2014 Diary of Activities in 
the Rose Garden of
Kitty and Bob Belendez

Santa Clarita, California    
Copyright Kitty Belendez

By Kitty Belendez
Master Rosarian

"We each have our addictions. With some it's drugs, alcohol, gambling, or smoking. With others it's sports, religion, power, politics, money, sex, hate, food, or anything else that consumes and controls us. With me it's roses in every facet I can imagine: Growing, showing, reading, producing, writing, photography, graphics, propagation, and technology. It's the roses that keep me away from the other stuff." -- Kitty Belendez, May 9, 2014

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December 28, 2014    My hubby Bob is planting a bunch of roses for me today, all on Fortuniana rootstock. Randy Scott, Showbiz, Blue for You, Katelyn Ann, and Oh My. Others are not quite yet ready and will have to wait until March to get more roots before moving from pots to the ground: Mr Caleb, Stainless Steel, Sexy Rexy, and Lavaglut. Meanwhile, we are pampering a bumper crop of 75 rose maidens on Fortuniana in 3-inch pots that need to roll in and out on carts every night to protect them from freeze, and give them sunshine to grow during the day. They have lights in the garage at night as well so they are looking pretty good. Some are pushing out 1/4-inch growth. Others are still dormant.

December 25, 2014    Merry Christmas everybody! We hope you are having a wonderful holiday. I don't have to cook today because we had our 41st Annual Tamale Fest last night with many friends and family attending. Bob and I and daughter Tina made 260 Tamales on December 23, and then steamed them all day yesterday. I also prepared home-made salsa, and the very last of my Husky Cherry tomatoes went into the recipe. We also made a big crockpot full of chile beans using my secret recipe. So today Tina and Nani served brunch at their house and we opened presents. Obviously there is nothing much going on in the garden the past month, so we have turned our attention to Rose Society business. Since I will be President in 2015, I'll be having the first board meeting at my house right after New Year when we hope to approve the new budget and set our goals for the year. We have already secured a new venue for our Annual Rose Auction which will be held March 29, and have begun the application process for our November Rose Show. There is always plenty of things to do, even during bad weather or the garden dormant season.

December 19, 2014      'Glitter Girl', my orange and white striped sport (mutation) of 'Peppermint Twist' has now been officially registered with the American Rose Society, and can now be exhibited at rose shows. 'Glitter Girl', a floribunda, is also listed on HelpMeFindRoses. Plants will be available at the March 29, 2015 Rose Auction.

December 16, 2014    Please be advised that our website hosted by Homestead/Intuit has been experiencing technical difficulties for two weeks. They are working to fix the problem and hope to have all issues resolved within another two weeks (December 31). They had a major equipment failure and are transitioning all data over to new servers. It is very difficult for webmasters to even work on their sites because the system is extremely sluggish.  (NOTE: We did not make this block of text bold intentionally ... it is an error in the system!)

December 7, 2014    Along with all that wonderful rain we got last week came an unwanted guest. The dreaded botrytis fungus! Water and warm weather are perfect conditions for this ugly-inducing fungus. We had tons of beautiful fresh blooms for Thanksgiving again this year, but after the rain this week they all turned to moldy mush. Particularly susceptible are the lighter colored rose blooms, and in particular Whirlaway, Cajun Moon, Affirm, and even St Patrick. They start out with red spots like measles, that quickly attack the blooms and turn the entire bloom to brown and black mold. It is not wise to ignore this potential disastrous infestation in your garden. As much as we didn't want to, we cut off nearly every bloom in our garden right away. If you let it go, the mushy roses turn to a brown powder that can blow over your entire garden and attack your new blooms next spring. Cut off those moldy mushy blooms and throw them in the garbage can now.

December 2, 2014    We finally got some rain! It started with a drizzle yesterday and continued with steady rain most of today. We turned off our mist box for the winter now that the weather has gotten much cooler. That will save us some water, but also the roses we had in the mist box will actually get more sun light when they are out of the box. They are loving the rain! It appears that we are having much success with our rose propagation efforts this year. Early spring not so much, but thereafter we are getting over 90% success. What seems to have made the difference is leaving the newly budded roses in the mist box for 30 days after budding. After that they are doing well. Bob budded the final 10 last week, which is a bit late in the year to be doing budding, so we will have to wait to see how they fare over the winter.

November 28, 2014    We have been incredibly busy. Thanksgiving kept us busy since we hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house. This meant not only cooking the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, but also home-made pies from scratch. This entailed cutting up apples, cooking pumpkin, and also rolling out the home-made pie crust. Last week Bob dug up a bunch of roses. Gone are two old Gemini bushes, a Sheer Bliss, and a Signature. We are also giving away some older potted roses to go on the raffle table, so those had to be repotted to smaller containers. Gave the Kristin to granddaughter. Continuing on with our cleaning out project, we gave most of our crystal giftware to daughter Tina and granddaughter Puanani. They took home over 20 crystal pieces. There were bowls, vases, platters all that will be put to good use instead of being stored away in a closet. I kept all the Waterford Crystal that still fills half of the closet. Although I do already have a few pieces on display, such as the perfume bottles, some wine glasses, and several vases. I really should put the other Waterford pieces on display somewhere in the house, but I fear they would get smashed in an earthquake, so for now they stay in their individual boxes for safekeeping. I suppose they should be put in a glass encased cabinet strapped to the wall, and with wax on each piece to hold them in place. Another project for another day.

