus on your computer as it did mine. 

7-26-09It was too hot to take our usual walk this morning, so after a leisurely breakfast of fresh fruit and spice muffins at Mimi's Cafe we went for a 25-minute walk at the air conditioned mall. Than back home to work in the garden ... Trimmed off the spent blooms of the roses (deadheaded) for several hours today. Our roses will probably be in full bloom again beginning Labor Day. Applied alfalfa pellets and a liquid feeding of half mixture 20-20-20 and fish emulsion, plus epsom salts, chelated iron, liquid kelp, and SuperThrive. Our two tomato bushes will love this concoction too. We do not spray insecticide this time of year, but did wash down all the bushes with a hose-end shower head to keep the dust and spider mites away. I didn't see any "bad" bugs but I did see some spiders, which is a good thing because they eat the "bad" bugs. At the end of the day we treated ourselves to a light meal at El Presidente, then back home for pool-time, patio TV, and another soak in the hot bubbly jacuzzi, which does wonders for the body after a long day of working in the garden.

7-25-09Went to a pleasant Consulting Rosarian Seminar today in Ventura. Good speakers, interesting topics, and delicious food. Enjoyed visiting with friends from all over Southern California. It was nice to do nothing much of anything and just enjoy the day. The weather was a cool 75 over on the coast, but when we got back home about 4:00 pm. it was a yucky 95. Bob BBQ'd some filet mignon, and I made corn on the cob and a big salad. Then we enjoyed the pool for awhile. We have satelllite TV on the patio, so we watched "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" while relaxing in the jucuzzi. Ah, it's a wonderful life.

7-17-09Have made several fun visits to Otto & Sons Nursery in Fillmore over the past several weeks. We bought a bunch of new roses, including one climber 'Night Owl' and six or seven new tree roses (I'm losing track) plus a bunch of new bush type roses. The tree roses are Cinco de Mayo, Honey Perfume, Burgundy Iceberg (which looks more pink in our heat), Moondance, Mary Rose, Eglantyne, and LD Braithwaite. Dug up a very old Playboy tree, and other tree roses Sexy Rexy, Fair Bianca, Pink Gruss an Aachen, and Symphony. They went to a good home. I'm stuffing in the tree roses amongst the regular floribunda bushes, and still have space to add two more but didn't see anything at this time that I want so will wait until next spring to see if there are any new introductions at the nurseries.

7-5-09Took a break from the roses, and we spent the day updating the bathrooms. Purchased new toilets for the two bathrooms, as the old ones are 43 years old and still flush using 5-gallons of water. Nothing wrong with those old antique toilets but why waste water, and I wanted a higher "comfort height" for adults. The new ones only use 1.6 gallons. Handyman Bob already got one installed. Also picked out new faucets and looked at wallpaper. The old wallpaper will have to be removed by stripping or steaming. Will finish off by painting the woodwork and ceiling. It may take a few weeks to get it all done, because we work full time and can only do the redecorating in our spare time. What spare time?.

7-4-09Work before play ... in the morning before it got too hot, we finished weeding the garden and then applied Preen, which is a weed pre-emergent. Work was done by noon, and then family came over  at 2:00 p.m. for swimming and a BBQ. Bob cooks a mean tri-tip, plus we had corn on the cob and a nice salad. Snacked on watermelon, but a low-calorie chocolate mousse that my daughter made. They left by 7 pm to go see fireworks. We stayed in, but I have to say there was plenty of huge ILLEGAL fireworks right in our own neighborhood. It was scary because this is high fire season, but but people just don't have any respect for life or property. Luckily there were no incidents.

7-2-09I'm beginning to work on the rose show schedule for our November 7th rose show. I don't anticipate too many changes, but we are adding a couple of new classes. The "Big & Little Look-Alikes" will return to the schedule, but this time Bob has custom-made a beautiful oval stand that holds both blooms (without stem and foliage). We will also return the "Classic Shrub" class. Most everything else will remain intact with minor fine-tuning here and there. I'm also preparing my fall pruning strategy, which will be quite different than in past years, since our rose show will be a month later than usual.

7-1-09  We found a real live baby bunny in the backyard. We've never had rabbits in our yard in the 43 years we've lived here, and there is no way to get in as we have block walls all around. I suspect that an owl or hawk dropped it accidentally on the way to dinner. We'll try to trap it and relocate it to a wildlife area because bunnies love to munch on roses. Not in my backyard!

6-28-09It was 103 degrees here today and it's supposed to be 100 or more every day this week. The roses are not used to this much heat yet (neither am I), but the roses are doing well if we keep them watered. The new tree roses were not too happy as their roots have not yet had a chance to take hold. The stems look droopy this afternoon but flooding them perked them up considerably.

