2016 Diary of Activities in 
the Rose Garden of
Kitty and Bob Belendez
Santa Clarita, California 

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, cheating, lying, 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 27, 2016    Baby it’s cold outside! Still too cold to do anything outside, but who wants to over the Christmas holiday? Not us! We spent precious time with family. Made two huge pots of tamales with the family crew. Baked some pies. Went to the movies and saw Moana. Granddaughter Puanani cooked Christmas brunch for the family at her place. Grandson Bryson (5 years old) asked if he could pick some roses from my garden, and I said yes if he could find any. He did find 3 blooms of Trumpeter in the backyard and that made him very happy.

December 22, 2016    It's been drizzling the past two days. We do need the rain for sure, and we have turned off our automatic sprinklers for the time being. Today, Bob is playing with his new toy (his early Christmas present) the Tiger Shark QC, which is a robotic pool cleaner. This toy is the real deal as it scrubs and cleans the bottom and sides of the pool extremely well. Wish we had gotten it before now. It even sucks up the worms that have run out of the planters due to rain and have dove into the pool to escape. It also picks up rose debri like leaves and petals, as well as dirt that has blown in. Meanwhile I have an appointment next week with the Geek Squad at Best Buy to give me a one-on-one mini seminar on the basics of my new Sony camera.

December 18, 2016    Brrr! It's getting cold here. It was down to 31 last night, so we had to cover some pipes with old heavy carpeting. We also ran the pool pump on slow for 5 hours last night to help avoid freezing of pipes. We have the automatic sprinklers turned completely off for a few weeks, and will only water when we feel it is necessary. Potted roses will need to be watered a couple times a week, especially if it gets warm or windy. I got an early Christmas present. Bob and I went to Best Buy and got my new Sony HX400V camera that I've been drooling over all year. My old Sony was only 7 megapixels, while the new Sony is 20 megapixels. The video in this new camera is HD 1080, much improved over my old camera, so I will need to make some new videos. I am now beginning to learn how to use it. Some things are the same and others are different. I'm hoping to learn all the new bells & whistles by April when the roses begin blooming again. So I will have several months to play with it and learn all about it.

December 14, 2016    Bob dug up 7 rose bushes to make space for some new ones. The older ones (10+ years) were simply thrown away in the green waste barrel. Several that were 3 years or less, were put in 5-gallon pots for give-away. Most were healthy, but they either did not suit my fancy, or I got bored of them, I simply need space to try out some new varieties. A Lavaglut needs to be moved because the other roses surrounding it is choking it out and depriving it of sunlight. Blue for You is becoming a moose ... it is supposed to be a floribunda, but grafted on Fortuniana it is becoming HUGE, almost a climber. Well, at least a large shrub and it’s only 3 years old. Meanwhile the cold weather is causing much of the rose foliage to turn yellow and fall off. Piles and piles of leaves, much of which blows into the swimming pool when it gets breezy.

December 10, 2016    We had not intended to begin pruning our roses until January 20, but we got some new Christmas lights for the front of our house so we had to trim the height of our hybrid tea rose bushes so that the lights could be visible. Many of our mature hybrid tea bushes average 7 to 8 feet tall. We trimmed about 2 feet off the height, so there is still plenty remaining to be pruned at the end of January. Meanwhile, we have the sprinkler timers turned to the off position and only turn them on a couple times a week. We also continue to water the potted roses every several days unless it rains. As the weather continues with its downward spiral, it becomes too cold to go into the spa on a daily basis. But we do try to brave it a couple times a week. Gotta love our big heavy spa robes!

December 1, 2016    It's not yet officially winter, but it sure feels like it. Temps were down in the low 40's last night and we had to crank up the heater and the fireplace. We've had a lot of wind lately so it's too cold and difficult to do too much in the garden. But we must not forget to occasionally water the roses, because even if it's cold, the wind will dry out the roses, especially those growing in smaller containers. The wind quieted a bit this morning so Bob is trying to hang some holiday lights at the front of our house while he can. While he was up in the rafters, he also brought down various holiday lights, wrapping paper, and our perennial Christmas tree. This morning I ordered masa from Carillo's for making our Christmas tamales at the end of the month. Yesterday, I had a lovely lunch and orientation with our new incoming Rose Society president, Teresa Mathers and her husband Jerry Mathers. She is ready to be our new leader. It is a relief to be able to hand off the leadership responsibility at month end.