November 15, 2014    It's time to begin thinking and planning about which roses will be dug up, and which new roses get their own space in the garden. Annually I make my list of "Ins" and "Outs". I have a bunch of new roses on Fortuniana that Bob budded for me. Randy Scott will definitely get a space. A very old Gemini on Dr Huey rootstock will get the boot. I have a bunch of new floribundas such as Katelyn Ann  and Blue for You that have spaces ready and waiting for them. Despite our hot summer, this has been a successful year for budding roses, which is odd because rooting of Fortuniana sticks has been not as successful as normal. We chalk up the low success rate in rooting to high heat and an uncooperative mist box that we had to keep tinkering with to make it work right. The higher success of budding is most likely due to keeping the newly budded roses in the mist box for a month after budding, and not repotting them from 2" to 4 inch at budding time. The roots apparently don't like to be disturbed at budding time. Some varieties continue to be difficult to propagate, such as Lanvin and Black Magic.

November 13, 2014    Our attention this week has turned to our pool renovation project. The pool was stripped of 23 year old plaster and tile and completely redone. Today they put on the final touches and we are very happy with the contractor we chose.

November 9, 2014    The rose show season is finally over, and none too soon. We participated in 3 rose shows this fall, and all were very successful for our roses. The last one was the Desert Rose Society Show in Palm Desert. It was a very long drive, 156 miles and 2.5 hours. We had to bring our tarp because it was quite warm during prep time, eventually becoming 90 degrees in the afternoon. Our roses are still in full bloom this week, which is quite a pleasure for us. Fortunately we finally got beyond the intense heat, and the Santa Ana winds were very mild.

November 6, 2014   Bob and I were very lucky at last weekend's rose show. It turned out to be a beautiful show with over 800 blooms, despite it pouring rain the night before and the morning of the show. The rose year is quickly coming to an end. We still have many blooms in our garden, and it has warmed up again for several days. We are now turning our attention to the holidays, and a major renovation project on our swimming pool that will begin this coming week. Rose pruning will not begin until at least the end of January. So maybe now we can just take some time off for ourselves.

October 26, 2014    Just one more week until our lovely Santa Clarita Rose Show. Let's hope the weather cooperates more kindly than it has over the long, hot summer. The nights are beginning to cool down to the mid-50's but the days are still in the '80s. This type of weather combo brings mildew and probably aphids. This morning I sprayed my roses with a fungicide and insecticide for the last time this season. They got their last liquid feeding last Thursday. Lots of iron and fish emulsion and seaweed and epsom salts. They are responding with bushels of long stem roses, and the cooler weather brings out intense color in the blooms. This coming week will fill our time with finalizing all the details of our November 1 rose show at Hart Park. Seems that everything is in order, but we need to check on a few things, and give reminders to our dedicated volunteers. 

October 25, 2014    Today was a very successful rose show at Orange County held at Rogers Gardens in Corona Del Mar. Bob and I won 17 trophies. That might seem like a lot, but the reality is that we worked extremely hard on bringing roses to their show. We got up at 3 AM this morning and brought over 100 rose stems and made a total of 60 entries. Other exhibitors won their fair share of trophies as well, so the cash awards were spread around rather nicely. Our rose of the day was our beloved 'St Patrick' a gorgeous yellow hybrid tea. It was featured in 5 of our wins, including the Hybrid Tea Queen, English Box, Rose in a Bowl, Cycle of Bloom, and one of the blooms in the Artist Palette. It was disappointing that more exhibitors did not participate. Not too many people are interested in exhibiting roses anymore. Let's face it ... it takes a lot of work and dedication. Bob and I used to exhibit at 12 shows a year all over Southern California, and occasionally at a national show like Portland, and District shows in Arizona. But we have cut back to about 4 or 5 shows a year. 

October 15, 2014    It appears that we have finally gotten some pleasant fall weather following a horrendously hot summer, like never before. The roses are responding beautifully from both the weekly fertilizing and cooler weather. We are getting some very long canes, although a bit thin. The bud worms appear to be under control, but we still are finding some cottony cushion scale here and there. I plan to spray the roses with Orthene one more time in a couple of days. Meanwhile the fertilizer continues to be mostly organic based. Fish emulsion and liquid kelp are the major ingredients, supplemented with 50% Carl Pool 10-50-10 this week to help gain bloom size. A dash of chelated iron, zinc, SuperThrive, and epsom salts beefs up the concoction. The spray mixture will also contain either Banner Maxx or Compass to prevent mildew, since the cooler weather will certainly encourage fungus growth. Now that we don't go to work anymore, we can leisurely walk the garden every day and disbud or trim off spent blooms while looking for any pests that might sneak in. I always carry a pair of secateurs in my holster.

October 7, 2014    Now that we are retired, you would think that I would be able to find the time to write on my blog more often. The truth is that we seem to fill our days quickly from morning until night. The first week I was feeling a little separation anxiety, but the second week has settled in and the days go by quickly. We have not yet found the time to do everything we want to do. Meantime, we continue to feed the roses almost every week. Well, this week it was 9 days before I got around to it, but I'm trying to keep them on a weekly feeding schedule. The spraying hopefully at 10 days. Today we made a little boo-boo. After blending the first 60-gallon batch of fertilizer (same blend as 9/20/14 except we added zinc this time), we turned on the pump to let everything get blended. Then we decided to go for a 10-minute walk while it got blended. Unfortunately we forgot to put the hose in the container, so the hose was laying on the lawn and feeding the yard by itself. When we got back, there was only 15 gallons left in the 60-gallon container, and the lawn and 10 rose bushes were heavily drenched with fertilizer. It will be interesting to see what develops in that area of the yard. Since our soil is pure sand, I don't think the extra fertilizer will hurt the roses because it will mostly drain away quickly. Sometimes it's better to focus on the job at hand than trying to multi-task. 