6-27-09Bob dug up three rose bushes and one climber to make space for new stuff. Night Owl is replacing Sombreuil. I took a few cuttings of the clematis Niobe since it had to be trimmed away from Sombreuil, and put the cuttings in my misting box. I've never taken cuttings of clematis before so this will be a new experience. I wonder if they will be successful in this awful heat?

6-21-09Took a bunch of the cuttings out of the misting box. Most rooted in less than 6 weeks. Put a few more in. Bob budded a bunch of stuff onto Fortuniana, but won't know if those are successful for at least a month. I hope it stays cool for awhile, which will help the newly budded roses. Too much heat too soon certainly won't help them. For now, they are resting under the shade of a huge climbing Leander.

6-20-09June Gloom brings lots of mildew to roses, especially when not sprayed with a fungicide. We bought four new tree roses today: Cinco de Mayo, Mary Rose, L D Braithwaite, and Honey Perfume. Also got a Night Owl climber but will have to dig out Sombreuil to make space for it. I love those purples!

6-15-09Still in peak bloom, I brought a huge bouquet of the hot pink hybrid tea 'Big Time' to the office this morning. Where is a rose show when I need one?

6-14-09Bob and I discussed and demonstrated how to propagate roses at the rose society meeting today. We had a huge turnout, over 50 members and guests. I showed how to do cuttings, then Bob demonstrated how to bud roses onto rootstock. We then put 3 budded plants of The Squire on the raffle table amongst a dozen other plants, many packages of fertilizer, books, and hand tools. I hope The Squire will be successful; the lucky winners will know in about 6 weeks.

6-8-09Brought three big bouquets of roses to the office. St Patrick, Hot Princess, and Affirm are in their prime blooming cycle. This cool and overcast "June Gloom" help to make the blooms last longer and bring out the vivid colors of the blooms.

6-1-09It's amazing that the second bloom cycle is already beginning. Constant deadheading will do that. Got home from the trip, and noticed that more disbudding needed to be done (removing the side buds from the central bloom). First up is Gemini of course, and now Hot Princess, Black Magic, and St. Patrick. There's a couple of rose shows this weekend, so we put a few roses in the fridge this morning just in case we decide to go.

5-31-09Enjoyed a 3-day visit with family in Northern California. The four grandsons are awesome!  "A" students and All-Star baseball players! (Well, the 2-year-old isn't an All-Star yet, but as rough and tumble as he is, he will make a great football tackler.) Even the 8-year-old is an amazing pitcher his first year in the minors. Wow! I am impressed if I do say so myself. :-).

5-26-09  I cut seven long stemmed Gemini this morning. They are beautiful sitting in a vase in my office. I love that rose. It is the first hybrid tea to bloom in the spring, and the first to rebloom for the second bloom cycle. It's very disease resistant and produces lots of blooms. I have 8 bushes of Gemini. Oh, make that 9!

5-22-09Hope to finish the June issue of "Rose Ecstasy" this weekend and get it off to the printer on Monday. Sunday should be a great day for BBQ and swimming with the family in our backyard. Then Monday, Bob and I will repot roses, take some more cuttings, and bud a few things onto Fortuniana. Will need to check my wish list. First up is my orange sport of Pinnacle and a few other goodies.

5-19-09We have thoroughly deadheaded all the spent blooms in my garden to help encourage the next bloom cycle, and to discourage thrips which have made their grand, ugly entrance into the garden. Had to spray Orthene and Avid, and will spray Conserve next week. Normally I do not spray after May 1st, but we are hoping to have a few blooms for the San Diego rose show on June 6th. Hey, at this rate, maybe we will have blooms for the American Rose Society national rose show and convention in Canada ... were it not so terribly expensive. I think our passports are up to date if we change our minds at the last minute. Hah! Nah! That is too far to go to a rose show.

5-16-09​  The "real" rose show was a great success, even though 90% of my roses had been refrigerated for 10 full days. Five of those roses even won trophies. It was a great experiment, and there will be an article in the June issue of Rose Ecstasy detailing the saga.

5-9-09Thought we were going to a rose show today, but had the wrong date in my head. Have a fridge full of roses and if the roses survive in the fridge might do an experiment for next week's show. If I'm feeling up to it. Instead spent the day taking cuttings in friends gardens and propagating for next year's auction. Lots of obscure climbers, shrubs, antique roses and polyanthas. My misting box is now nearly full. Would like to visit one more friend's garden and fill up the mist box. Gotta find time first. In June we will demonstrate at our rose society meeting how to propagate roses.

5-3-09​  Rose society annual auction was a great success! Will again be able to buy awesome trophies for our November 7th rose show. A fun day was had by all. Friend Jan dressed up like Lucy stomping grapes with purple feet and all. Cute! See "Lucy's" photo on our events calendar page. 

5-2-09​  Went to the rose show at Bakersfield today. We did well, 18 trophies. We might be called trophy hogs. I call it hard work. They gave nice trophies. Won Victorian with Ralph Moore's Precious Dream. Probably the first time ever with that rose, a hybrid bracteata. Looks like a decorative peachy-pink mini. Will need to propagate it for friends before it becomes extinct.

