2012 Diary of Activities in 
the Rose Garden of
Kitty and Bob Belendez

Santa Clarita, California    
Copyright Kitty Belendez 

By Kitty Belendez
Master Rosarian

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12/29/12    We intentionally waited a little bit longer to begin our annual pruning for better timing of our targeted spring rose shows. Bob is chomping at the bit to just get it over with. The constant very cold daily drizzles have kept Bob at bay, and then I came down with a crummy cold so I'm hardly any help at all. The cold weather did force me to make some indoor decisions as to which roses are going out, coming in, or being moved. So I'm keeping Bob busy with other stuff besides pruning. However, he did finally convince me to let him chop down the floribunda bed and so over the past couple days he whacked through about 40 floribundas. He also dug up about a dozen roses. He moved Paul Ecke Jr from a large 20-gallon container to the ground, same with Francois Rabelais. On Fortuniana they too soon outgrew their large pots and now will get a regular space in the ground. Bob dug out old bushes of Sexy Rexy, Fabulous, and two we just don't like -- Hot Cocoa and Sweet Intoxication. He also dug out Berries 'n' Cream, Young Lycidas, and Candy Land. And he dug up and moved The Dark Lady to a better spot. Rose du Roi got dug up and moved to a 20-gallon container because Archiduchesse Elisabeth d'Autriche was overpowering him. He dug out Impulse on Rosa multiflora rootstock, and replaced it with another Impulse on Fortuniana. He moved a bush of Pride of Oakland from a 20-gallon pot to the ground, dug out Rhapsody in Blue, Marilyn Wellan, Artic Circle, Reine des Violettes, and Pink Promise. Some will go on the January raffle table, others will go in our April Rose Auction. We still have a few potted hybrid teas to be planted, and I think that might happen tomorrow if it doesn't rain.

12/26/12    Drizzly weather the past few weeks have pretty much ruined any remaining blooms on our rose bushes. This photo of 'Hot Princess' shows what the bushes looked like here on December 1, 2012. Many of our hybrid teas were blooming late because we had trimmed some of them for the fall national rose show in September. So when we trimmed them again at the beginning of October, that induced them to bloom at the beginning of December. Most hybrid teas have a 60-day rebloom time, especially during cool weather. After winter pruning it can take 3 months to rebloom.
12/19/12      As we head into the winter season (yes, it is now officially winter in Southern California), the days have become shorter, so our time spent in the garden is very little at this time of year. It is already dark when we get home from work, so basically there is no time to even look at the garden except on weekends. The past few weeks have been abnormally rainy. Not the flooding type, and we do need the rain to flush out our soils, but it continually stays wet so I am already seeing botrytis and anthracnose fungi. Next could be other fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew and the even worse downy mildew. It's so wet that we cannot even spray for it, so we are just hoping for the best.

12/11/12    The roses Bob budded onto Fortuniana on October 7 and 8 are coming along nicely. It looks like at least a 50% success rate. On Sunday we cut off the tops of three of them that are already pushing out new growth. The Temptations, Joy, and Memphis Magic are already beginning to grow. (See photo).

11/30/12      Over the past several weeks I took over 200 cuttings of various roses. Initially, I placed them straight out into the open, but that was when it was a little cooler. Then last week it turned abnormally warm again, reaching 86 one day. So I got worried and put the three flats of cuttings into the mister for a few days so they wouldn't get too hot. Now it's turned cooler again, in the 60's with drizzles, so the cuttings were brought back out into the rain. They will like this better and besides they will get more sunshine than they would in the mist box. Ah, my poor schizophrenic roses, they don't know what to do. But, they will grow roots faster when they get all day sunshine, even if it's cooler and raining.

11/25/12    Just puttering around in the garden today. Bob is digging, planting and repotting. I'm directing, supervising, labeling, strategizing, computer inventory updating, and fooling about. Today's precious find was a lovely spray of the intensely fragrant 'Sweet Chariot', a Ralph Moore miniature rose from 1984 and I've grown it nearly that long. I have two bushes in 7-gallon pots and will continue to keep them on my front porch to enjoy every day.

11/21/12    I usually don't bother to deadhead the roses this time of year, as they head into winter. But the recent rains have caused much botrytis in the garden, in particular on the many late-blooming hybrid teas as they get stuck closed in rotted balls. The last thing I want is botrytis spores floating about the garden, although dormant spraying with horticultural oil in January should keep it under control. So I started a little deadheading this morning, and will continue throughout the day in between baking my Thanksgiving pies.
11/13/12    My hybrid tea rose 'Miss Kitty' is finally coming into her own after having exhibited her at rose shows for four years. I have won 12 trophies with her, 5 just this year. And one was included in my National McFarland in San Ramon on September 28, 2012. She has a long way to go to catch up with my all-time top winner 'St Patrick' with which Bob and I have won 78 trophies, and 'Gemini' that won us 46 trophies. But then I've been growing those two roses a lot longer than Miss Kitty. Bob and I have won over 1,100 trophies since we first began rose exhibiting in 1988, so 12 trophies for 'Miss Kitty' is just a tiny blip on the radar screen.

11/11/12    Today is a good day for rooting cuttings of roses in my garden, and I've got a long list prepared. All my supplies are ready to go ... cutters, X-acto knife, Hormex #8, plant labels, black wax pencil, potting soil (50-50% potting soil and perlite). Now I just have to wait a little bit for it to warm up out there, then I will venture out and cut off some stems from my rose bushes and get down to business. I'm gonna try to do at least 50 stems today, but my wish list is much longer than that.  I already got a headstart yesterday when I demonstrating propagating at the SCVRS meeting. I already did Paul Neyron and Memphis Music. Last week I made some cuttings from the rose show specimens, and so it looks like I already have about 50 cuttings on their way.

11/7/12    Another notch in our belt ... the 19th Anniversary Rose Show of the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society of last weekend was very successful. Bob and I are extremely exhausted and still trying to recuperate. We are very thankful for our 42 wonderful volunteers that helped to put on the show. I'm done thinking about rose shows for the year, and it's now time for my winter hibernation. But before I can do that, this coming weekend Bob and I will be speaking on "Rose Propagation" at our rose society meeting, as the speaker that originally was scheduled backed out at the last minute. Bob will also do pruner sharpening for 10 lucky winners at the meeting. On Veterans' Day, I plan to do a bunch of cuttings of rose stems, which will go on next year's auction as well as our monthly raffle table. No rest for the wicked. :-)
10/28/12    We had a very successful rose show at Orange County Rose Society yesterday. Bob and Kitty came away with 12 trophies, and the rose St Patrick once again was their star, winning Cycle of Bloom, English Box, Collection of 3 Blooms, and was also included in the Large Artist Palette.  The best St Patrick we brought (and the best St Patrick EVER from my garden) was a perfect specimen with outstanding bloom form, and awesome stem and foliage. Its symmetrical pinpoint center held perfectly even in the heat of the hot tent where the rose show was held. Alas, it was only awarded 2nd place. There were other St. Patrick blooms in the class, but none were awarded a blue ribbon either. I will never understand that decision, but karma will prevail. This is the one that got away that will always be etched in my mind. In other classes we won, our Miss Kitty and Desperado won Court of Honor (BTW our 2nd place St Patrick was far superior to these two Court of Honor roses.). Orleans Rose won Best Polyantha, Puanani won Best Single-Petalled Floribunda Spray, Johnny Becnel won Floribunda Queen, The Squire won Bouquet of 6 Shrub Blooms, Sexy Rexy won Floribunda Princess, and we also won the Wilke Floribunda Challenge with the roses Trumpeter, Fabulous, and Julia Child. It was warmer than normal in Newport Beach, so by the time show officials let the exhibitors in to view the winners at 1:30 P.M., many of the roses had already wilted. I did manage to get a few photos of our prize winners for my own personal librarary.