October 3, 2014    Now that Bob and I are both retired (me last Friday, Bob today), we need to schedule our calendar a bit differently. For example, it was nice to spray my roses last TUESDAY! Before retirement I always had to spray on either a Saturday or Sunday morning as those were the only days I had off work. Feeding the roses can occur any day we want. This morning at 9:00 AM before I even had my first cup of coffee I was out in the garden disbudding the hybrid tea roses while listening to The Highway satellite radio. The weather is lovely at that time in the morning. My roses are gonna be pampered like never before. How much more pampering is there to do? Haha! After I finish writing this morning, I will head off down the street for a 15-minute walk before the heat cranks up.

September 29, 2014    Shocking news comes from Baldo Villegas, retired entomologist at the State of California, via his personal Facebook page, that the preying mantis is now considered a predator (bad bug) because they eat good bugs like the bee shown in the photo. For more photos and story, see https://www.facebook.com/sactorose/media_set?set=a.2453407569679.1073741893.1086721355&type=1

September 20, 2014    Finally, finally, finally, the wretched summer heatwave of the past 2 months dropped down to a comfortable 86 degrees today. It will be the same tomorrow. The roses have been suffering for weeks and they will love the cooler weather. So we took advantage of the nice weather to feed all of our roses a yummy concoction of mostly organic liquid feeding. In a 60-gallon barrel of water we added 2 cups of fish emulsion, 2 cups of Magnum Rose, 1/4 cup of chelated iron, 1/4 cup of liquid kelp, 1/4 cup of SuperThrive, and 2 cups of magnesium sulfate (epsom salts). It took FOUR of those 60-gallon barrels to feed all of our 300 rose bushes. We pump it out onto each bush by using a sump pump with a 75-foot garden hose attached. I usually count to 15 seconds for the big bushes and 5 seconds for the small pots. It took us 1-1/2 hours to accomplish the application, and plan to do this every week for the next 5 weeks. We hope to have plenty of rose blooms for our November 1 Rose Show at Hart Hall in Newhall, CA.

September 18, 2014    We are finally finishing trimming the remainder of the mini roses today. Well, Bob is anyway. I am in the house trying to work on the October issue of Rose Ecstasy. Then I am speaking at South Coast Botanical Gardens this evening on the topic of "Kaleidoscope of Fabulous Floribundas." This is the 3rd time I have given this new PowerPoint presentation to Southern California rose societies. My first was Pacific Rose Society earlier this spring on April 3. Then it was Santa Clarita Rose Society on June 8. After South Coast (September 18) I will give this presentation to Ventura County Rose Society March 26, 2015.

September 13, 2014    We found some nasty cottony cushion scale on several of our rose bushes. They are huge and are making babies all over those bushes! Playgirl, Puanani, Sexy Rexy and Black Magic seem to be the favored varieties. Baldo Villegas says it's an infestation because the verdalia beetle did not arrive in time to kill them off [probably because of the drought]. Did you know that cottony cusion scale do not need a male to make babies? The fatter the scale, the more babies are inside! So, not only did I spray some Orthene systemic just on those 4 bushes, but at the recommendation of several friends, we washed the scale off the bushes with a hard stream of water with a hose nozzle. Those scale like to hide inside of very bushy plants. So far it seems to be working. 

September 7, 2014   Our deep deadhead work continues this weekend, but it was so horribly hot (near 100) that it's too miserable to stay out in the heat for any length of time. We did manage to finish most of the shrub roses and antique roses this morning (such as The Squire, Fair Bianca, Paul Neyron, The Dark Lady)  and then threw in the towel around 11:00 am. After a couple of hours cooling off in the air conditioned house, I had Bob bud a passel of roses onto Fortuniana rootstock. I want to beef up these roses, and some are special orders for friends, so hopefully the grafts will be successful if I keep them in the mist box for a month. We budded Hannah Gordon, Simsalabim, Playfair, Playboy, Puanani and Lanvin. These varieties we tried to bud earlier this spring but they were not successful. Probably because I did not keep them in the mist box long enough, only 2 weeks. The subsequent batch that we kept in the box for 4 weeks were highly successful so this new batch will stay in longer, especially during this nasty heat. 

September 1, 2014    Having a 4-day holiday weekend vacation, our goal was to get about half of our large rose bushes deep deadheaded. We did accomplish that and hope to finish the other half next weekend. The temperature averaged nearly 100 over the weekend so that made it a bit difficult to spend much time outside in the sun for any length of time. We could only manage 2 hours each day. Today it was a tiny bit cooler, 93 degrees, so we were able to spend 3 hours trimming the roses this morning. It is obvious that our roses are stressed out from the sun as well as water that is heavily alkaline because of lack of rain. I slathered plenty of sunscreen on myself to prevent sunburn. Drinking plenty of cold refreshing water helps to keep the gardener healthy and preventing human dehydration. 

August 21, 2014    We haven't really been doing much in the garden lately except keeping the roses watered while trying our best to conserve by making sure the sprinklers are set to the least amount of minutes that the roses can tolerate. The potted roses need to be watered almost daily when the temperatures hover near 100. Quick two-minute showers are the norm for us. No letting the water faucet run while brushing our teeth. Eliminated the 2nd rinse cycle on our washing machine. Only flush on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but never on Sunday (just joking :-). The current jobs at hand are producing our rose show schedule and all the materials that go along with it, such as the trophy cards, table cards, and floor plan. The Fortuniana rootstock is about ready to take out of the mist box, We lost an unusually high 20% this year, I think because of the extremely high alkalinity in our water that is caused from the low water levels in our underground water aquifiers. Here is an interesting article by Gary Horton on water conservation. Gary is the President of Landscape Development, a company that specializes in landscaping for large corporations and public facilities in Santa Clarita. He is a regular columnist in The Signal Newspaper. He has some thoughtful comments about the stupidity of how our local water companies are going about demanding archaic water conservation methods. 