4-26-09 Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society had two great garden tours at members' homes. Both gardens were very lovely and the weather was perfect! The Signal newspaper gave the gardens a full-page write-up with beautiful photos. I took some photos too, so maybe it will give me some ideas on which tree roses and climbers to select for replacing others in my garden. 

4-25-09      We are deep into rose show season. Bob and I did well at the San Fernando Valley Rose Society rose show last weekend, and at the Pacific Rose Society rose show today. Unfortunately, rose shows continue to get smaller as the number of exhibitors shrinks from lack of interest. 

Thank YOU for reading my blog! I thought I had it pretty well buried, but now that I know people have found it and are reading it, I'll have to update it more frequently  (=^..^=)

3-3-09​  The American Rose Society informed me today that our web site has won the Gold Medal (Queen) of web sites. Although this site was created and launched in 2001, this is the first time that I entered the contest.

3-1-09  It was a busy day, starting to organize the papers for income taxes, but did manage to find some time to fertilize the roses. We applied a combination of Grow More 20-20-20 and fish emulsion (both at half strength), plus Superthrive, liquid seaweed, and a dash of iron chelate.

2-28-09  I finally had the opportunity to spray my roses. And just in the nick of time since I am now seeing aphids on the buds, and mildew on the foliage. So I sprayed both fungicide (Compass) and insecticide (Merit).

2-11-09​  We've had a cold snap this past week, with hail and slush. Didn't seem to hurt the roses. Mulching, and fertilizing was completed a couple weeks ago. Applied Preen weed preventative on top of the mulch. Have not had to water much during the past couple of weeks because of the rain. Roses love rain! So now we sit and wait for the roses to grow. I'll be on the lookout for the first signs of mildew.

2-8-09​  We had a terrific speaker at our rose society meeting today. Dexter Friede of the Grow More company educated us on fertilizers and micronutrients. He generously gave us products for our raffle table, which our members very much appreciate. Many were pleased to be able to tray out the seaweed extract, fish emulsion, and other fertilizers.

1-11-09Still sick and barely able to talk due to sore throat, cough, and laryngitis, with medications I managed to get through our annual Rose Care Seminar (although the next day my voice was completely gone). Bob and I talked about pruning, and it's always fun to see Bob eager to lop off their heads. Steve talked about planting bareroots, mulching, and fertilizing. Everybody seemed to enjoy the seminar.

1-10-09Due to illness, I had to forego our annual gig at Green Thumb Nursery for the first time in 17 years. Steve, Bob, and Kym were troupers and all took up the slack.

1-7-09We enjoyed two weeks off from work for the holidays. Made 300 tamales for our Christmas Eve celebration with friends and family. Several days before Christmas we decided to take advantage of the good weather (although some days were very cold in the 50's) and started pruning the roses early. By New Years Day we were nearly done. I just have to thin out some of the miniatures and shrubs, otherwise it's all done. I also found some time to apply dormant spray to all of the roses to keep the persistent San Jose Scale under control. 

12-14-08Our rose society had a wonderful party today at Steve & Sue's place. Over 50 rosy friends attended. The food was awesome, and everybody was so happy and friendly. Their home was beautifully decorated with 100's of Department 56 villages. Everybody received a gift compliments of the good fortune that Bob & Kitty had at the 2008 rose shows.

12-8-08We're not getting many new roses this year, well at least not the big kind. Instead we are focusing on getting our best roses onto Fortuniana rootstock. I did get a few minis and mini-floras from Rosemania and Almost Heaven Roses. They arrived in little 2-inch pots but have already been moved up to 1-gallon where they will stay for at least several months. Some of the new varieties include Renegade, Top Contender, and Unbridled. It will be fun to evaluate these new roses.

12-6-08Bob had to dig up Elizabeth Taylor which is 16 years old and Andrea Stelzer which is about 10 or more years old. Both of these hybrid teas were on Rosa multiflora. They were so huge that he had to tie a rope around them and pull them up with his truck. That made easy work, well much easier than if he had to dig them up by hand.

11-29-08Dug up some of the roses that will be moving out. Most were too big to put back into pots so we had no other choice than to just throw them away. Started removing some of the roses from the neighbor's side too.

11-15-08I'm working intently on my "In and Out List." This is my annual list where I decide which roses get to stay and which ones get dug up and replaced. Except for some Mini-Floras, I'm not buying many roses this year. Not because of the economy, but because of limited space and I already have some 5-gallon roses waiting in the wings, which Bob has budded onto Fortuniana rootstock. I'm so excited that roses such as Rose de Rescht and Francis Dubreuil are ready to pop into the ground. We (actually Bob) has already dug up about 8 large roses. Some that are on the way out:  Sunstruck, Marilyn Monroe, Blake Hedrick. Two inferior bushes of St Patrick will be replaced by better ones on Fortuniana rootstock.

