2020 Diary of Activities in 
the Rose Garden of Kitty and Bob Belendez
Santa Clarita, California 

By Kitty Belendez
Master Rosarian

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Bob Belendez Celebration of Life Video:

February 15, 2020  I got up early this morning to go out and apply Preen weed-pre-emergent on all of my rose beds and potted roses. Because of circumstances beyond my control, I never did find the opportunity to apply Preen last year at all. I am paying the price now because lots of grass and weeds are beginning to sprout all over my front and back gardens, even though I seem to be constantly picking new weed seedlings. It only took about an hour start to finish. The first 1/2 hour for applying the dry Preen granules, then the second 1/2 hour to water it all in so it doesn’t blow away before it gets the chance to do its job.

February 10, 2020   My 25-year-old Spray Boss, 14-gallon garden sprayer pooped out on me after all these years. It was my fault because I left it on the charger for several months instead of 24 hours. I didn’t know what the problem was at first ... as I wondered if it was the battery or the pump or the on-off switch. But my son-in-law bought a new battery and installed it for me, as well as installing the new on-off switch. It appears that I am ready to spray the garden again, although I won’t be spraying as often as I used to. I don’t see any mildew or bugs yet, but will keep an eye on it and spray when necessary.

February 8, 2020  Fruit Growers in Fillmore has 50-lb bags of magnesium suphate (epsom salts) for $17.19. This equates to .34 cents per lb, plus $12 in gas to drive there (58-cents per lb) plus my TIME to drive to their store in Fillmore. I don’t know what shipping costs would be but certainly not cheap for 50 lbs. On the other hand, Costco has 12 1-lb bags of Dr Teals Epsom salts for $7.99 which equates to 66-cent per lb. It’s a dilemma but I think that Costco will be much less expensive!

February 7, 2020   Today I got the best price for Osmocote 15-9-12 from Walmart, and so I bought eight  8 lb bags, with free delivery to my home tomorrow. I would have referred 14-14-14 but that’s okay, 15-9-12 is close enough.Amazon was the same price but they limited me to 3 bags. It was $13.96 per 8 lb bag = $1.75 per lb at both Walmart and Amazon. Crop production in Camarillo was $1.70 per lb but I would have to drive 100 miles RT. With gas now nearly $4.00 per gallon that is not worth my time and expense to drive all the way out to Camarillo. I need to find a closer source and lower price for bulk epsom salts.

February 6, 2020   Two products that I have used on my 300 rose bushes for many years are bulk 50# bags of 1) magnesium sulphate (epsom salts), and 2) Osmocote 3-month slow release 14-14-14 fertilizer. We used to drive 25 miles (50 RT) to Fillmore to get it, but Western Farm Service closed that store and changed their name. Then for the past 5 years we've been driving 50 miles (100 RT) to Crop Production Service (name changed again to Nutrin Ag Service) in Camarillo once a year to get these products. So in looking for a better price, I came across Fruit Growers in Fillmore which has a competitive price for epsom salts ($17/50 lbs), but their price ($98/32 lbs) for Osmocote is double what I was paying before and it's only NPK 15-9-12. Gas is expensive, nearly $4/gal to drive there to get it, but the alternative for shipping cost is high due to the weight of these products. 

January 29, 2020  It’s still too early to start fertilizing the roses, so I will wait at least another month. However, I did go to the feed store and bought an 80-lb sack of alfalfa pellets. I applied 1/2 cup (a small handful) of these pellets around each rose bush if they are growing in the ground or a large container. I immediately watered the roses and pellets to get the pellets to begin decomposing and doing their work to attract earthworms and give the roses triacontanol (a growth stimulant).

January 27  I haven’t sprayed my roses in nearly a year. So I was thinking about spraying some dormant spray on the roses now that they are pruned but it turns out that my 14-gallon Spray Boss is not working. Its been on the trickle charger for months which is how I thought Bob kept it in storage, and I tested it a couple months ago and it was okay. Now the pump makes a groaning noise. It’s most likely the battery or pump needs to be replaced but I don’t know how to do that as I am not mechanically inclined. I googled it and so it seems that I should not have left the battery on the charger for many months. Probably fried the battery and will need to get a new one. I will buy the same that was on the sprayer. I cannot blame Bob because it was dummy me that put the battery on the charger months ago. I mistakenly thought it was supposed to be on it all the time.

January 25, 2020  Woo hoo!!! The rose pruning is finally finished today. My two guys did 30 or so miniatures in 7-gallon containers, a dozen polyanthas in 15-gallon containers, and two large climbers in the back yard in two hours flat. Last week they had already pruned the two Shadow Dancer climbers on the arch going into the backyard, but I preferred that it be thinned out more, so they spent another half hour on thinning them out. Shadow Dancer looks so much better now. There was only one rose that they messed up by pruning too hard but that was my fault for not telling them it was different than the others. That is the yellow miniature rose My Sunshine grafted on Fortuniana with a tall shank. Oh well, as Bob would say ... it will be okay.