August 17, 2014    Soon it will be fall, and it cannot come soon enough. I've really gotten tired of the 100+ degrees over the summer. My roses have gotten tired of it too. Soon we will have to conform to our water company's water restrictions, which are said to be 3 days a week and never on Sunday. I sure hope we get some meaningful rain soon. In two weeks, Labor Day weekend, we will start trimming our roses in anticipation of the fall bloom cycle. We plan to spread the trimming over a week's time. We want them to be in peak bloom the week of November 1st. I hope the cool-down will begin by then.

August 2, 2014    No doubt I could live at the beach, but today it is time to feed the roses some organic  blend. So I mixed up a large 75 lb batch of various products. 20 lbs of Gardener and Bloome 4-6-2 (contains bone meal, dried poultry waste, sulfur, feather meal, kelp, alfalfa, potassium sulphate, and various micorrhizae), 16 lbs of GrowMore Organic Rose Food 4-6-2 (contains blood meal, bone meal, kelp, fish meal, dried poultry compost, cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal, feather meal, and various mycorhizae), 12 lbs of Omocote Slow Release 13-13-13 (not organic but it's a great product), 4 lbs of Nitroform 38-0-0, 12 lbs of Bu's Blend compost, and 8 lbs of no name pure, finely ground kelp meal. I mixed it all up in a large bin and applied 4 oz to each large rose bush, 2 oz to minifloras and small bushes, and 1 oz to smaller minis and bushes. We had about 25 lbs left over for a light touch up in a few weeks. Then watered it all in well. This should get them through August as we plan to do the fall trim over Labor Day weekend. There is no rhyme or reason as to which ingredients I used... just a nice mixture of well-rounded organics, some of which I already had on hand and have been cluttering up my fertilizer closet. Meanwhile Bob cleaned the swimming pool and replaced the filter that blew apart. We also met and interviewed contractor #10 for the pool remodel project. I think there are several in this last round that meet our expectations, so hopefully we will hire one of them in the near future.

August 1, 2014    There's more to life than roses ... So, every Friday in July we went off to a different beach in Southern California. Sure, we kept our roses watered. We deadheaded a little bit. We fed them once. And we even hosted our Rose Show meeting, worked on the rose show schedule, and served on the Nominating Committee. But Fridays were reserved for "Beachin". (Love that Luke Bryan song, and I do have it on my iPhone along with some other "beach" songs, such as "Toes in the Water", "Rum" among others. Anyhow, we were able to visit Surfer's Knoll, Westward Beach, El Porto Beach, and Seaward Beach this year. (Last year we visited different beaches.) Had a great time, and went through 3 beach umbrellas. Sure wish we could learn how to use those without breaking them.

July 17, 2014    Despite water restrictions, I discovered a huge spray on my Wing-Ding polyantha bush. The bloom cluster measures 11" x 11" just on one cluster of blooms (called a spray). Usually one cluster measures about 3 or 4 inches wide, as demonstrated by the little faded spray in the rear on the left side of the photo. I think this may be a freak of nature that I may never see again.

July 16, 2014    We are pushing our roses to the limit on water rationing. We are lucky that for now it is self-imposed and not law, but they are talking about $500 fines if you let water run off down the street or wash your car without a shut-off valve on your hose, or wash down the driveway or sidewalks. We haven't done any of those wasteful acts for many years, but now we are trying to conserve water even further. Years ago the typical automatic sprinkler system setting was 15 minutes during our hot summers that can reach triple digits. Over the years we have shortened that time to where it's now only 10 minutes per water station during the summer. Now this year we have dropped it down to 8 minutes per station and will watch the lawn to see if it turns brown. I don't really care about the lawn, but the roses are my worry. So for now our 4 water stations will be set at 8 minutes every day. We are also testing out every 2nd day but will keep a careful eye out to prevent damage to our roses. The potted roses are watered by hand every day.

July 6, 2014    There are several tasks that are important to continue over summer to grow beautiful roses. 1. Water. 2. Feeding. and 3. Deadheading. The water is a must in this hot, dry heat, as the roses cannot live without water. Potted roses are especially vulnerable to drying out, so they must be watered almost daily. When we have to go away for 3 or more days, and the temperatures are 90 degrees or higher, we have friends or relatives water our containerized plants for us. We also have automatic sprinklers that water the lawn and large in-ground plants. We don't feed as heavily over the summer, but if you don't feed at all they will become chloritic, indicated by yellow foliage. So yesterday we applied the final feeding of liquid fertilizer, including Carl Pool water soluble, fish emulsion, iron, liquid kelp, and SuperThrive. And deadheading is good for the roses in two ways ... removing spent blooms will encourage reblooming and it also helps to control bugs on the blooms, such as thrips, worms, and beetles this time of year. Aphids are rarely present during the summer. In two weeks we will apply a blend of slow release Osmocote plus various organics such as kelp meal, Grow More Organics, and Gardner and Bloome organic granular fertilizer. We also hope to find time to apply a light application of Kelloggs Gromulch. This type of feeding will get the roses through to Labor Day when we trim back the roses to encourage a large bloom cycle for our November 2 Rose Show.