10/17/12    Last weekend we fertilized and sprayed our roses for the last time this growing season. We are hoping to have some blooms for the upcoming rose shows, but time will tell. We are disbudding and deadheading every morning before going to work. There's a sea of GREEN out there. Hopefully, we will see some COLOR in a couple weeks.

10/16/12  We are hoping to have a few blooms for the fall rose shows. But the green bud worms have done a number on them, even though I have sprayed for insects. For now, all we can do is to trim off the damage. In future, we may be spraying Conserve (ingredient is spinosad). The green budworms really chew up the blooms and top of the foliage. Orthene worked in the past, but no so well this year.

10/8/12    Recently Intuit/Homestead updated their web software and it has gone bonkers. If you see type on this blog that runs together, or stops mid-sentence, or just doesn't make sense, it's not because I'm drugged up. It's because Homestead has screwed up its software. I tried to fix as much as I could after their last update, but it's still giving me fits. Their WYSIWYG is NOT! (Mac people will know what I'm talking about.)

10/8/12    According to the Farmer's Almanac, October 7th and 8th is the best time to propagate because the moon is in the perpect phase. I don't know if this is a bunch of hooey or not, but I do know that my dear Mother lived her life according to the Farmer's Almanac Moon Cycles. She did a lot of gardening and did follow the moon phases. Well, if I could only do things according to the moon cycles, I would not get much accomplished. At any rate, this year, for some unknown reason, Bob's success rate for budding roses has dropped down from an average of 50% to about 15%. So I decided to have him try budding according to the moon cycles just as a test. So ... yesterday he budded 42 roses onto Fortuniana, and today he will finish the final 10. The weather now is perfect for propagating, so let's cross our fingers.

10/4/12    Now that we're back down to earth, it is time to focus on our November 3rd Rose Show. As for the show itself, since I am Rose Show Director, it is my responsibility to make sure that everything is organized. As far as I can tell, everything is ready to go. I just need to order the catered Judge's Lunch, but our caterer doesn't like to make bookings more than 30 days in advance, so I will now get our reservation on the books. Focus will now turn to my rose garden as I need to feed and spray this week, and perhaps will spray again next week. Hopefully, that will be the end of the spray regimen for the year.

10/2/12     Our blog has been on hiatus for the past couple of weeks. We've been occupied with exhibiting at the ARS National Rose Show in San Ramon, CA. An article will be published in the October issue of "Rose Ecstasy" so we won't go into detail here. Bob and I did win one national trophy, The Horace McFarland National Challenge Class, plus five additional trophies. We also won Dowager Queen with Green Rose, Victorian Rose with Mystic Beauty, Hybrid Tea Princess with Miss Kitty, Miniflora King with Powerpoint, and Best Climber with The Impressionist. We only participated in the rose show, not any other activities such as banquets and garden tours. But we did enjoy having meals with friends and chatting with many people from throughout the United States, and even one gentleman from England that fell in love with our Green Rose and had to take a picture to share with his friends back home.

9-15-12   Here is another rose sport from my garden.This is a sport of 'The Squire' which is a solid dark red. My sport has a few darker stripes, with a white blotch on every petal. I have two bushes growing onto Fortuniana rootstock, and every bloom looks like this. A very unusual coloration and I like it a lot. The blooms are always big and beautiful even in the hot summers of 100 degrees. The foliage appears to be lovely too. I have not yet named it.

9-7-12     We are almost finished trimming our roses for the fall rose shows. Last weekend we finished all of the large roses such as the hybrid teas and floribundas. This weekend we will do the single-petalled roses such as Playgirl, Puanani, and Playboy since they rebloom quicker than the many-petalled roses. I also have to finish up some of the shrubs that usually bloom first, such as Paule Ecke, Jr.,  The Squire, Mary Rose, and Rose de Rescht. Then we sit and wait for our November 3rd rose show. Between now and then we will liquid feed all of the roses on a weekly basis. Magic Elixirs here we come!

9-2-12    This week's sport highlight is my  of the floribunda 'Peppermint Twist." The photo is part of a huge basal cane that is growing on the red and white striped 'Peppermint Twist'. For some unknown reason, the past three sports I found are orange in color. This sport is waiting to be propagated, as I have to wait for some virgin Fortuniana rootstock to get well-rooted. The rootstock has been in my mister for only one month so it needs more time to develop lots of roots before Bob buds it. In the meantime, I will try to root a stem as back-up insurance as I don't want to lose this precious find. However, floribundas usually grow very slow on their own roots, that's why I prefer them to be budded so they can have more vigor. This will be a waiting game, so I have plenty of time to think of a proper name before I register her with the American Rose Society.unnamed orange and white striped sport

8-27-12      This is the year for sports. I'm not talkin' football, baseball, basketball, or soccor. No. I'm talkin' about "genetic mutations", which is what we call rose sports that have different characteristics from the original, most often by changing color, but sometimes the change is in bloom size, petal count, or bush height. I have found several in my rose garden this past year, and without really trying. These are the sports I found this year: coral sport of Peggy T; striped sport of The Squire; orange-red sport of Peppermint Twist; and white sport of Memphis Music. The Squire sport has already been budded onto Fortuniana and two plants are growing well. Peppermint Twist Sport will need to be rooted in the mister soon. Sports of Memphis Music and Peggy T are in the mister and hoping they will root.

8-19-12    Today we enjoyed a diversion to the coast. We got up early, went out to breakfast and then went to the beach. It was so much cooler there, only 72 compared to our 102. It was fun just walking the sandy beach, dipping our toes in the water, and just relaxing for the day. Afterwards, we stopped for free lunch at Beylik Tomato Farm in Fillmore. They had fresh made salsa, chips, pulled pork sandwiches, ice tea, and cookies. This is their annual open house when they give us a tour of their hydroponic greenhouses. Then we came home and took an afternoon nap. It is rare that we have a day such as this, just goofing off and resting.

8-18-12    We pulled our fertilizing equipment out of the garage as it's been in storage all summer. So we liquid fed the roses several weeks earlier than we normally do. I simply felt that they need something more than organics to get them going and greened up after the heavy watering during the summer which tends to make the foliage chlorotic (yellow). We applied 1/2 strength each fish emulsion and Magnum Rose, a little iron chelate, epsom salts, liquid kelp, and SuperThrive. Speaking of SuperThrive, I heard that the man who developed it has died, so I hope his family will continue making this proprietary product.

8-15-12    For the past two days Bob has been budding (grafting) 26 roses onto Fortuniana rootstock. Although the heat this time of year is horrible, we continue with our experiment of budding according to the best moon cycles recommended for grafting as listed on the Farmer's Almanac. This year has been the worst success rate ever, with only 15%, and we don't know why since we haven't changed our method. Normally, Fortuniana rootstock has about a 50% success rate for Bob. We have 95% success when rooting anything in the mister. So last month we budded according to best moon cycle, and already we went back up to 50%. It will be several weeks before we know if this 2nd batch is successful.

8-11-12    This morning I put chicken poop on my roses. I use the bagged/processed stuff from OSH. The roses love it, and it does not stink. The brand they are selling this year is EarthGro and it comes in 1cf/28 ltr bags. It's a crumbly type of mulch. We used two bags to cover all 350 bushes, and put a heaping 1/2 cup on the big roses, and a heaping 1/4 cup on the small bushes. I could have used more but only bought 2 bags, and want to apply Grow More Bio-Start around Labor Day. So I didn't want to overdo the organics, especially in this hot weather.