11-8-08It was a long drive out to Palm Desert (about 300 miles round trip). We were successful in winning 12 trophies, despite rain and Santa Ana winds the week prior to the rose show. Fortunately, I cut 30 stems of St Patrick on Monday 5 days prior and refrigerated them. St Patrick has a history of holding well in the fridge, and they did so again. We won 6 trophies with this wonderful hybrid tea: Court of Honor, 3 blooms, 6 blooms, cycle of bloom, English Box, and rose in a bowl. What an awesome rose! I still have plenty of blooms in my garden although the winds have not been kind to them. But, my timing in cutting them earlier this fall was spot on. Despite our best practices in pruning, fertilizing, and spraying, we cannot control Mother Nature and the Santa Ana winds.

10-27-08Fertilized all of my roses for the last time until January after pruning. Today we applied fish emulsion and Grow More 20-20-20, each at half strength mixed together. I also added some SuperThrive, liquid seaweed, zinc, iron, and Mills powered Easy Feed (a test sample they sent to me, but which I do not know the ingredients, but possibly kelp, alfalfa, and other organics). We have one more rose show on November 8th in Palm Springs, but whether or not we will actually go will depending on if we have any rose blooms remaining by then.

10-25-08We awoke at 2:45 a.m. to get ready for the Orange County rose show in Newport Beach at Roger's Gardens a beautiful nursery. We left home at 3:30 a.m. and my friend Jan followed us down there. We got there at 5:00 a.m. and immediately started setting up. We won 9 trophies, Jan won two. 

10-18-08We had a fun get-away vacation in Santa Barbara for a few days. Lovely hotel just two blocks from the beach. Had dinner at Holdren's on State street. Great food! The Mission rose garden was interesting as they had a collection of many older AARS roses, almost like a rose museum. Disappointing side trip to Solvang, and it is not what it used to be. Solvang stores are no longer local hand-made crafts but instead are now filled with cheap junk from China and Taiwan. Back in Santa Barbara we went for long walks along the beach and to the end of the pier. Everything is very expensive in Santa Barbara although we managed to get a large suite for half price, and they served freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, hot out of the oven at 3:00 p.m. every afternoon. 

10-11-08The Santa Clarita rose show went well although it was breezy and very cold in the morning. Exhibitors brought their lovely roses and it was a pleasant day. The crystal trophies were awesome! Bob and I won 16 trophies, 5 of which were Waterford.

10-5-08Well, it's my birthday, but the roses don't know or care. They need attention. I got up at 6:30 a.m. and sprayed the roses with Compass, Orthene, Response, and Indicate 5. Bob helped me get set up and he cleaned up after me, but I am the spraymaster (with my battery powered Spray Boss). Later in the afternoon, 3:30 p.m. we fed the roses with a 50/50 combination of fish emulsion and Grow-More 20-20-20, plus some SuperThrive and Grow-More chelated iron. Some of the roses are looking a little chlorotic from the constant watering, necessary because of the high heat, but now that the weather is beginning to cool down, we have shortened the watering time as well as applied a little extra iron.

10-04-08Bob and I applied Gromulch to all roses, both in-ground and those in containers. For 325 roses, we used 12 bags (1.5 cf each). Using gloves, we spread 3 double handfuls (using two hands) around each large bush, and one double handfull in the potted minis.

10-3-08I was invited as a guest speaker on KHTS radio 1220 today from 10 am to noon. Janice Murray was the radio personality host, on the "Non-Profit Spotlight." It was fun, and the talk was about our rose society and our upcoming rose show. Steve also appeared on the show last Monday 9/29. It was a lot easier than I thought. We are so fortunate and grateful that KHTS gave us this opportunity. 

9-25-08Making some final arrangements for the upcoming October 11th rose show in Santa Clarita. Reserved the judges luncheon to be delivered. Making table cards, trophy cards, and signage.

9-21-08Finally finished all the pruning today. There really wasn't a bunch to do, but these will probably rebloom the first week in November. In the afternoon, we fed everything with a concoction of fish emulsion, epsom salts, Grow-More 20-20-20 (half strength because I ran out of the 10-30-20), SuperThrive, liquid kelp, and some chelated iron. Still have not found the time to apply Gromulch as Bob has been busy putting a new Pergo wood floor in our bedroom, wallpapering, and painting.

9-14-08Our neighbor informed us that they want to cement in the planters on their side of the fence where we've been growing 15 large hybrid teas for the past 18 years, because they need more parking space for their two huge SUV's. So we have agreed to dig them all up in January. Oh well, it will be less work for me and Bob as it's a bit inconvenient to care for those roses on Lisa's side. Some of them will go on the rose society raffle table, or in the annual auction fundraiser. I will probably keep about 5, the ones that are on Fortuniana. Most of those roses are duplicates of roses that I already have, such as St. Patrick, Gemini, Black Magic, and Veterans' Honor. But one of them, floribunda Johnny Becnel, would be difficult to replace, so we will keep that one for sure, which means that we have to dig up some other rose to make space for Johnny.