July 4, 2014    We hope you are having a happy 4th of July Celebration. We are taking it a bit easy today. Perhaps some swimming this afternoon. But this morning we are meandering the garden, doing a little deadheading. Bob dug up one rose, a 20-year-old Lavaglut that's going downhill. We checked out the maiden roses that Bob budded on Fortuniana rootstock during the month of May. It appears that we have 22 successful plants. They are getting several hours a day of filtered, reflected sunlight off the concrete walkway. Now that the grafts appear to have been successful, they are taking off fast with several inches of new growth. We pinch off any blooms that form because the new grafts are not ready to hold the weight of a bloom. Most of the plants are replacements for some older plants that were previously on Dr Huey rootstock. Some are replacements for own-root roses that needed beefing up. This batch mostly consists of hybrid teas, floribundas, and minifloras. I plan to keep most of these 22 plants, with about 5 being set aside for next year's rose society auction fundraiser.

June 23, 2014   It's nice to once again have a little "June Gloom" this week, but the summer has taken off fast. The Fortuniana rootstock is here and has been in the mist box since last Thursday. We fiddle with the controls daily to make sure the mist is coming on steadily, especially when it gets hot. Speaking of fiddling, yesterday we checked all the sprinklers throughout the garden, and had to make a few adjustments here and there. One sprinkler head was too high and another one was too low. One section was getting too wet so we turned the duration setting down to only 7 minutes. Water cannot be ignored, even if the garden is getting too much, which could be very wasteful. This past weekend we weeded the entire garden and applied Preen. Most of the weed seedlings are being blown in from a neighbor's yard so we had to take matters into our own hands and sneak over there and pull a few of THEIR weeds that had gotten out of control. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. That is my mantra.

June 7, 2014    We are in the midst of our 2nd bloom cycle of spring this year. Sort of. Yes, the roses are blooming again, but they are not as beautiful, big and full as they were in the 1st bloom cycle during the middle of May. However, we did notice a few floribunda roses that are performing extremely, and surprisingly well during this 2nd cycle. In particular we see that Julia Child, Trumpeter, Cinco de Mayo, Playgirl, and Puanani are producing some lovely sprays and they don't seem to be bothered by thrips. Also, the foliage is clean and without mildew and spider mites. This is a pleasant surprise.

May 27, 2014    We were hoping to sneak in a little down time over the long weekend. Maybe even get a little power nap. Ha! We were very busy from  start to finish, beginning on Friday afternoon when we headed off to the Wrigley Tournament of Roses Mansion in Pasadena for a lovely dinner hosted by the Pacific Rose Society. That would be the only downtime we would get. We did sleep in to 8:00 AM on Saturday and then the work began. While I finished the June Rose Ecstasy newsletter, Bob repotted a about 45 roses and then he cleaned the swimming pool. He also rebudded some of the roses that had failed the first time. We moved and labelled some pots around to get them better organized for next year's auction. I took some cuttings, and then Sunday afternoon the SCVRS audit committee arrived to look at the society's financial books. Afterward Bob demonstrated how he buds roses. On Sunday afternoon we liquid fed all the roses with our huge 60-gallon fertilizer container, using our sump pump. In the middle of that project, another member came over to pick up his rose that he forget to take home at our April auction, and when he asked to see how we do cuttings and fertilize we obliged.

May 21, 2014    I am absolutely loving this cooler weather this week. Mid-70's is great for this girl. The roses are loving it  too. They are so much less stressed out. Now if they could just get past this wretched spider mite invasion on their foliage. Oh, and the thrips are here too, but on the blooms. Ugh. We are washing down the foliage almost every day with our water wands. Infested foliage is falling off. Not  to worry, new foliage will soon return. Last weekend I applied 25 lbs of Bayer Advance 2-in-1 dry granular, which is a combination of fertilizer and insecticide. I'm not so sure this will help much, but we can wait it out. Usually the spider mites (with water treatment) and the thrips (with imidacloprid, the active pesticide ingredient in Bayer) should eventually go away. Meanwhile, we deadheaded (removed) all of the old, ugly spent blooms to encourage a new repeat bloom cycle. It takes 60 days for the new cycle to return, but if you deadhead every day, it will seem like it takes far less time.  

May 14, 2014    "Bob the Budder" has been very busy budding roses over the past several weeks. At last count he has budded over 50 roses of all types. For at least a week they were placed in the mist box until they have a chance to settle in and the graft can heal. If  we had cooler, humid weather we would  not need to do this. But our weather is hot and dry. In fact today it is projected to be 103 here. The first group of 21 grafted roses have been removed from the mist box to make space for the roses that were budded thereafter. So far (but it's really to soon to say for sure) 20 of the 21 grafts are looking viable. The next batch of 30 will stay in the mist box for another week or so. Meanwhile, Bob moved the first batch of grafts up from a 3-inch pot to 1-gallon. This will give them more room for their roots to grow and also will help prevent the roots from drying out as they were in the tiny 3-inch pots during the heat. The pots have been placed in a northeast facing area of our yard that gets about 6 hours of sun a day, and then shade during the hottest part of the afternoon. Also, they are in an area where the automatic sprinklers can water them at least once a day during the morning, and then we hand water them late afternoon.Once a day would suffice during cooler weather, but hot weather requires watering the roses twice a day.

May 8, 2014    We are so relieved that the weather has cooled down this week. It has been very nice and comfortable. But don't get used to it ...95 degrees will be the norm beginning on Monday. Oh well, enjoying it while we can. So we filled up the mist box to overflowing. Three trays are  filled with 3-inch pots, for a total of 45 pots. The center tray contains cuttings, so each of those pots have an average of 5 stems. The other two trays are roses budded onto Fortuniana rootstock. Actually, there is a 4th tray containing budded roses that was completed nearly two weeks ago so we removed that tray from the mist box and set it outside to make space for more buddings. I am just about out of virgin rootstock now, and plan to place a new order with UC Davis in June. That new rootstock will need to be placed in the mist box to be rooted, and it cannot be used until next year after it is fully rooted and  growing. It is such a slow process and a waiting  game. In the meantime, we hope that this year's grafts will be more successful than the past several years. 