8-3-12     I went out to the garden this morning to trim off some spent blooms. I was pleasantly surprised to find my bush of Big Time  in full bloom. They must have liked the sudden, unexpected downpour of rain yesterday afternoon. So I made a summer bouquet of the hybrid tea rose 'Big Time'. I never would have thought that hybrid teas could look this good in the middle of summer (August) except 'Gemini' which is always great. No disease, no bugs, vivid hot pink, and perfect form on long stems with very few thorns. The bloom size is much bigger in spring and fall. Not much fragrance. This particular bush is grafted onto Fortuniana rootstock, and I have a second bush that's grafted onto Rosa multiflora. Handsdown, the bush on Fortuniana is much better. Bigger, and many more blooms. Note to self: Have Bob graft another bush of 'Big Time" on Fortuniana.

8-4-12    Got my new batch of Fortuniana rootstock sticks from UC Davis last night. They look awesome, nice and fat. We soaked them overnight in a bucket of water. Bob de-eyed the sticks, and I will pot them and put in the mister tonight. The weather is rather strange today ... it poured rain this afternoon and there was thunder and lightning. The cooler weather (down to 80 from 100) will be helpful in rooting these sticks. They lost my order for a couple of weeks, so I finally had to email them to find out what is going on. They said that due to cost cutting UC Davis is only processing their mail twice a week. Okay, but that doesn't account for the two weeks that my order was lost. Oh well, it is here now so all is well.

7-30-12    Just puttering around the garden this morning before it gets too hot. Did a little touch-up weeding in the front yard. There were just a few weed seedlings that had sprouted before I had gotten around to applying Preen 3 weeks ago. A mere 10 minutes with the hula hoe knocked 'em down before they get out of control. I noticed that one 'Peppermint Twist" floribunda in the parkway has spider mites. I don't understand why just one out of 40 roses in that area has the mites, but it could be this is where Bob parks his van and so this bush doesn't get good air circulation. I grabbed the hose and washed down the foliage of all the roses in the parkway, with an extra dousing of 'Peppermint Twist" just to be sure. Hopefully this will stop them in their tracks before they spread, because I do not want to spray pesticides this time of year. This afternoon, I'm back to finishing the rose show schedule and floor plan of the exhibit hall. All the trophies are now purchased, boxed, labeled, and ready to go. So most of the hard work is already done. The "Rose in a Bowl" will also be awarded Waterford Crystal this year, as this will be a special class in Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society. Only one entry in this class will be allowed for each exhibitor, any kind of large bloom, so that everybody will have the same chance to win. 

7-23-12    Summer is a fun time to scout pretty roses in the garden. It's best to go looking for fresh blooms first thing in the morning before triple digits fry them to a crisp. The bloom of the day is a lovely hybrid perpetual from 1881 named 'Archiduchesse Elisabeth d'Autriche.'  That is a difficult name to spell, pronounce, or fit on a plant label. But it blooms year round, even in late fall when most other antique roses have given up the ghost for the year. Now the story of how this lovely rose got into my garden ... I had originally purchased a rose named 'Vick's Caprice' which is pink and white striped. But two plants, from two different souces, refused to produce stripes when grown in my garden. Upon doing a little research about Vick's Caprice I discovered that he is a sport of 'Archiduchesse Elisabeth d'Autriche' which is a solid pink, not striped. Ah, so ... Vick had reverted to his solid pink mother. Although disappointed about his lack of stripes, I kept Elisabeth because she has many wonderful qualities, including beautiful form, lovely fragrance, continual blooming, and disease resistant foliage in my desert garden. And she's heat resistant as well! I'm still looking for a Vick's Caprice that will produce stripes for me.

7-16-12    Last year I gave a talk on rose propagation at a Southern California rose society. Invariably, when I give one of these talks I bring cuttings of roses for demonstration purposes, and the members in attendance share their cuttings with me. I never know what I'm going to get. A nice lady gave me a cutting of 'Rose Rhapsody' which she said is a hybrid tea. So I took the stem home and Bob budded it onto Fortuniana. Finally, this week the little bush produced some blooms and I was surprised to see that the form of Rose Rhapsody isn't the usual hybrid tea form, but rather looks much more like a shrub. The medium pink blooms are casual and decorative and extremely fragrant with very long stems. Rose Rhapsody was created by Keith Zary when he was still with Jackson & Perkins, and introduced in 1999. One of it's best traits besides being beautiful, fragrant, and resistant to disease, is that the blooms do not fry in 100 degree heat, and last on the bush for several days without turning to instant potpourri. A treasure for the hot summer garden!

7-13-12    It's been triple digits all week, so too nasty to spend much time in the garden. Of course, we DID water the entire front and back gardens EVERY DAY. They certainly needed it to survive. Other than watering there isn't much to be done in the garden over the summer. I'm looking forward to a 3-day weekend as I don't work Mondays during July. I am going to be lazy this weekend. Nothing much planned yet, but maybe I will sign up for a one-hour one-on-one training class at the Apple Store. If I feel like it. No pressure, no deadlines. Oh yeah! The lazy days of summer.

7-7-12    We did a little weeding throughout the entire front and back gardens this morning before it got too hot. Then I applied Preen everywhere. Preen is a weed pre-emergent, which means that it prevents the weed seeds from germinating. It works for several months and really keeps the weeds down. We will water it all this afternoon when we do our daily hand watering with the water wand hose nozzle. Now that the garden is all tidy and clean, there isn't much more to be done except the occasional deadheading (removing spent blooms). Working in the garden is such great exercise. We have one tomato bush that is producing like crazy. No, we do not put Preen on the tomato bush, but we do water and fertilize it regularly. This is our favorite type of tomato called "Husky Cherry", which is a heavy producer and yummy on salads. We eat salads almost every day. Tonight we will BBQ filet mignon steaks accompanied with a big salad filled with green leaf lettuce, cherry tomatoes, green olives, black olives, diced celery, chopped cucumber, some cottage cheese on top, frosted with some of my niece Joy's famous gourmet Riverhouse Blue Cheese dressing which is made in her factory in Pacific City, Oregon. They closed their restaurant last November after a long 32 year run, but continue to sell their salad dressings online and at stores in Washington & Oregon. The best ever!

6-29-12   This year we've had a crummy 10% success rate in budding roses onto Fortuniana. In the past we were having 30% to 50% success depending on variety. That wasn't exactly stellar compared to  our cuttings that we usually have an overall 95% success rate, even when rooting Fortuniana. For budding onto the very difficult Fortuniana, 50% is excellent. 10% is not acceptable. We have not given up and so have evaluated our methods. We suspect that we are trying to bud onto rootstock that isn't fully rooted. The other part of the success equation is the location where we put the budded roses after they are budded. They need full sun but not baking sun. They don't like to have the lawn sprinklers hitting on them. We have changed the location to a rack facing north that mostly gets morning sun, but not afternoon baking sun. We are watering the budded plants, but not showering them with sprinklers or hose. We also wrapped aluminum foil around the black pots to prevent heat saturation and subsequent stress on the roots. The roots inside the pots stay a lot cooler with the foil wrapping. We shall see how this works out now that the temperatures have been in the upper '90s every day.

6-21-12   We cleaned out the fertilizer cabinet and found all kinds of goodies to put on the roses. Most were in half-empty bags and boxes. The roses will get a concoction of Nitroform, epsom salts, alfalfa pellets, Kelloggs Gardner and Bloome rose food, Dr. Earth, Grow More, and other whatnot. Bob blended all the stuff together in a big flat container, and will put a cup on each large bush, and a quarter cup on the miniature roses. That should keep them fat and sassy for another month, as in July I will apply Grow More organic Bio Start. Yum yum ... with lots of water that will prepare them for the fall rose shows, as I will begin the water soluble fertilizing by mid-September.