January 14, 2020  I puttered around in the front garden today, doing a little quarterly maintenance. First off, I checked the water sprinklers and some needed to be adjusted because the sprinkler heads were either shooting up too high, while others were set too low. It's easy to make adjustments with a small screwdriver ... as Bob always told me ... "righty tighty, lefty loosey". So just turn them on to see what they are doing and make adjustments as needed. It only took a few minutes to make the sprinkler head adjustments in the front yard. This time of year the sprinklers are only turning on 3 times a week, 8 minutes each station, Next, I checked the rose rings and some had to be repaired because they were coming apart. Rose rings are placed around every rose bush or tree rose to hold nutrients, water and mulch around each one. I fixed them with some metal tape to hold the ends together. I also repaired the stakes that hold up the tree roses in the parkway. During fall we get high winds that blow tree roses around and loosen their stakes and ties. So I used a mallet to pound the stakes back into the ground, and then used green garden tape to fasten the stakes up against each tree. This should hold them in place for awhile.

January 12, 2020   As of today, my gardeners have pruned 2/3 of the roses in my garden. My front yard is totally pruned now, and the back is 1/2 done. They worked 20 man-hours so far since the beginning of the year. They have another 10 man-hours to prune next Sunday morning. I am very pleased with their work. These two guys have been doing my yard weekly (mow, blow, and go) for the past 1-1/2 years. They pruned my roses for the first time last year in January. I liked how they pruned my roses so I had them prune my roses again this year. Otherwise I take care of my roses myself the rest of the year. Last year I rarely fed or sprayed my roses but I did not spare the water because our summer temperatures are often over 100 degrees and the soil in my garden is mostly native sand. So my roses did well despite my neglect last year. I hope to get the garden mulched but I will probably need to pay the gardeners to do that for me. 

January 10, 2020  Since before Christmas I've been making cuttings of roses for our rose society monthly fundraiser at our meetings. I told myself I wasn’t going to do this anymore but, I have nothing but time on my hands now. Well besides producing a monthly full-color 20-page rose society newsletter and two 100-page websites. These are rose cuttings that I donate to my rose society as a fundraiser after they root and mature which takes months. I’m not skilled at budding or grafting, that was Bob’s specialty. Each one of these 4-inch pots contains 8 to 10 individual cuttings that will need to be separated and moved to their own 3-inch pot in the summer when they have finished growing roots. For now I simply keep them out in the winter sun and make sure they get watered. I don't fertilize them until they grow roots.

Memories of My Husband Bob Belendez
Written by Kitty Belendez, Bob's Wife & Best Friend Forever

Spoken by Our Granddaughter Nani Cozby 
At Bob's Celebration of Life on September 21, 2019, In Our Santa Clarita Rose Garden

“Our Love Story”

Bobby and I met on a lovely summer day in 1959 at the A & W Root Beer stand in Hawthorne, California. My Mom had driven me and my girlfriends there in her big red Buick convertible after cruising the boulevard. When I met the incredibly handsome Bobby that day, I was instantly attracted to him because of his sweet and charming personality. Bobby charmed Mom too, and so he had her approval to date me. 

As young teenagers, Bobby and I fell deeply in love, married the following year, and we soon began our family. Some people predicted that our marriage would never last, but we were happily married for 59-1/2 wonderful years, and we always immensely loved and trusted each other unconditionally. 

Bob was always my best friend and lover. He pampered me and never said no to anything I wanted. We had fun and enjoyed many wonderful experiences such as camping and hiking at Yosemite, Sequoia and other beautiful places, traveling throughout the United States, and visiting exotic locations like Hawaii, Cancun and Aruba. We also loved boating and water skiing on many lakes, fishing on the Kern River, or simply hanging out at the beach. 

When I became passionate about growing roses in 1985, Bob assisted me even though roses were not his passion. Over the years he planted and pruned hundreds of roses for me, helped me fertilize them, became an expert groomer of prize-winning roses, and was awarded Master Rosarian status.

During the 8 months of his recent illness I often cried because Bob was in intense pain. I wished that I could have healed him and eased his pain. But, Bob never felt sorry for himself. Every time I cried, Bob would comfort me by saying “It’s okay Mama.”  

I, along with my daughter Tina, granddaughter Nani, and 3 great-grandsons Bryson, Thayden, and Xander were at the bedside of Papa Bob at home when he drew his last breath and gently passed away from us.

Bob was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He was caring, kind, trustworthy, humble, considerate, unselfish, forgiving, and devoted to his family. 

I will always love and miss Bob Belendez, my darling husband and best friend forever. 

Goodbye sweetheart … until we meet again

 Photos © Copyright by Kitty Belendez

© Copyright Kitty Belendez. All rights reserved. 

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