May 2, 2014    The continued high temperatures (98 today) and strong, dry winds have precluded us from exhibiting roses at any further rose shows this spring. What blooms were not fried were blown away with the winds. The spring bloom cycle has now officially ended in the Belendez Garden. I attempted to do some deadheading in my front yard this morning, and filled up a 45-gallon trash can, but it got too hot too soon so I had to quit by 10:00 AM. There are barely any more blooms in the front yard, and the back yard is pretty much the same. Except our swimming pool is filled with rose petals. This would be nice if you wanted to have a party, but it drives Bob crazy scooping out the debris. So tomorrow and the next day we shall turn our attention to grafting roses as the Farmer's Almanac says it is the best time according to the moon cycle. I don't know if that's a bunch of hooey, but my Mother used to swear by the moon calendar. The reality is that you have to graft when you have the time and the roses are ready for it. We now have the mistbox back up and running, which should help to keep the newly grafted roses a bit cooler. I will also take some more cuttings of desired varieties for next year's auction, as well as the monthly raffle table for our local rose society. The good news is that I will do no more spraying of insecticides until late September. We will liquid feed one more time, and then it's on to dry organics for the summer. Oh yes ... water, water, water!!!

April 26, 2014    We fortunately, and amazingly, had another successful rose show day. We got up to the alarm buzzing at 3:45 AM and thus began our day. We had packed all of our roses in the van the previous night since the weather reports said it would only be 44 degrees overnight. It took about an hour to pack our roses ... 15 crates plus our 80-quart rubbermaid cooler for the miniatures and minifloras. We arrived at the Arboretum in Arcadia at 5:15 AM. We really didn't have high hopes even though our roses looked pretty good. Lots of exhibitors turned out, many from San Diego where their weather is much milder and consistent than ours. We finally got all of our entries in by 10:00 AM then we cleaned up and went to breakfast with the other exhibitors. When we returned to the show a little past 1:00 PM when the judging was complete, we were surprised to learn that we had won 14 trophies. Many of our friends won many trophies too, so it was nice that the trophies were shared by all. 

Here is a complete list of Bob & Kitty's wins today at Pacific RS:
Elegy (3 HT) Let Freedom Ring
Hybrid Tea Queen      Moonstone
HT Court      Miss Kitty
Floribunda King      Francois Rabelais
Floribunda Princess      Lavaglut
Floribunda Court      Peppermint Twist
3 Floribunda Sprays      Fabulous!
Victorian Award      Rose de Rescht
6 Climbing Roses      Shadow Dancer
Miniflora Queen      Shawn Sease
Miniflora King      Whirlaway
3 Miniflora Blooms      Whirlaway
Single-Petal Floribunda Spray      Playgirl
Wilke Floribunda Challenge      Brass Band, Fabulous, Golden Holstein
Lavaglut, Sexy Rexy

April 23, 2014    We've been cutting roses all week and storing them in the floral refrigerator. We don't know yet whether or not they will be rose show quality by Saturday. We can only hope. Otherwise they will provide "color" for the rose show and the public likes to see that. I have not seen any thrips in my garden this spring, except several weeks ago there were 3 thrips in one Cajun Moon but no others since then. The green bud worms came last month but we apparently caught them in time as only a dozen blooms were chewed on. Orthene does a good job of controlling both bud worms  and thrips, even though others say that Orthene brings on thrips. We also include a miticide in the spray tank whenever we spray Orthene which is only twice a month, not as a preventative, but only when we see early indications of unwanted pests. Almost daily we trim off (deadhead) spent blooms as this also helps  to keep bad bugs like thrips and worms under control. Deadheading also encourages the rose bushes to produce new blooms, which usually takes about 60 days to recycle this time of year.

April 18, 2014    The hybrid tea bloom cycle is quickly coming to an end in our front yard. So since they are blooming earlier than expected, I am cutting a bunch of bouquets and bringing them to the office for display. I am also cutting bouquets  for family over the Easter weekend. It's always amazing to see how long some of the "florist-type" roses can last on  the table, even without  refrigeration and without using floral preservatives. I've just been putting them in plain water. Even after 5 days some are looking excellent. In particular, Black Magic and Hot Princess are  still stunning. This has been a learning  experience as well as just enjoying the roses instead of putting them into a one-day show and never seeing them again, or worse to imagine they have been thrown into the trash.

April 15, 2014    One of the roses we exhibited at San Fernando is the very rare, older floribunda called Playfair. She was created by our good exhibitor friend Bill Wilke in 1991. I believe we were awarded a blue ribbon for this specimen, but not the trophy since our Puanani won the Floribunda Queen. Last year I was fortunate to rescue a cutting of Playfair from a friend that was moving  away since I had lost my plant. She is listed white, but is actually tinted with a very subtle hint of mauve. Her mother is Playgirl. Bob budded her onto Fortuniana and the plant is growing exceedingly well. We hope to resurrect her at the rose shows soon.