6-20-12   Deadheading and watering continues almost every day. We have filled up two 55-gallon waste barrels full of spent rose blooms. We are determined to get those thrips out of my yard and into the green waste recycling center. I plan to feed the rose bushes with a concoction of dry granular and organic leftovers on the weekend, as it's time to clean out my fertilizer cabinet. In July the roses will get their gourmet application of Grow More Bio-Start Organic. Mmm good!

6-18-12   The new iMac is now under control and everything (except syncing) is working well. I had to buy an AirPort Express wireless router to serve as my wi-fi base station, so now all the devices get wi-fi service from that. All new software has been installed, although it was a complicated process in order to get authorization for educational pricing. But it's now up and running. Now the learning curve begins as both QuarkXpress and Photoshop are considerably different than the old software I bought 7 years ago. Oh well, I have the entire summer to come up to speed, and except for being lazy I have nothing better to do. I think I'll register for a class at the Apple Store.

6-16-12    I've been on a sidebar away from the garden all week. My attention has turned to setting up my new iMac, which I got last weekend. So after work and on the weekends I've been getting one-on-one training, installing new software (Office, QuarkXpress, and Photoshop); transferring files, trying to make the wifi work between my iPad, iMac, and iPhone, trying to sync my Contacts between the iMac and iPhone. And of course I have a huge learning curve because everything has changed, and some things still aren't working right. My contacts refuse to sync between iPhone and iMac, and I finally had to jerryrig the wifi to my OLD dinosaur iMac so that all my devices can share the internet via wifi with my old iMac as command central (which is only a band-aid fix and won't work this way forever). I'm glad I decided to take on this project over the summer when there are no rose shows and no newsletter to produce. Whatever happened to the concept of "plug and play"? I believe there is no such thing! Meanwhile, Bob has been patiently deadheading and watering the roses.

6-6-12    Early this morning Bob and I went for our one-mile walk before heading off to work. As we strolled back to our house I whipped out my old iPhone and snapped a quick and dirty photo of our front yard. It is looking amazing right now with loads of rose blooms. I wish I had more time to take a better photo with my regular Sony digital camera, but had to scoot off to work. The photo is shown here. This is our 2nd bloom cycle of spring, which usually hits around mid-June. There are hardly any diseases right now, so the foliage is lush and green even though I have not sprayed for mildew in nearly 2 months. The thrips insects are sucking on the rose petals if you look close. But for overall impact, our roses make an awesome sight! Some roses are impervious to diseases and insects, such as the yellow Julia Child, and the hot pink Playgirl.

6-3-12   This is a beautiful "June Gloom" morning. I love this type of weather. It was overcast and cool, and a little humid, which brings out the fragrance in the roses. Francis Dubreuil is particularly intense, and both bushes are in full bloom. Yesterday I finally got around to applying the Bayer, and this morning I am doing some Osmocote 14-14-14. Then later this afternoon they will get a good washing with the water wand. Bob rebudded 9 roses this morning. We never give up ... did some Golden Holstein again, and a bunch of other stuff. My plan is to make a few cuttings today, if I can get past the lazies. Oh, and BTW, our friend Candy informed us via her Blackberry last night that at the Albuquerque district banquet, Bob was awarded Master Rosarian status.     

6-1-12  The thrips are now out in full force. Although my rose bushes are lush and green and growing very tall, if you look close at the blooms they have ugly thrips damage on the edge of the petals. I plan to apply some Bayer granules around the bushes if I can get out there early enough this weekend before it gets hot and windy. I do not recommend the Bayer product if you have pets or kids (which I do not). But I do not spray my roses this time of year (only in spring and fall), so if I want some pretty blooms I have to use the Bayer. If you don't care how the blooms look, then just leave the roses alone, and the thrips will eventually go away by fall (from birds and other natural predators and friendly bugs). Over the summer the blooms are going to fry to a crisp anyway, so the most important thing we can do for our roses is water, water, and more water.

5-31-12    Bob Belendez has received his Master Rosarian status from the American Rose Society. Bob would never toot his own horn, so I will do it for him ... this is a very well deserved honor, as he has served as a Consulting Rosarian for 10 years. He certainly is the Master of all Rosarians in my garden!

5-29-12    It's a wonder that I never developed an "Imelda Marcos" type of shoe fetish, given the fact that I do not recall ever getting a new pair of shoes as a child.The shoes I got as a child were hand-me-downs from my older sister JoAnn. She was 5 years older than me, so by the time I got her shoes they were well worn and were still too big for me. So I had to put cardboard in the inside of the shoes to cover the holes, and a big wad of newspaper in the toe so they would fit. That made it difficult to run fast and play schoolyard games, but at least I had shoes on my feet. I remember wishing I had a pair of those black and white saddle shoes and a fuzzy pair of red angora socks. It never happened. It was only after I was married and had a paying job that I got new shoes, and then I got shoes of every color. So I pigged out on shoes for awhile, but got over it in due course. Now I could care less about shoes, but that is not the case with roses. I now have a rose fetish, and have a bush or two in every color.

5-28-12      I wanted to spend some time in the garden this weekend, I really did. But instead we mostly spent time on our home improvement projects and so spent many hours at Lowe's, Home Depot, OSH, and researching products at online sources. Today, we finally picked up the rest of our wood flooring that had to be special ordered. Yesterday we got sidetracked on replacing the fireplace hearth. I just couldn't stand the blue slate anymore, so we picked out some tile. We had to jackhammer the old slate out. Of course, one thing leads to another, so I had to research a new fireplace screen, and since this is the off-season for fireplaces, the local stores didn't have any in stock. That's okay because I found a really neat one at Amazon of all places. We began our research for our new kitchen. This is going to be a huge project so I doubt it will be even started this year, other than have it designed on computer. The stores gave me a stack of brochures ... so many decisions to make, it’s mind boggling. I finally got to the garden and did a little weeding and deadheading. I also washed down the floribundas in the parkway because “somebody” has been neglecting to wash down his section so they were full of spider mites. Yikes! Well, I can’t get too mad because he’s been preoccupied with other projects. I also moved the budded maiden roses to a cooler location, and sad to say that last week’s heatwave and windstorm has killed off 80% of them. So we will have to re-do many. Oh well, like we have nothing better to do than to re-do what has already been done. I’m still planning to get my new iMac within the next couple weeks, just have to find the time. The buying of it will be quick since I know what I want. Buying and installing the new software, and transferring files is another matter.  

5-25-12    I am so so so looking forward to this long 3-day weekend. Even more so since it is going to be much cooler than the past week. Nice weather for working in the garden at a leisurely pace. I have a lot of deadheading to do, and I want to get some cuttings into my mistbox. I also plan to sleep in late every day. (Late is around 7:30 a.m. -- maybe I'll go for 8:00.) June Rose Ecstasy is DONE. I just need to email it to all of our members. Candy LaChance wrote a lovely article titled, "My Rose Sanctuary" complete with pictures. Kitty has two articles, "How to Prepare Rose Cuttings for Mailing" and "How to Use and Maintain a Tank-Type Garden Sprayer." THEN ... I am on hiatus from the newsletter for the entire summer ... YIPPEE! 

5-18-12     Budding of hybrid roses onto Fortuniana rootstock continues this week. We received some budwood of 'Lanvin', a yellow hybrid tea that is no longer commercially available. It was hybridized by Jack E. Christensen, and was part of the "Designer Series" such as Lagerfeld. We're running out of rootstock so Bob only budded 3 of these, and I rooted the rest as a backup for next spring. Another project we have going this week is installing new wood flooring in our guest room, hallway, and entry. It is so beautiful! I am lucky to have a personal connection to a skilled craftsman. :-) Other than that, the roses are getting minimal care at this time. Just watering almost daily. I do need to feed them soon.