9-8-08Continued the fall pruning this past weekend. Spent 3 days at it. It was so hot, we could only do it for a couple of hours in the morning each day. We are on target though, and may finish up next weekend. Those roses will hopefully bloom for the Orange County and Palm Springs rose shows. We also fed all of our roses with a 50/50 blend of fish emulsion and Grow-More. Also included some liquid seaweed, some Mills powered test stuff (not sure what it is, but probably alfalfa, fish, and other organics), a dash of chelated iron, plus my favorite SuperThrive. Hopefully, we can find some time next weekend to apply Gromulch around each bush. That is the plan anyway.

9-6-08Our local newspaper, The Signal, featured a full page on roses and our rose society. Hopefully this will draw in many visitors to our October 11th rose show at Hart Park in Newhall.

9-5-08Over the past week we have trimmed many more rose bushes to force October blooms. Still many more to go. Last weekend we must have pruned at least 50 bushes. We also fertilized with fish emulsion, seaweed, SuperThrive, and a little bit of iron. They will need to be fed weekly from here on until the middle of October. Constant watering over the summer depleted a lot of nutrients because of my sandy soil. It helped that I had applied lots of organic materials. This coming weekend we plan to trim about 100 bushes, although most are miniatures so are quicker. Bob trims the minis with a large scissor-type hedge trimmers, then I thin them out a little. We do not remove the foliage. It's going to be hot again this weekend, temperatures predicted to be over 100, so we will try to do most of the work in the morning when it's cool and stop during the high heat of mid-day. I'll be glad when we finish up with this fall "trimming" and it will be well worth our efforts when my roses put on an awesome display in October.

8-23-08Trimmed a bunch more roses, mostly hybrid teas to hit the Santa Clarita Rose Show on October 11th. It is 48 days away, so hopefully this was a timely trimming so force the roses to bloom in time for the show. Some of the varieties I trimmed were one each of Gemini, Veteran's Honor, St. Patrick, Cajun Moon, Black Magic, Mulan, and Moonstone (this one may take longer to recycle). I also trimmed some shrubs such as The Squire. Trimmed another Lavaglut and one Fabulous (both floribundas). Will try to trim a few more each day this week instead of waiting until next weekend. I'm tracking them on a spreadsheet for the first time, to give me a better idea of recycle times, although there are so many variables that it's difficult to have an exact formula.

8-17-08Trimmed just a few roses for the fall rose shows. Only did about 8 of the very heavily petalled roses such as Moonstone, and also some of the floribundas that take longer to recycle such as Sexy Rexy and Lavaglut. Trimmed just one of each variety because I grow multiples and will spread the fall pruning out over several weeks in order to hit several rose shows. The first show is Santa Clarita on October 11th. Next weekend we plan to trim about one third of our large roses, but won't begin on minis for a couple of weeks. My roses are lush and green right now. Very tall! Most of my established HTs are now 6, 7, and 8 feet tall.

8-8-08The last of the 19 Fabulous x Purple Tiger crosses fell off the bush. So it seems, this particular cross is not viable. I might try again next spring, but it is too late now to try again until next year.

8-7-08Some of my hybrid tea bushes such as Hot Princess, Andrea Stelzer, and amazingly even St. Patrick and Gemini are now 6 to 8 feet tall. In about 2 or 3 weeks we will trim them back by about half to force them into bloom for our October rose shows.

7-31-09Checked on the Fabulous x Purple Tiger crossings. Five of the 19 hip crosses fell off, and the other hips don't seem to be swelling like they should be after one month. I do not have high hopes for this rose breeding experiment.

7-30-08Last winter I found a striped bloom sport on a plant of the solid red mini-flora Robin Alonso. So I took a cutting and rooted it in my misting box. This past spring the cutting bloomed but it didn't appear to be striped, so I thought that the striped sport was not stable. However, today I looked at the plant and noticed that four of the blooms are indeed striped. They were a little past their prime, so hopefully during the next bloom cycle they will stay striped so I can get a photo.

7-28-08Karen came "shopping" in my guest room for trophies for our rose show. Bob and I have been very lucky to win many trophies last fall and this spring, so we are donating 12 of our best trophies back to our rose society.  All were large crystal pieces of very high quality (Mikasa, Gorham, Shannon). The rest of our "trophies" will be donated for our annual rose society Winter Holiday Party, each attendee gets a free door prize.

7-27-08We repotted a number of plants that needed to move up to larger pots. Josh Alonso went from a 4" pot to a 1-gallon pot. Francis Dubreuil (budded onto Fortuniana) moved from a 3-gallon pot to 7-gallon pot, and Golden Holstein (budded on Fortuniana) moved from a 3-gallon pot and replaced an own-root Golden Holstein in the ground.