April 14, 2014   Despite our best planning and efforts, our garden came into full bloom four weeks earlier than we would have liked. We had initially not planned to exhibit at the San Fernando Rose Show, but since our roses were blooming, we went to the rose show anyway. We ended up winning 16 trophies, but our hybrid teas were not at their best. As luck would have it, the day after the show we had gobs and gobs of hybrid teas, so I brought bouquets to the office for my co-workers to enjoy. Here are the trophies we won at San Fernando Rose Show:

Bouquet of 20 Golden Holstein Floribunda Blooms
Dowager Queen with Yolande d'Aragon
Floribunda Queen with Puanani
Hybrid Tea Princess with Cajun Moon
Hybrid Tea Court with Black Magic
Hybrid Tea Court with Miss Kitty
Hybrid Tea Court with Dona Martin
Grandiflora Spray with Wild Blue Yonder
Miniature Princess with Fairhope
Miniature Court with The Lighthouse
Miniature Court with Arcanum
Miniflora Princess with Whirlaway
Climber with The Impressionist
Miniature Spray with Marriotta
Three Miniature Sprays with Marriotta
Miniflora Bowl with Memphis Music

April 9, 2014    American Rose Society, located in Shreveport, Louisiana, has announced in their May/June issue of American Rose Magazine that “Rose Ecstasy” bulletin of Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society, Editor Kitty Belendez, has won the SILVER AWARD for Local Rose Society Newsletters in the United States.

Ms. Belendez also won six Awards of Merit for her articles published in Rose Ecstasy:
“From Whimp to Goliath: Fortuniana as a Rootstock” – February 2013
“Roots First: Blooms Later” – April 2013
“Trash or Trophy Winner” – June 2013
“Downsizing the Upsized Garden” – September 2013
 “Placement & Clerking at a Glance” – November 2013
 “IPM and Organic Strategy for the Rose Exhibitor”— November 2013

​3-31-14    We continue to feed and spray our roses every weekend. Of course as luck would have it, rain came the next day after I sprayed. Well hopefully, the insecticide soaked in and dried in time to do a number on those green bud worms that I saw lurking around several rose buds. I hate those buggers as they chew up the pretty blooms. We're starting to see some spider mites, I suppose because winter never happened so the warm weather is encouraging spider mites. Avid to the rescue! Avid is a great miticide but it's expensive because it is very concentrated. This product is for people that grow hundreds of roses, not for the small gardener. We are also disbudding almost daily as the sidebuds continue to push up very fast. We have also been fighting mildew, and have been spraying a fungicide every week. I use Compass rotated with Banner Maxx, but Compass works much better. Compass is another extremely expensive product, but a little goes a long way, so a bottle lasts me several years. You cannot buy these products locally. I get them online from www.Rosemania.com

3-23-14    It has been a busy weekend. We had intended to spray yesterday morning but it was very cloudy and overcast so we decided to delay spraying until this morning at 6:30 am. Instead, yesterday afternoon we fertilized all the roses. Spraying this morning went very quickly, spraying 14 gallons of fungicide over 300 or so roses. I was a bit concerned because all the roses were wet from heavy dew even before I began spraying with the Spray Boss, but I think it will be alright. After breakfast I spent most of the rest of the day finishing the April issue of Rose Ecstasy newsletter. We will release it for publication sometime this week. Since the rose auction is still 2 weeks away, we are looking forward to getting about 120 potted roses out of our yard to make space. Cover story for the April Rose Ecstasy is "Mini Rose Memoirs" ... thus the headline photo of Jean Kenneally at the top of today's blog.

​3-10-14    Despite both Bob and Kitty having bad colds over the past week, we managed to suck it up and get our scheduled chores done. Mildew and roses waits for no man (or woman). After the rains of the previous week, and the following warms days, mildew fungus was showing its ugly self on a few roses. I wanted to spray the roses on Saturday morning, but it was breezy when I got up at 6:30 am. I did not want to risk the breeze blowing chemicals in my face even though I wear a respirator mask. So instead we went to Plan B and fertilized the roses on Saturday afternoon. Then on Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m. we sprayed the roses a fungicide and insecticide. Because of Daylight Savings Time it was actually 5:30 am when we got up in the morning and it was still dark. Well no matter, by the time we got everything together a half hour later the sun was beginning to peak over the nearby hills. Even though we pruned our roses 4 weeks later than normal, the roses are pushing out new growth faster than we would like this year.

2-28-14  We finally got some rain and LOTS of it! Couple days ago we got a quick downpour of an inch, and today I'm sure it was several inches at least. The winds were howling too. I moved two trays of maiden roses onto the patio to prevent the winds from detaching the young grafts. We sure needed this rain, but it would be nice if it could have been spread over a couple of weeks and not over two days. No matter, we will take it as it arrives. The roses will surely love it.

2-23-14  Up and at 'em at 7:00 am. I still have the Spray Boss filled with chemicals so let's see if the JB weld glue will hold the spray wand together. Yes, it did work! I was able to spray all of the roses in record time, a little over an hour. Not that there's much foliage out there, but I am beginning to see some mildew on the first bushes that we pruned several weeks ago. After spraying, a shower, and breakfast, Bob cleaned out the garage to get ready for the spring rose show season. Meanwhile, lucky me, I got to get our tax papers organized so I can mail them to our CPA. Emailed March Rose Ecstasy bulletin in the evening, and now it's time to soak in the jacuzzi. Yeah!

2-22-14    We've been very busy all this weekend. We started Saturday morning at 6:30 am when I attempted to spray the roses their first rose spraying of the spring season. But the spigot head on the spray wand blew apart when I pressed the trigger. It's a good thing I was wearing a spray suit, gloves, glasses, and a respirator, otherwise that chemicals might have gotten all over me. Bob tried to fix it but to no avail. We had to drive out to Acton to ACE Hardware to take a look at their replacement spray wand. It was the wrong size, so we ended up ordering it online at ACE where they had the heavy duty brass model. It should arrive by the end of the week. Back to plan B. So instead of spraying the roses on Saturday morning, we fertilized all the roses in the afternoon. Meanwhile Bob bought some JB glue weld and temporarily fixed the old spray wand, which has to sit overnight to cure.