5-13-12     This morning we got up at 7:00 a.m. and Bob took me to breakfast at Eggs 'n' Things before the Mother's Day crowd arrived. So we got right in and enjoyed our breakfast. Next was a trip to Lowe's to pick out the new wood flooring for our guest room, hallway, and entryway. We had to special order it. Then Bob budded about 20 roses onto Fortuniana (those that we got cuttings from Charles & Susan, such as French Lace, Katelyn Ann, The Temptations) and Walferdange from my garden. Then in the afternoon we enjoyed a late lunch with daughter Tina, granddaughter Puanani, grandson Will, and great-grandson Bryson. In the early evening I prepared the rest of the cuttings (about 50) to put into the mistbox for rooting. There is still more budding and rooting to do over the next few weeks. And in July I will order the new Fortuniana from UC Davis to root over the summer. Now it's time for relaxing in the spa. Yeah!

5-12-12    Another very busy weekend. Today we went to the Apple Store at the mall and picked out the computer I will be buying in the next few weeks, as soon as the June Rose Ecstasy is put to bed. The Apple rep was very helpful in guiding me through the transition from old to new iMac computer, and I was not happy to hear that I have to buy all new software (Office, Photoshop, and Quark Xpress) or at least upgrades. Of course, I'm not really surprised since my old iMac is 7 years old. In the afternoon after we finished a few other errands, we went to Charles & Susan Maness' place and they let me take a bunch of cuttings from their garden, and afterwards we enjoyed a nice visit on their beautiful patio. Susan also showed us her beautiful collection of orchids that are in full bloom both inside and outside.  

5-11-12      Bob is really getting with the program ... he's busy budding a bunch of roses for next year's auction. I think he's done nearly 30 already. Francis Dubreuil, The Impressionist, Silverado. Waiting for budwood of Lanvin from a San Diego friend, and will visit the garden of a local friend in the next week or so. Of course, I will get to keep the cream of the crop for myself. LOL! My Dona Martin rose was blooming this morning. This is Bob Martin's pink sport of Randy Scott. After all the budding gets done then I will do a bunch of cuttings of roses that don't need to be on rootstock. My mist box is calling my name as it has been empty for a few months, so now it's time to get it cranked up.

5-7-12      Our Rose Auction was loads of fun! Big thanks to all participants for their generosity, be it purchases or simply helping out. Complete details will be published in our June Rose Ecstasy newsletter.

5-5-12    Today Bob, Elissa, Jan, Barbara and her grandson Rick, and I spent a couple hours setting up and decorating the room at the school district for our big rose auction that's being held tomorrow. It looks so pretty with the 50's pink and black decor that Jan and Elissa found at the local party store. Then this afternoon we loaded up all the potted roses into Jan's truck and Bob and my van. Then late afternoon Bob started budding a bunch of roses onto Fortuniana, which he will be doing all week. Some will be for me but most will be for next year's auction. He started with Permanent Wave, Miss Kitty, and Golden Holstein.  I have a very long wish list. I hope we will have enough rootstock for everything I want. So now we can rest tonight, BBQ some steaks, soak in the spa, and get a good night's sleep because tomorrow's auction will be a long day. 

4-30-1      We had quite a full weekend. Bob and I were very successful at the Pacific Rose Society Show on Saturday, winning 11 trophies. Other SCVRS members that won were Jan Parsoneault, Lynn Snetsinger, Suzanne Horn, Bob and Dona Martin, Chris Greenwood, and others, but I do not have the complete winners list at this time. I took a few photos and hope to post them on the PRS website sometime this week as time allows. Then on Sunday, we went to the garden tour at Ted & Hilda Miyamura's home in Bell Canyon. I also took pictures there and will include those and an article featuring the highlights in the June issue of Rose Ecstasy bulletin. Bob and I are still recuperating from the big weekend. Now our attention will turn towards next Sunday's Rose Auction, after which we will have a six month hiatus from major rose activities.   

4-25-12      This coming Saturday is the big 75th Anniversary Rose Show hosted by the Pacific Rose Society at the L.A. County Arboretum. We will have roses, but the weather these past two weeks has been horrible ... alternating between rain and 95 degrees. What a way to ruin roses. So I've been cutting blooms all week and refrigerating them. They looked good when I cut them, but I just don't know if they will stay fresh until next Saturday. We will do our best and participate in the event regardless of how our roses fare. We have no control over the weather, but we can try to bring the best roses we have and groom them to the best of our ability. I am done spraying chemicals for the season and water spraying will have to take over. I've already had an outbreak of spider mites, in particular in areas where roses grow up against walls, like my floribunda Purple Tiger under my bedroom window, and my climber Purple Splash growing on the side of my house.   

4-15-12      And so today it was back to business ... I rolled out of bed at 6:30 a.m. and got my butt out into the garden and sprayed all my roses since they have been rather neglected for the past three weeks ever since Bob had shoulder surgery. Today I sprayed for everything! Avid for spider mites, Orthene for thrips, and Compass for mildew. My garden needs to be seriously deadheaded already as the blooms popped out weeks early this year. I just hope that I will have some blooms left for the Pacific Rose Show on April 28th, which is their 75th Anniversary Rose Show. In the meantime, we have Baldo Villegas speaking at our rose society meeting this afternoon. Sorry Baldo, I already nuked all my bugs this morning. 

4-14-12      Today Bob and I exhibited at the first rose show of the year. It was a small show in the San Fernando Valley, but the quality was pretty good. Considering Friday's downpour of buckets of rain, we did pretty good winning 13 trophies such as 6 Hybrid Teas with Hot Princess, Dowager Queen with Yolande d'Aragon, Single-Petalled Rose with Puanani, Miniature Queen with Nancy Jean, and Miniature Spray with The Lighthouse. It was so cold when we arrived that we had to go into the restrooms just to run warm water over our fingers to thaw them. Then we worked feverishly for four hours. Afterwards we enjoyed a lovely brunch with a group of 15 friends at a cafe called More than Waffles. We came home with a handful of Home Depot gift certificates, which I know will not collect dust.

4-10-12    I did not spray the roses last weekend after all. Bob is recuperating well, but he did not need to strain himself by helping me to feed and spray roses. We had family over for Easter dinner so I decided not to stink up the garden with chemicals. Nephew Paul was here visiting from Virginia. Daughter Tina, granddaughter Nani, grandson Will, great grandson Bryson, and sis Ruth & friend were here too. It was a delightful day. Made baked potato soup, ham, and Nani's awesome salad was yummy. Oh yeah, Costco pinched in with a killer cheesecake. There are loads of roses blooming in my yard right now. Some will be bloomed out for the San Fernando Rose Show (if we go). It's supposed to rain on Friday and Saturday, and Bob cannot use his shoulder to erect a tarp. So we will wait and see. I am going to think small, and even if we do exhibit at San Fernando, we will bring very few roses so that Bob does not need to strain himself. I do not plan to cut any roses until Thursday (projected non rain day) or Friday (rain projected, so this would not be ideal).   

4-4-12    Since Bob has been laid up this week because of his shoulder surgery, and cannot drag the hose around, it has been my duty to water the potted roses. I was pleasantly surprised that it only took me 25 minutes to get all of my 450 roses watered. I'm fast! They don't call me the "Water Queen" for nothin'. I'm hoping to get the roses sprayed this weekend, which I can easily do by myself. But rolling four large 55-gallon barrels around the yard all by myself is a deal breaker. The roses will just have to starve for a few more weeks, or I can apply some Osmocote slow release. Yeah!