7-26-08    Removed 15 Fortuniana pots from the mister because we could easily see lots of roots through the clear pots. Placed these pots in the shade of a large rose bush, and they will remain here for a couple of weeks until they harden off. Another 10 cuttings had turned brown so they went into the trash. The rest of the cuttings went back into the mister even though on some we could see a few roots but not enough to remove from the mister yet.

7-23-08    Checked the Fortuniana cuttings in the mister to see if any are rooting. With the clear 2-inch pots we used, it's easy to see if there are any roots, without pulling the cutting out of the pot. I was surprised to see that many of the cuttings are already rooting in less than 4 weeks. The first indicator is that new growth of foliage was starting to grow at the tops of the cuttings, but that doesn't always mean that the roots are growing. On the weekend I will remove any cuttings with roots from the mister, because leaving them in too long sometimes will make them rot.

7-20-08    We did our annual Roses in Review on the ARS website. It was fairly easy. Worked on the show schedule, but still waiting for more info from the committee chairmen. Deadheaded the roses in the parkway and cleaned up a few weeds. There's an abandoned house two doors down that has gone to weeds that send their seeds flying up to my rose beds when the wind blows. Will have to get the Preen out of the closet.

7-19-08    Repotted a few roses that are in small containers and need to move up to a larger size. Joy finally went from a 1-gallon to a 7 gallon after a year of slow growth. Trying to decide which roses will move to the auction section (our local rose society annual fundraiser) or just be put on the raffle table at the next meeting. I still need to make space for roses that are waiting in the wings in 5-gallon pots. Bob dug up Fair Bianca and put into 5-gallon pot since I now have a well developed bush on Fortuniana. It is twice the size as the plant on Dr. Huey rootstock. Decided to put some Fairhope and Behold miniature roses on the raffle table because I have too many of those varieties and need to make space for the new AoE minis. Especially now that I now have several plants of Behold and Fairhope on Fortuniana rootstock.

7-18-08Worked on my annual "In and Out Rose List." This is a chart that shows which roses will be dug up and given away or thrown out, with a second column listing which roses will get a space in the ground. I only have two roses on my "Wish List" so far ... Marilyn Wellan (red HT I believe) and the golden HT that Chris G posted a photo of on the Rosarian's Corner last week. 

7-17-08Researched some fun cowboy themes for the SCVRS rose show arrangements. Will keep it a secret for now, but they will be titles from cowboy songs, different than last year's schedule.

7-16-08This morning I received two emails from ARS, one to say my order was in progress, and another email to say my order has been shipped. Then this afternoon I received an email from UPS with a tracking number for my shipment. Wow! That is amazing customer service!

7-15-08Finished writing my "Horizon Roses" report in which I reviewed 28 roses. This annual publication should be available in September. Exhibitors from around the country review the new exhibition roses. The book consists of about 80 pages and costs $10. I will post where to buy it as soon as I know. I ordered our rose show certificates from the ARS online store. It was very easy, even though I needed to order over 40 different items. I am very impressed that as soon as I finished ordering, I received an email confirmation a few minutes later. 

7-13-08We had our rose show planning meeting today. Bob and I unveiled the new picture frames for the "Roses in a Picture Frame" class for the Santa Clarita Rose Show which is being held at William S. Hart Park in Newhall on October 11th. The members liked the picture frames. We had to replace the old ones because they got ruined in the rain that occurred at the past two rose shows. These should be more durable, and also they are bigger and hold multiple blooms instead of just one bloom. Also, in keeping with our "Wild West Roses" show theme, we will add a "Wild West Roses" mixed challenge bouquet, and an informal "End of the Trail Bouquet."

7-12-08Applied my special blend of mostly organic fertilizer to the roses in the front yard. I really don't have a recipe, but my summer goodies are whatever I have on hand. I mix up about 20 lbs of stuff into a big, flat plastic tub. I added Dr. Earth, Mills Magic, Espoma Rose-Tone 6-6-4, Osmocote 14-14-14, Nitroform, plus about 5 lbs of Epsom Salts (Epsom Salts Council). Some of the ingredients of the first three organic products are mycorrhizae, alfalfa, blood meal, kelp, cocoa meal, cottonseed meal, feather meal, fish meal, activated sludge, and lots of other goodies. This will get the roses through until the end of August at which time we will begin pruning for the fall rose shows. Here is a link for more about Epsom Salts (About.com).  and Epsom Salts at Wikipedia. We buy Epsom Salts in 50# bags from Western Farm Supply, or sometimes we get some from the Grow More factory in Gardena.

7-10-08The Fortuniana cuttings are looking good in the misting box. We ordered 100 cuttings (sticks) and they sent 105, from UC Davis (see 6-26-08). They usually send 5 to 10% over. It looks like two have croaked so far. I'm hoping for a 90% success rate, but won't know for sure until they've been in the mister for about 4 to 6 weeks, at which time roots will be visible in the clear pots that I like to use.