2-17-14    We are getting a TON of things done this weekend. For my international friends, "TON" does NOT mean 2,000, it means MANY. Yesterday I finished March Rose Ecstasy newsletter, all except a few minor details on which I am waiting for info from other people. This morning I made a half gallon of Banner Maxx and sprayed the auction plants since they are leafing out earlier than the rest of our roses that we pruned later. Then Bob spent some time cleaning the swimming pool while I applied the Preen weed pre-emergent (prevents weed seeds from growing). Well, I miscalculated and instead of the 18 lb can of Preen that we usually get at Costco, I had to buy some 5 lb cans since Costco did not yet have it for sale. Will have to keep an eye out for the large can. Anyway, I bought two 5 lb cans, which does not equal one 18 lb can. Big dummy me! So I did not have enough to do the back yard and will have to make another trip to buy more Preen. Note to dummy me: Take your own advice and wear a respirator when applying Preen. The fine particles fly all about and get up my nose. Not healthy! This afternoon I hope to get started on organizing our tax papers for our accountant so I can get them out of the way and done with. Never enough time. 

2-15-14    Applied alfalfa pellets and epsom salts to all of the roses. Bob repotted several roses. A couple of large minis needed to be moved up from 7-gallon pots to 12 gallon, such as Powerhouse and Daddy Frank. I'd like to move up The Lighthouse on Fortuniana, but we don't have any more large pots. Will need to make a trip to the store tomorrow. We will apply Kellogg Gromulch to the entire garden. We bought 10 large bags and got our $10 rebate coupon off the Kellogg website. We just have to attached the receipt and the UPC codes cut off the bags, then mail it in. What a cinch. The Rose Auction catalog is now finished and was emailed to all of our members last Thursday. That is a huge relief.

2-9-14    Gosh, has it been two weeks since I last posted? We have been incredibly busy doing all sorts of stuff. For one thing, we've been pruning roses every weekend in between other events. Hopefully today we will finish the last of the miniature roses. Then this afternoon we have a rose society meeting. Last weekend we went to the Pacific Rose Society Auction, and I bought two new roses. I really controlled myself since I have no space to add new roses. But I did get the miniflora Elfinglo (own root), and the floribunda Showbiz budded on Fortuniana rootstock. I'm sure I can find a space to squeeze them in somewhere. This morning I made a 1/2 gallon of fungicide to spray on a few roses that are leafing out early, especially the mildew mongers. By the end of the month I will dig out my 14-gallon battery-operated tank sprayer and begin the regimen.

1-26-14    We have now finished pruning all of the hybrid tea roses, all floribundas (except those in containers, and singles) most OGRs (except Rose de Rescht), all shrubs, polyanthas, climbers, and started on a few minifloras. Next week we prune all the minis and minifloras. There are about 150 of those so it's still going to be a very big chore

1-19-14    By the end of the day we had completed pruning a total of 100 very large rose bushes for the weekend. We did hybrid teas and floribundas in the front year, and some shrubs and old garden roses in the back yard. We are only 1/3 done, so next weekend will keep us busy as well. It will be good to rest our fingers for several days, as pruning can make your hands sore, even if you wear gloves.

1-18-14    Lots of fun stuff going on in the garden today. We began at 9:30 am after finishing coffee and started pruning the floribunda roses. We got about 40 of those done, including 8 tree roses. Later in the afternoon we also pruned about 30 very large hybrid tea roses in the front yard. We finished off the day by cutting off the tops of about a dozen hybrids that Bob budded on Fortuniana last October. In this warm winter weather (79 today) the new growth is pushing out fast.

1-13-14    We were very busy this weekend doing rose-related community service. We spent Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm at Green Thumb Nursery talking roses to their customers. We garnered a few new rose society members, and many of our existing members stopped by to greet us. Then on Sunday, we had our popular Rose Care Seminar, our annual event open to the public at the Senior Center in Newhall. It was well attended, with about 70 people. Not too bad considering there was a football game on TV at the same time. At the break, Jan Parsoneault showed a sidebar mini seminar on her computer complete with photos of before and after training of climbers. The refreshments were out of this world. What a spread!

1-2-14    We are resolved to keep to the plan this year, beginning with our delayed pruning schedule. Last year, we didn't hold back and pruned earlier than we planned, and we were penalized by not having many blooms by our District Convention rose show last May. So all we are doing now is topping the very tallest bushes, repotting, planting, and we did an advance dormant spray with Volck Oil because we found a group of minifloras that had scale insect. So we were forced to prune those 7 bushes. Bob did prune all of our 17 polyanthas (such as Chatillon Rose, Verdun, Wing Ding) because we want those to bloom earlier and they will not be targeted for the May National this year. This evening we attended the meeting of the Pacific Rose Society where Dona Martin gave a very enlightening PowerPoint presentation of "Growing Roses on Fortuniana Rootstock." It was a long way down to the Arboretum in Arcadia, but it was well worth the evening trip. A fine group of rosarians were in attendance, and we had a pleasant potluck dinner before Dona gave her presentation.

1-1-14    Happy New Year to all our friends and family. Our morning was spent watching the Pasadena Rose Parade on wide screen TV. Well, at least Bob was watching it. Kitty isn't so into it and can't sit still for 2 hours watching float after float after band after band. He loves it though. Meanwhile I was puttering around on the computer.

 Photos © Copyright by Kitty Belendez


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A spray of 'Glitter Girl', Kitty's new sport of 'Peppermint Twist'.