4-2-12    The Home & Garden Show at the Hyatt Regency Valencia was quite a challenging adventure. On the first day, Saturday, March 31st, it rained. Some would call it "mist" but let's be honest, it RAINED! Fortunately, the show management had furnished us with a canopy, table and chairs for our booth. The brave members of our SCVRS team that day were Steve Jones, Jan Parsoneault, Elissa Siefert (morning), and Teresa Mathers (afternoon). Bob and Kitty popped in for just a short while in the afternoon as Bob was still recuperating from surgery so he couldn't stay long. We had lots of literature for handouts, plus our new rose book for sale. Steve, had a bouquet of antique roses on display, Jan showed off her spectacular Yellow Lady Banks, and the most comments were received for Elissa's eye-popping bright orange bouquet of Gingersnap floribunda. On Sunday, April 1st, we had a changing of the guard, so Carolyn Monday, Susan Savage, Beverley Wexler, Jan, Bob, and Kitty were there beginning at 10 a.m. Kitty added a bouquet of Purple Tiger to the display. This day it became quite windy, and by 1:00 p.m. we had to call it a day as many of the canopies of the surrounding booths were actually flying away. Green Thumb's abandoned canopy overturned and rolled down the street. Ours threatened to fly away but for the quick thinking of Jan, we had extra sand bags and large chunks of cinder block holding down the fort. The entire team was holding onto the canopy frame to keep it intact. I finally gave up when a sign blew in my face and fortunately missed hitting my eye only because I was wearing glasses. All of our glass vases full of beautiful roses crashed and broke on the ground. We did manage to get one new member and some community visibility. But for the most part, except for the bonding of our team, there didn't seem to be much value in the effort. The community visitors to this event were simply not interested in the rose society. They were there to get freebies and information about home improvement and landscaping. Rose Shows and Garden Tours appear to be much better investments for our rose society volunteer efforts.

3-26-12     Some of our roses are already blooming. In particular Purple Tiger and Eugene de Beauharnais. This is 3 weeks early, and the earliest that roses have ever bloomed in my garden. So I cut the center blooms off clusters of Purple Tiger blooms and put them in a basket filled with Oasis. Then we brought them to the Green Thumb Winter Garden Faire. We didn't win top prize, but I was happy to share these beautiful blooms with the public. As a bonus, Green Thumb gave us a box of EB Stone Organics as a "Thank You" for participating in the event. Then this morning I brought the basket of Purple Tiger to share in the lobby of my office where I work. There are more blooms coming on fast, but the first rose show of the season isn't until April 15th at the San Fernando Valley Rose Show at Sepulveda Gardens.

3-22-12      Yesterday after work we started feeding the roses. Only got the front yard completed when good friend Baldo Villegas stopped by for a quick visit on his way through town. He took a quick look around and it doesn't appear that he found any abnormalities, like strange bugs and diseases. Just a touch of anthracnose. So today after we got home from work we finished feeding the roses in the back yard, so they are all put to bed until next week. Tomorrow I plan to spray the roses, because it was raining last week and it will rain on Sunday, so I figure I better do it when the opportunity arises. I won't be able to feed or spray again for several weeks because Bob is having shoulder surgery next week. So we will have a little down time. The book has been printed and is ready for distribution on March 31st.   

3-20-12    Today is the first day of spring. It is also Bob & Kitty's 52-Year Wedding Anniversary. Sweethearts, lovers, and best friends forever. It's interesting to note that although we were married in an outdoor garden, I did not grow my first rose until our 25th anniversary. Actually, up until 1985, we grew little more than a lawn, green shrubs, several bulbs, a few geraniums, and the occasional annual such as marigolds. I had also tried growing some azaleas and camelias but wasn't very successful with those types of plants. Oh yeah, the kids grew some carrots and radishes, but that's about it. Our leasure activities were consumed with hunting, camping, fishing, hiking, ski boating, and the kids' school, sports and club activities. Now of course, our front and back yard are consumed with roses. Happy Anniversary Sweetheart! Thanks for accepting my obsession with roses.

3-15-12     Finally got around to feeding my 350 roses plus another 100 auction roses. Couldn't do it last weekend because we were booked solid with projects and activities. It's been 10 days since we last fed them, but they are lookin' good despite being neglected. Going without being watered for a week is another matter, but the sprinklers are fixed now. It took us 1-1/2 hours to distribute 220 gallons of my special concoction, a blend of Grow More, fish emulsion, liquid seaweed, iron chelate, epsom salts, and SuperThrive. For inquiring minds that want to know the details of how long it takes us to feed:

15 minutes set up (dissolve and mix water soluble fertilizer in four separate 2-gallon buckets of hot water)
3.5 minutes to fill 55-gallon barrel from front yard faucet x 3 barrels = 10.5 minutes
5.5 minutes to fill one 55-gallon barrel from backyard south faucet with slower water pressure
12 minutes to dispense 55-gallon x 4 barrels = 48 mins
11 minutes clean up

3-14-12    Today my water geek gave me personal one-on-one training on my new toy. It's hard to believe that it's so easy to use. I'm a happy camper! One of the things I like about it is the geek installed it at MY eye level, not a 6-foot man's like last time. I used to stand on my tip toes to reset the old one. So of course it's going to rain this weekend so I already had to put the controller in the "OFF" position.   

3-13-12    My husband knows how to please me. Today he hired a water system specialist to install a new automatic sprinkler system timer for me. I'm the "Water Queen" so the water geek will come back after the installation and show me how to adjust the settings. Bob hates anything electrical or technological so he refuses to deal with it. I had been whining for a long time about where our old timer was installed (too high for me to reach, and in a place where I was always tripping over garden tools). Yesterday I noticed the lawn was dry even though I had it set to water every 2nd day for 6 minutes. When Bob was cleaning the garage recently, he had accidentally disengaged some wiring so the timer refused to work anymore. I think it was a safety hazard anyway because a bunch of wires were sticking out all over the place.  Bob got tired of my whining, so he hired the water guy. Yippee!

3-11-12    We have gotten so much accomplished this week that I don't know where to start. Well, yesterday we spent the day with friends in Riverside. A bunch of us carpooled to a Consulting Rosarian Seminar the Fairmount Boat House, actually on a small lake with hundreds of all kinds of ducks, swans, and other birds. This week we finished our Rose Auction catalog and it is posted on our Calendar. We also finished our "Growing Roses in SCV" book, so it's off to the printer. This morning we got up early and sprayed for mildew, then this afternoon we have our meeting with Gisele Schoniger as our guest speaker. Oh, yeah, the clematis won the race. A red one called 'Vino'.

3-4-12   Only 16 more days until it's officially spring (vernal equinox). That particular day is very special to me in a personal way. Today seems like a spring day and so we are pampering our roses. Just last week it was hailing here and upon inspection of my roses, there is some damage to the foliage from the hail. Rips and tears (the kind coming from my eyes). Well, not really, as I've learned to expect the unexpected, what will be will be. I got up at 6:45 a.m. and sprayed all the roses with Orthene (for bugs) and Compass (for mildew). I wish Compass wasn't so expensive ($469 for 16 oz) but it would last me 10 years (even with 350 roses)  as it is very concentrated. They used to sell it in 8 oz bottles, which lasted me 5 years, but they don't sell that size anymore. I guess I'll have to switch completely to BannerMaxx which only costs $69 for 16 oz but it doesn't seem to work as well, and it's better to rotate among products so that fungus doesn't become resistant. We plan to fertilize all the roses this afternoon if it doesn't get too windy.     

3-3-12    Today after lunch, Bob and I went to Home Depot and ordered our new front door. We have to wait four weeks for it to be built, but it's going to be so very classy. It will have oval glass design, window and two matching sidelights. We've been in this house 45 years and this is the third door. The first one didn't make it very long with kids and animals, maybe 10 years. The second one made it 35 years. We are so ready for this new door. Then we have some other projects to do, like new flooring. And Bob is itching to gut the kitchen and give me a new one. I want it, but the thought of everything being torn up and messy is not enticing. So after Home Depot we visited the Hyatt Regency Valencia to check out the area where our rose society will have our booth on March 31 - April 1 at the Home & Garden Show. It's a very nice area, right in the rose garden and near a fountain and swimming pool, with a pergola above us. We plan to have our new book available for sale at this event.    