7-9-08I checked the roses that Bob budded onto Fortuniana rootstock back in May. The tops have all been cut off and some are beginning to produce buds. We will cut off the blooms as soon as they show color, because we want them to focus on building the bush for a few months. I'm excited to have Eugene de Beauharnais on Fortuniana. Mystic Beauty refuses to bud, as this is our 5th attempt without success. Sexy Rexy is impossible to bud too. Miss Kitty buds very easily and we have now made several plants. I'm experimenting with putting non-vigorous roses such as Summer Fashion onto Fortuniana. We did Fair Bianca on Fortuniana and after 3 years the bush is twice the size and produces twice as many blooms of one budded onto Dr. Huey. Other varieties we are experimenting with include Verdun, Lullaby, Rose de Rescht, Trumpeter, Dr. John DickmanGlamour Girl, and Perdita.

7-7-08  We deadheaded a lot of roses today, and filled up two 55-gallon trash cans. The garden looks so much cleaner and tidier. We will get one more bloom cycle in about 6 weeks, then it will be time to lightly prune back for the fall rose shows.

7-6-08  Family, friends, and neighbor kids came over for swimming and BBQ. Even the 3-year-old enjoyed going down the water slide. They liked "the project", which will be unveiled to others next week. It was only 98 degrees here today, but still so difficult to get out and deadhead the spent rose blooms in this heat. I always wear a hat (even in the pool) and sunblock with SPF 50 to prevent sunburn.

7-5-08​  Began some advance preparation on the September issue of Rose Ecstasy our local society newsletter. I don't like procrastinating until the last minute, so just getting the outline started relieves stress. Steve has already sent articles on the two ARS conventions to me. I ordered a few items from the ARS web store today. Several items are marked for clearance. Got a box of 16 holiday cards for only 50 cents! I was very impressed with the quick turn-around. On 7-7-8 then sent an e-mail stating my order was in process, and on 7-8-08 got another e-mail stating they had shipped my order. I also got a First Day Cover postcard for only 50 cents, and a box of 24 Redoute notecards for only $5.99.

7-4-08Happy Independence Day! Spiders are beginning to take up residence in my garden. I have a love/hate relationship with spiders. They eat the bad bugs, but they give me the creeps. I stay away from the spiders. Had family over for BBQ and swimming. It was an enjoyable day, although hot, around 105.

7-3-08Started working on draft of my rose evaluations for "Horizon Roses." I don't have very many new roses to evaluate. The test roses that Bill DeVor of Nor'East Mini Roses gave to me last year now have real names: Ambiance (apricot), Deja Blu (mauve), and Double Take (red and white blend). All are mini-floras and I like all three. Ambiance and Deja Blu were awarded the 2008 American Rose Society Award of Excellence http://www.ars.org/Media/2009AOEwinners.pdf

7-2-08Finished cutting off the Fortuniana tops off the buddings that Bob did back in early May. They are looking really good. It appears that early May is a very good time to bud roses. Found out that I was awarded a Presidential Citation from the American Rose Society for my work on their 2007 Annual. They announced it at their national convention at Denver last weekend. I was unable to attend because Bob had triple hernia surgery last month and is not yet completely recuperated. The Fabulous x Purple Tiger project is not encouraging. I'm beginning to wonder if PT produces any viable pollen, or if the heat is causing the lack of pollen. I will keep trying, but am now up to 19 crosses and see no hint of swelling hips (seed pods). Perhaps I am too impatient since it has only been a week since I did the first pollenization.

7-1-08 Adjusted the sprinklers. Had it up to 15 minutes for each station (we only have 3 stations, two in front, one in back) during the heatwave, but that is too much time now that the average temperature has dropped down to an acceptable 100 degrees during the heat of the day, especially station #3 in the backyard, which is a low spot that collects water. Changed station #3 to 12 minutes. Appears to have corrected the puddling. We need to keep the roses watered, but no sense in wasting water. Dabbed some more PT pollen onto Fab, but I don't have high hopes that PT has viable pollen. We'll see ... won't know for at least several more weeks, if the hips begin to grow ... or not.

6-30-08Not much pollen from Purple Tiger (PT), but I dabbed some onto the prepared stigma of Fabulous this morning. Doesn't appear that Purple Tiger is very fertile. Come to think about it, I've never seen self-pollenated hips on Purple Tiger but dozens on Fabulous. Maybe I will need to reverse cross and use Purple Tiger as the mother and Fabulous as the daddy.Temp back up to 102 degrees today.