November 16, 2016    I think we have finally recuperated from our November 5 Rose Show. It’s nice to finally be able to simply kick back and enjoy our roses without doing much work. Occasional watering, some light deadheading (but only pulling off the dried petals) because we don’t want to encourage mild-winter chilli thrips as they love new foliage. There is no feeding or spraying to be done at this time of year. I don’t care if they get a tiny bit of mildew during this time. The days are shorter and milder now. January 20 we will begin winter pruning. Gearing up for the holidays as Bob and I will be cooking. We already cooked our pumpkin and put it in the freezer. We’re looking forward to home-made pumpkin and apple pies that we only cook for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

November 10, 2016    I'm wanting to know where the past 10 days went. Well, it was mostly concentrated on our rose show. Not only finalizing preparations such as the caterer, making signage, and getting the awards together, but also cutting our roses and putting them into the fridge beginning four days before the show. After the show, I took me 5 days to type up the winners list, format the photos in Photoshop, and post them on our Winner's Page and Facebook. Meanwhile, Bob had to organize all the properties (30 large tubs) after the show and haul the trailer to the storage facility. Whew! We need a good rest now. There will be no more feeding and spraying until after the first of the year. We will need to keep an eye on the watering as roses do not like to be dry. I am beginning to make my "Rose In & Out" list, wondering who will get space and who will get dug up and sent outta here.  

October 30, 2016   We love rain but not the week before our rose show. Last week when I sprayed for mildew, it drizzled halfway through spraying. Today it is drizzling even harder. This might turn the blooms into mushy botrytis so we might see some red spots on the blooms. I am beginning to see splashes of mildew on the more disease prone rose varieties and those that are in shadier spots. It is supposed to rain again tomorrow. Ugh! We sure need rain, but NOT NOW!!! I will be glad when our rose show is over. Not sure if we will have a rose show again next year, as it is becoming too much work. Maybe I'm just burnt out right now and dreary from my love-hate relationship with the depressing rain.

October 22, 2016    Time is flying now. It’s only two weeks until our big rose show. The roses are looking delicious despite some breezes this week. The blooms have intense color, and the foliage is dark green and are clean from mildew or other diseases. Only a handful of roses that are growing in deep shade near the swimming pool have a tiny bit of mildew because I did not spray fungicide last week. I was told that Compass will protect for 14-21 days. Not so! In peak mildew season I need to spray 7-10 days. Therefore I will spray again tomorrow, which means getting up to the alarm at 6:30 am. Fortunately, we gain one minute of daylight in the early morning for the next few weeks until the time changes on November 6. We will liquid feed the roses one more time, this coming Wednesday, and then that’s it for this fall season.

October 18, 2016   We fed the roses again today, a day earlier than planned because of hot wind expected tomorrow. Besides we had too much else to do today. Disbudding and light weeding continues on a daily basis. Once again our mist box is giving us fits. Bob continues to fiddle with it. We have not had much luck taking cuttings this year, actually downright awful I have come to the conclusion that the problem is the potting soil we are using contains too much fertilizer and other ingredients. We need to look for another product that contains peat moss but no fertilizer. And we might have to add a little bit of sand. The old SuperSoil was the perfect propagation soil I really do miss that. Perhaps we will need to make our own blend.

October 15, 2016   The task of the day is finishing the November issue of “Rose Ecstasy.” I need to get it out of the way so that I can fully concentrate on our Rose Show, which is only 3 weeks away. Bob applied 10 large bags of Gromulch a week ago, so the roses are feeling happy and pushing out new growth. This is the time that we disbud the side growth on a daily basis. The roses are growing very fast now, but I wonder if they will actually be in fully bloom in time for show day. The weather is having its ups and downs. Today is cool, tomorrow might rain, and next week is predicted to be 95. All we can do is to keep feeding, watering, and spraying when necessary. I will most likely not spray tomorrow morning, since I have sprayed four consecutive weeks. It’s a real pain to set the alarm for 6:00 am on Sunday mornings and get up before the sun rises. I’m thinking I will skip a week, then spray next weekend for the final spray. We will continue liquid feeding once a week on Wednesdays.