2-24-12    It's been rather nice doing practically nothing in the garden this week except a little watering. We turned the sprinkler system back on, scheduling it to cycle once every three days, 6 minutes per station. We also had to hand water some of the pots that don't get watered by the sprinklers. I didn't say I haven't been doing anything this week, just not much in the garden. My evenings have been keeping me busy juggling several major projects. 1) the rose care book, 2) the auction catalog, 3), March Rose Ecstasy; 4) our rose show; 5) our garden tour; and 6) encouraging consulting rosarians to attend a CR seminar and/or apply to become a Master Rosarian. Okay, now I'm very ready to get back out into the garden! I'm getting tired of all this computer work.   

2-19-12    Yesterday when scoping out the garden, I noticed that some of my indicator roses are getting a little mildew. Conundrum and Nancy Jean are the first to get mildew, and usually Affirm which was still mildew free at this time. I was hoping to delay spraying for another week, but knew that I better spray today. So I made myself get out of bed at 6:45 a.m. and since it wasn't windy or raining, we went out to the garage and set up the Spray Boss, my 14-gallon battery-powered spray tank on wheels. Since I didn't see any bugs on the roses, I opted to only spray a fungicide (Compass, very expensive but a bottle lasts me five years). After spraying a few dozen roses, I noticed that there was indeed some aphids on Cajun Moon. Back to the garage to add Merit (insecticide). As I continued to spray, I inspected each rose to see if there were any unusual conditions. The roses are pushing out much new growth. Pinnacle already has tiny buds forming, as does Anna de Diesbach and Mrs. R G Sharman-Crawford. I also noticed that the clematis is sprouting like crazy. All this new growth was probably spurred on by the "magic elixer' that we fed them last week (Mills Magic Easy Feed, fish emulsion, epsom salts, Superthrive, liquid seaweed, and chelated iron). In the back yard it was evident that mildew is more of a problem because of the moisture that is caused by the swimming pool. Some of the roses along the pool deck had so much dew that it looked like the sprinklers had doused them. Of course, the sprinklers were turned off, so all the dew and moisture was caused by condensation of the swimming pool. Behind the pool we keep a dozen 1-gallon budded rose maidens because they get full sun there. However, it is the perfect place for mildew to attack the roses, so these plants will have to be moved, at least until we get past the high fungus season.

2-13-12    Contrary to popular misconception, it's not all about roses. Family comes first. Career second. And roses actually come in last. It just seems otherwise. So in that vein, we are proud to announce that our multi-talented grandson Josh Belendez was awarded MVP on his Frosh HS Football Team, as well as Highest Academic Achievement of the entire team. Way to go Josh! 

2-7-12    This has been a fairly quiet week in the Belendez Garden. I guess I should back up and report what we did last weekend. On Saturday we attended a huge rose auction at the L.A. County Arboretum put on by the Pacific Rose Society with Chris Greenwood at the helm, and Bob Martin as auctioneer. They had hundreds of bareroot roses in their auction, as well as a silent auction featuring nearly 100 potted roses. I myself donated some of those potted roses, namely my white sport HT 'Miss Kitty' that Bob budded on Fortuniana rootstock, and a 1/2 dozen others. I controlled myself fairly well, and only adopted two new roses from the Pacific Auction: the very fragrant Dolly Parton, and a new HT rose called 'Cinnamon Dolce' that is said to be red with speckles. After the auction a large group of us headed to a cozy Mexican restaurant in Pasadena for early dinner. Then on Sunday I applied alfalfa pellets while Bob repotted the final 8 roses. Since then I've been keeping busy working on the new rose care book, our rose auction catalog, the rose show schedule, Rose Ecstasy newsletter, and coordinating our participation in the Santa Clarita Home & Garden Show at the Hyatt Regency on March 31st. I even squeezed in a few hours adding information to my Ancestry Family Tree. Never a dull moment around here, even when I might say it's been a "fairly quiet week."

2-2-12 Daddy-o Bob is very happy now that he knows 100 potted roses will be moving out of our garden on May 6th. (I wonder if he knows there are another 100 waiting in the wings for next year?) We now have confirmation that our Annual Rose Auction is going to be held at the Castaic Union School District in Valencia. Plenty of space and free parking there. It will be held inside so we don't have to contend with gale force wind, drenching rain, or blaring hot days. We will miss the pretty garden atmosphere, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. The new place will be so much easier to move the roses in and out for Auctioneer Bob Martin (without anybody falling in the pool). This year's theme will be "The 50's". Party girl Jan Parsoneault always thinks up fun themes to play with. I've created the floor plan and now begin working on the color catalog.

1-29-12    It's been a long day in the garden, but we got almost everything accomplished that we set out to do today. We began the day with a nice breakfast out at our new favorite cafe. Every customer is greeted with a free crepe with berry jam when they bring your coffee. Nice! After a hearty breakfast, it was time to begin the day's work. We had a long "To Do" list. Bob began by pruning the last 10 hybrid teas that we decided to prune at the end of January, multiple bushes of Black Magic and St. Patrick, because they always get frost damage. Meanwhile, I hula hoed again, both the front and back yards. Then Bob applied Kelloggs Gromulch on all of the in-ground roses, while I applied rose fertilizer, epsom salts, and Preen. Bob repotted about 10 roses, while I watered everything in. The only thing we did not get done before we ran out of energy, was to apply alfalfa pellets, but that can be done in a couple weeks. We worked a full 6 hours in the garden today with only several 5-minute breaks. Now we will treat ourselves to dinner out, followed by a long soak in the hot tub.

1-28-12    Today we participated in a big volunteer project. We helped to prune the Wrigley Tournament of Roses Garden in Pasadena with the Pacific Rose Society. There were 20 people to help prune the garden of several hundred modern roses. Mostly hybrid teas, floribundas, and shrubs. It only took about 3 hours and then afterwards we all went to have lunch in a Pasadena cafe. The weather was perfect for the job. Sunny, but not too hot, not windy, not rainy. Couldn't have been a better day considering that the pruning day had been cancelled last weekend because it was raining. Got a little tan in the sun, then came home and took a very rare nap. Ordered ham and pineapple pizza delivered and then soaked in the jacuzzi for a while. A pleasant day.   

1-27-12 This week my main project has been editing and updating the 3rd edition of our 48-page booklet "How to Grow Roses in Santa Clarita Valley." It's been 10 years since we last published the 2nd edition. Steve Jones and I are co-authors so we've been sending edit suggestions back and forth via email. We are making good progress. What is surprising is that so many changes are needed. Much has changed since our last publishing. Our rose recommendations have changed, nurseries we listed are no longer in business, our Consulting Rosarian list has changed, product names have changed, and even some of our rose care regimens have changed. This updated booklet will be published in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society.   

1-22-12    Today we are working hard on more repotting and mulching. We lost count of all the pots that Bob is repotting today. Some he moved up from 7 gallon to 10 gallon. About 50 Fortuniana rootstock he moved from 2-inch to 3-inch. Some pots he moved from 7 gallon down to 3-gallon for the raffle table or auction. Some roses he had to repot because the pots are falling apart. I wish they made a more sturdy red 10-gallon pot. The black pots hold up the longest but they are not very attractive. We have about 8 more 10 gallon pots to be repotted but first we have to buy several pots. Some just need to be refilled with potting soil because they have sunk down 6 inches below the top. Meanwhile, I pulled a wagon around the yard with a sack full of Gromulch and put handsful onto all the other potted roses. We still have to apply Gromulch on all the in-ground roses (Bob's job), and apply granular fertilizer and Preen for weeds (Kitty's job). We probably won't get those last two jobs done until next weekend.