6-29-03Went to see "Wanted" today at the local theatre. The movie was awesome! But, Angelina Jolie was boring. She only said about 100 words throughout the entire move. I guess the director thinks she says it all with her mean facial expressions. Okay, perhaps she does. Or maybe she charges by the word. The young newcomer, James McAvoy, is very good and believable. The special effects should win an oscar. A surpise ending. Watered the roses when we got home in the early evening. I would feel guilty if I didn't do something for the roses today. Oh, Bob is working on a surprise project. So we spent some time this weekend researching materials for "the project." Details in a few weeks.

6-28-08Collected more pollen from Purple Tiger and keeping it in a black film cannister. Who uses film anymore? I just happen to have a dozen of these cannisters in my garage from past hybridizing efforts. Unfortunately, all the lids except one has disappeared.

6-27-08June gloom again today, mid '80s. I love it! The roses love it. The petunias are happy too. 

6-26-08Received the replacement Fortuniana rootstock from UC Davis. They look so much better this time! Bob put them in a bucket of plain water and will soak them overnight before putting them into the misting box. Will give details tomorrow on how we prepare the "sticks." When I got home work, I decided to go ahead and get the Fortuniana rootstock into the mister. As soon as UPS delivered them at 10:00 a.m. Bob had put them into a bucket of plain water, so they had soaked for about 7 hours by the time I got home. He had de-eyed them half way up the stem, leaving 3 leaf sets at the top, and also cut them to 12-inch lengths (again, UCD had sent very long 18-inch lengths). If I had space in the mister, I might have considered cutting them in half to 9-inches, but not enough space anyway. I sliced the bark off the ends and then dipped the sticks into a rooting power, Hormex. Then put them in clear 2-inch pots filled with a 50/50 blend of Supersoil and perlite. The mister automatically turns on when the sensor feels dry, then mists for about 30 seconds each time. They are looking good, but I hope we don't have another heatwave before they can take root, which will be in about 4 to 6 weeks.

6-25-08Thankfully, we are finally getting our "June Gloom" (overcast cooler weather), although normally this would mean temperatures in the 70's, we are enjoying 85 degrees after last week's heat wave. The roses are happier, and the rosarians are happier too. We now have a new resident in our back yard, a ground squirrel who has dug a huge hole. Drastic measures are needed, and Bob is on the warpath.

6-24-08​  Applied pollen from Purple Tiger (purple and white striped floribunda) to Fabulous! (white floribunda). It will take at least four months for the hips to ripen. Looks like the Bayer 3 in 1 is finally kicking in (see 6-15-08), because I saw several blooms that are beautiful without thrips. In the evening, as we soaked in the jacuzzi, we were entertained by a mean hummingbird on our patio, who we have nicknamed "Black Bart." he is gray with black tail feathers and a black head that turns red when he puffs up. I googled him, and found out that he is called "Anna's Hummer." He aggressively guards the hummer feeder and won't let the other hummers feed.

6-23-08​  Collected pollen from blooms of Purple Tiger. Only two blooms are ready, and it doesn't look like she produces much pollen. Put the pollen in a black film canister to apply tomorrow morning before going to work.

6-23-08  My friend at UC Davis called and said that they will be replacing the 100 sticks of Fortuniana rootstock that arrived in poor condition.They plan to cut and ship them on 6/24. Thankfully, the heat is down to the 90's.

6-21-08It was 113 here today. Too hot to go outside, but we had to water the roses, which have to be watered every day when the temperature is above 90 degrees F.

6-20-08Picked up a 50# bag of Nitroform 38-0-0 from Western Farm Service in Fillmore. Will apply it to the roses in July, mixed with other organic materials.

6-19-08​  The 100 sticks of Fortuniana rootstock arrived from UC Davis today. They have been in transit for only 2 days, but they arrived ruined. They have all turned black and are rotted. So I called my friends at UC Davis and they are going to send a replacement to me. They suspect that somebody left the carton sitting out on the dock in this extreme heat.  I was surprised that they are 18-inches long, when normally they are only 12 inches. 

6-18-08​  Received Modern Roses 12 and the Official List of Approved Exhibition Names from the American Rose Society. Registered online for the MR12 database. It was easy.

6-16-08  Received an e-mail from Chalk Hill Clematis Nursery that they are going out of business, so all inventory is 50% off. I don't have any space for any more plants but I couldn't help myself and ordered 10 clemmies. I plan to plant them next to climbing roses and tall shrubs and old garden roses.

6-15-08  I usually don't spray chemicals on the roses this time of year because it is too hot. But I couldn't stand the thrips any more which are getting out of control and making the roses look ugly. So I applied some Bayer 3 in 1 granules around the base of the roses.

6-9-08​  Had a fun visit and supper with rosarian friends Lynn, Suzanne, Don, Janene, Gail and Barbara who is visiting from Texas. Barbara moved from California to Texas several years ago and no longer grows roses. She spends her time sculpting, drawing, painting, and playing piano.

6-5-08​  Ordered 100 sticks of Fortuniana rootstock from UC Davis. Asked them to leave the foliage on, otherwise they remove it.

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