October 13, 2016    Today we liquid fed the roses once again. Same concoction as last week. This is the 3rd week in a row, and wow the roses are responding mightily. They love to be fed, especially this time of year even though the weather is beginning to cool down to a more pleasurable fall level. It’s less than 4 weeks to our much-awaited rose show so hopefully the blooms will cooperate and arrive on time. The chilli thrips seem to be under control, but we do detect a tiny bit of damage that occurred when the new foliage began to emerge. We have also sprayed four weeks in a row, which is unusual since in the past I only sprayed once every two weeks. But with the chilli thrips, the roses need to be sprayed weekly during the first four weeks when the foliage is young and delicate. I can now skip a week of spraying and feeding. Beginning October 30 I will spray and feed no more the rest of the year.

October 8, 2016    We've been busy every week with feeding and spraying our roses in anticipation of the spectacular fall rose display. We liquid feed the roses on Wednesday, and spray them on Sunday. Of course daily watering is a must when it's still hot, but usually we skip watering on Wednesday and Sunday. Watering of containerized roses continues almost every day. Feeding consists of 8-10-8 water soluble, chelated iron, fish emulsion, liquid kelp, and SuperThrive. It's amazing how good the foliage is beginning to look. We detected a touch of chilli thrips when the new foliage first began emerging, but now it seems under control. We alternate weekly with spinosad and imidacloprid for insects, plus a fungicide. This week I'm contemplating spraying acephate as I have detected some scale. We've had some wind this week, but only some slight foliage damage, not enough to cry about. It was hot today, 93 degrees. The temps have been a daily yo-yo. Never forget to water as it only takes one day without water to desiccate a rose.

September 21, 2016    Yesterday we weeded our entire front and back gardens. We didn’t have a lot of weeds but enough that needed to be gotten under control with our hula hoes. Bob filled a large bucket, and I filled a half bucket. Gotta love those hula hoes! Today we applied chicken manure (the bagged kind) on all of our roses. We buy the “Gardeners” brand, but if you look at the small print on the back of the bag, we discover that it is manufactured by Kelloggs. They have it at Lowe’s. Just a large handful at the base of the large bushes, and a scant handful on the smaller minis in containers. We don’t use it as a mulch, but rather as a soil additive and fertilizer that attracts earthworms. While Bob was doing that, I was applying Preen weed pre-emergent throughout our garden and in all of our container roses. Then we ended by watering it in well so these products can do their magic. Always wear gloves when working in the garden. I prefer to use 7-ml nitrile gloves to apply the Preen, and Bob wore his leather gloves to apply the chicken manure.

September 18, 2016    Tick tock! Where has the year gone? The year is 75% over and yet we still have our fall bloom cycle to look forward to. We have our upcoming October and November meetings at the Senior Center with great speakers for both. We are lucky to have Sue Diller and Barbara Schneider as our October speakers. It's been 5 years since they last spoke for us so we are very excited to have them back again. They will be speaking on "Making Arrangements for Gifts, Holidays, and our Rose Show." We also have our Rose Show on November 5th at Hart Park in Newhall. This is our biggest event of the year, so we hope you all will participate by bringing your roses to the show. It's free to enter and prizes are all cash!

September 17, 2016    Now that all of our rose trimming has been completed several days ago, I decided to spray the roses with Conserve for the first time since last May. After pruning, it was obvious that there is some indication of chilli thrips damage on the new growth on the rose bushes. I wanted to nip it in the bud so-to-speak. So I set my alarm clock for 6:15 am in order to get up at the crack of dawn. I had hoped that all the neighbors were still sleeping on this early Saturday morning, but no ... they are out in full force walking dogs, taking kids to soccer games, and even my neighber who rarely works in his garden is pulling weeds and reseeding his lawn that he let die over the summer due to lack of water. Well, I had to get this done so I just kept on going and tried to appear inconspicuous. Hah!