1-17-12    The new roses Bob planted yesterday are the shrubs Golden Zest,  Evalyn Jane, Munstead Wood, The Dark Lady, and floribundas Marmalade Skies, Brass Band, and Sexy Rexy (all of these Bob budded onto Fortuniana rootstock a year ago). Plus he planted several roses growing on their own roots: Altissimo, John Hopper, and Comte de Chambord. Additionally, he planted bushes of  Darcey Bussell, Young Lycidas,and Rhapsody in Blue that are budded on Dr. Huey. He didn't get all of the repotting done because he had a doctor appointment in the afternoon, but I think he got about a half dozen repotted. My little revamped polyantha corner is coming along nicely. Bob repainted the bird bath anchoring the group, and got two of the polys moved to larger pots. Meanwhile, I weeded the front and back yards with my trusty hula hoe. We didn't have too many weeds, just a bunch of new seedling weeds, but I wanted to get them under control before I apply Preen, hopefully next weekend. While Bob was at the doc, I worked on the February newsletter. It's a good thing we had Monday off so we could get caught up on stuff to do. It's never ending.       

1-16-12     Today Bob is planting 10 roses for me. Plus he has another 20 roses to move into larger pots. Meanwhile I took inventory of the potted roses to be on our SCVRS  auction this year. It's over 100 potted roses including about 20 budded on Fortuniana  (Golden Holstein, Francis Dubreuil, Playgirl, Red Intuition, Sister  Jane, Pacific Celebration, Distant Drums, Evelyn Jane, Impulse, Polo Club, Christian Dior, The  Impressionist, Shadow Dancer, to name a few on Fort). A small sampling  of the own-root roses are: Berries 'n' Cream, Bouquet Parfait, Dr. John  Dickman, Abby's Angel, Foolish Pleasure, Joy, Memphis Music, Green Rose, Eugene de Beauharnais (a China rose), Hurdy Gurdy, Lavender Spoon,  Marriotta, Verdun, The Dark Lady, The Squire, Yolande d'Aragon, Sweet Pea, Paul Ecke, Jr., and Rose du Roi.  Very few hybrid teas, but the ones we will offer are all on Fortuniana. And ... ta da ... a tree rose floribunda named 'Be Bop' to match our 50's theme.    

1-15-12    We had a very productive board meeting today. Many decisions were made including the approval of our 2012 operating budget. Some of the highlights are: our November 3rd rose show at Hart Park was approved; it's pretty much the same as last year except the addition of a special class celebrating the 20th Anniversary of our rose society. Auction theme to be "The 50's"; date and venue of the auction to be announced. Publication of the long-awaited revised 3rd edition of the Belendez/Jones 48-page booklet "How to Grow Roses in Santa Clarita Valley." It's been 9 years since our 2nd edition was published in 2003. We're looking for two private rose gardens in Santa Clarita Valley to open for public tour on April 29th. Please let us know if you want to host a tour at your garden.    

1-14-12    We spent half the day at Green Thumb Nursery as Master Rosarian volunteers. People had many questions about roses: how to plant them, how to prune them, how to care for potted roses, what to do about bugs and diseases, and helping them select the best plants from those available at the nursery. We've been doing this gig at Green Thumb every January for over 15 years. It's always a pleasurable experience. Bob and I were the only Rosarians there, as we appear to be the only diehard, dedicated rose nuts I suppose. Steve couldn't be there as he was on a trip to Northern California, and this is the only time he has ever missed this event. President Carolyn was there for a couple of hours and gave us a much needed break while Bob and I took a short break for lunch at a nearby Carl's Jr. We met the actual owner of Green Thumb, who was visiting from out of town. He generously offered Bob and I a 30% discount on anything we purchased today. Alas, we didn't have time to take him up on his offer as we had errands to do afterwards, and would have needed our old van to cart home loads of Gromulch. I hated to miss out on that once in a lifetime offer, but such is our lot in life.     

1-8-12    Our Rose Care Seminar was a tremendous success today! We had 95 rose lovers turn out on a very sunny day. Robert Scissorhands did a tremendous job of showing how he whacks off the potted miniature roses, and he also demonstrated how he repots roses, and showed how he sharpens his pruning tools. Steve Jones did a great job on his presentation of planting bareroot roses, fertilizing, potting, mulch and soils. We had 16 roses on our raffle table as well as some Gardner & Bloome fertilizer compliments of Rick Sacks of Kelloggs. Plus we had a fine pair of Corona Clippers on the raffle table too. Our refreshment table was packed with all kinds of goodies: cookies, dips, pies, cheesecake and so much more. Our new President Carolyn Monday, did a fine job of leading the meeting. Once again the local media was generous in featuring our seminar. Our Rose Care Seminar was promoted in The Signal newspaper, the Daily News, Santa Clarita Magazine, SCV-TV Cable, KHTS Radio, City of Santa Clarita web calendar, our own newsletter, SCVRS Facebook, SCVRS website, email blasts, and flyers at Green Thumb Nursery, Newhall.   

1-6-12    This Sunday is our very popular annual Rose Care Seminar at the Senior Center. We usually have a very big turnout, one year 125 folks attended. We are having some awesome items on the raffle table: rose fertilizer from Kellogg's/Gardner & Bloome, Corona Clippers, and 16 roses in 5-gallon cans. Once again Bob and I are up to the task. It's always fun to meet new people and show them how to prune and repot roses. Meanwhile, back at the ranch ... there is always stuff to be done in our garden, even this time of year. The pruning is mostly done, but I still need to apply Preen and some granular slow release fertilizer. And with the abnornally high temperatures (in the 80 degree range for two weeks) we cannot neglect to water our garden every 2nd day in my sandy soil. There is much repotting to be done, but first we need to make a trip to the garden center to pick up more potting soil and Kellogg's Gromulch.   

1-3-12    I am so happy to get back to my office job today. It is a whole lot less physically taxing as compared to the work in my garden I've been doing for the past 8 days. The weather has been bizarre but lovely. Who knew it would be 80 degrees for most of the week? Beach weather! I finished the week with a suntan just from working in the yard. But pruning roses was the focus these past 8 days, and we did manage to get most of it completed. The only remaining work is the 10 hybrid teas (St Patrick and Black Magic) that will get pruned on January 20th because they are susceptible to frost and freezing damage. That may be a moot point this year because of the unusually warm weather we've been enjoying. We also need to trim the auction and raffle plants but they are in small pots on "the rack" so Bob Scissorhands will make quick work of those next weekend. I also sprayed a dormant oil yesterday, so all is well. Next is Preen, which I will apply next weekend.   

1-1-12    Happy New Year! Bob and I have been busy all week pruning roses in our garden. We have completed nearly 300 of our 350 roses. Although exhausted, we have made time to have some fun as well. Parties, time with family, hot tub, movies, and dining out have filled our time in the evenings. Today we pruned some more, then spent some time redoing the polyantha section. Many of the polyanthas will have to be repotted. Some being moved up to larger pots, others being repotted as they have become rootbound after 5 or more years. I also needed to squeeze in some time to judge a photo contest over the past week. With nearly 700 entries, this has taken many hours, but it has been very interesting as well as time consuming. I hope to be finished with this project by next weekend. This is my third and final year of doing this particular volunteer work.

Link to 2011 Blog     

Link to 2010 Blog    

Link to 2008-2009 Blog    

 Photos © Copyright by Kitty Belend


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The McFarland National Challenge Class
A Collection of 7 Different Hybrid Tea Roses, 
in Separate Vases
Won by Bob & Kitty Belendez, San Ramon, CA 9/29/12
Roses included are: Gemini, St Patrick, Desperado, Miss Kitty, Affirm, Cajun Moon, and Big Time