September 15, 2016    As of today we are nearly finished with our fall rose trimming. We only have about 35 potted miniatures remaining to complete. I am beginning to see just a tiny bit of chilli thrips damage on the youngest foliage. We plan to spray spinosad on all of the roses in a day or two as soon as everything is finished being trimmed. In the meantime, our battery-powered Spray Boss is plugged in and charging up. Our mist box has been behaving so I have put some more cuttings in the box to take root. I am so glad that the weather has finally begun to cool off, although this weekend we expect to have at least one day in the 100 degree range. We ended up losing 50% of our Fortuniana rootstock that we got in July because it was just too hot for them to take root. No matter, we have ordered another batch from UC Davis and it looks very happy in the mist box now. It will take at least six weeks for them to root, depending on the weather.

September 8, 2016    We began our fall trimming 5 days ago and have completed around 100 very large bushes, mainly floribundas and hybrid tea roses. We have also trimmed some old garden roses and climbers that are growing on the northeast side of the house and a couple of very big shrub roses. Bob had to trim Radio Times with his Ryobi battery-powered Hedge Sweep because this shrub was so amazingly tall at 10 feet. He trimmed it back to a more manageable 6 feet tall. We are intentionally reserving single-petalled roses, potted roses, and miniatures for the very end because they tend to bloom sooner than the large floribundas and hybrid teas that are planted in the ground. We filled up four 96-gallon green waste barrels, tightly compacted. Our waste hauler emptied them yesterday so now we can continue trimming. Thankfully, our neighbor loaned us their waste barrel too. We saw just a little evidence of chilli thrips, but not enough to make us panic. As soon as we are finished trimming all of the roses, hopefully within another 5 days, then we will begin our regimen of alternating weekly sprayings of imidacloprid and spinosad. By then it will be time to also spray a fungicide as fall weather should be much cooler and damper, which encourages mildew in our garden.

August 29, 2016    We will begin trimming our roses this coming Labor Day. We are chomping at the bit to get started, but it's still 104 degrees today and will be in the 100's for the next few days. Roses balk at being trimmed in extremely hot weather, and besides we're still on target to come into bloom in time for our November 5th rose show. And so we wait for a few days until the temps drop a little. In the meantime, we have been watering, doing a little weeding, getting green waste barrels ready, and sharpening our tools. This has been such a terribly hot summer, that the Fortuniana we got from UC Davis in July has not done well. So far we have lost 33% due to heat and I expect we will lose more. I suppose the mist box is like a pressure cooker when the temps are radically over 100 degrees for so many days. Lesson learned … July is not a good time to order cut rootstock sticks unless there is more air circulation in the box than what we allowed.

August 16, 2016   It's been too hot to do much of anything in the garden except daily watering, even though last week temps were in the 90's, which almost seems like a cool wave. This week it's back up into the low 100's so we're pretty much just hanging out inside the house, at the computer working on the rose show schedule and the September issue of "Rose Ecstasy" that will be 25 pages, and swimming in the pool and spa in the evening. We take a one mile walk every morning to get us going, but no later than 10 am to avoid getting overheated. We wanted to go to the beach last week but the Ventura Fair made it difficult for parking in some areas. Now that schools are going back into session, we will again get back out to the beach and go see a few movies. These are both great ways to cool off. Meanwhile, we are watering our roses every day. Despite the heat our roses are awesome and growing oh so tall, some up to 7 and 8 feet. On Facebook, I mentioned that the garden looks like a "jungle out there" and posted some photos. We did a little weeding one day, although our garden looks pretty clean. Need to check the mist box several times a day in this heat, at least until the cuttings have successfully taken root. Oh, and Bob caught that nasty male rat that was stealing our cherry tomatoes. We are beginning to pick more tomatoes now, and plan to use some in salads, and freeze some for cooking sauces.

August 7, 2016    It’s hard to believe that summer is half over. It’s been a hot one but the roses are surviving. We’ve kept ourselves cool by going to the movies, venturing out to the beaches, and of course watering the roses daily. I adjusted the sprinkler a couple minutes downward today because Bob says they are getting too much water. The mist box continues to operate well, but we do need to check it every day, and adjust the sensor sometimes. I fed the roses this past week with a blend of organic materials like fish and kelp, and slow-release Osmocote. It took 58#s to cover everything. I applied 1/2 cup for big bushes, and 1/4 cup for smaller bushes. We still have another month before we do our fall trimming, so they need to do all the growing they can now. Luckily, I have not seen any spider mites nor chilli thrips. Oh, and this week I found a white sport of the polyantha Grumpy. I put cuttings into the mistbox and will be crossing fingers to hope they root.

July 25, 2016    Last Friday a fire broke out in Canyon Country, which is about 8 miles from us. The first day it began with about 1,000 acres. On the 4th day the fire has now consumed 33,000 acres. It's been awfully smokey around here, and our swimming pool and rose bushes are covered in ash. We hope it will be kept under control soon.The rootstock arrived safely from UC Davis last Wednesday and so far the mist box has been operating nicely. So far, so good. Now if I can only keep the baby frogs off the paddle sensor, we will be good. The weather has been very hot, over 100 some days so it's difficult to go outside and do any work of consequence. I would love to do some weeding, but I just cannot tolerate the heat. Last week we did two movie days and two beach days, and we may repeat that again this week. Feeling kind of lazy though, but I did finally begin my new PowerPoint presentation for Pacific Rose Society, titled "How We Grow Our Prize-Winning Roses." At least computer work keeps me cool and out of the sun for awhile. And so meanwhile, we are watering the roses every day.

July 11, 2016    The past week we enjoyed weather in the 80's and 90's. It almost felt like a cool wave compared to 114 degrees of a few weeks ago. We are enjoying it while we can since weather reports say triple digits beginning in a few days and to extend out at least a week. Meanwhile, the mist box is up and running, and performing much better than last summer. People have given me cuttings of roses so they needed the mist box. I also received a gift box of test roses from Jim Sproul so I'm excited to get them rooted. He also sent some "plugs" which are tiny rooted bareroot roses that need to get potted. So the plugs are potted and also in the mist box for a few days until they get going. All are unnamed and numbered but most are minis and minifloras, and some of those are hulthemias. The order of the day is water, water, water, and I'm thankful that water restrictions have been eased, but we still must not waste. I placed a small order for Fortuniana rootstock from UC Davis, so those will arrive in a couple weeks but it will take many months for them to root before we can take them out of the mist box and actually bud onto the sticks. It's a slow process, but I needed to order them now because I have hardly any sticks remaining from last year. So we won't be budding much until next year. The chilli thrips seem to be laying low for now as there isn't much evidence they are chewing on my roses. I need to be vigilant as I'm sure they will be back in full force when I lightly trim the roses at the end of August.

July 4, 2016    Yay! It's Independence Day Holiday! BBQ and swimming with family are on tap for the day. It's been much cooler the past several days so we took the opportunity to liquid feed the roses a couple days ago. Nothing strong, mostly organics like fish and kelp. It's spider mite season so we try to wash down the bushes from top to bottom several days a week. We are not spraying chemicals now, as we usually don't spray over the summer. We also split off about 50 rooted cuttings that we had done in January, so now that they are well-rooted, it's time for each one to be placed in their own little 3-inch pot. We only lost about 10% that were not successful when we prepared them in January. Not too bad since we just left them out in the elements and did not even put them in our mist box. This is easy to do in January, but as the weather begins to warm up, the new little cuttings need to placed in the mist box. The rose bushes are looking pretty healthy even though the blooms have been fried from the heat. I see no evidence of chilli thrips at this time. We hardly deadhead at all now because keeping the foliage on the bush helps to shade the canes and keep them healthy. Also, not deadheading avoids attracting more chilli thrips because they love new growth. 

June 22, 2016    We've been having a nasty heat wave this past week. The worst 3 days so far were Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, which were all triple digits. Monday was a horrid 114F degrees here. The roses are not happy. I'm not happy either as I hate heat and hibernate inside the house under the AC when it gets that hot. We are watering our roses every day now, and still they are not happy. Except 'Radio Times' sailed through the heat wave without any blooms wilting. There were a few others that were spared, but not many. Amazing! I'm glad that we got some weeding and Preening done last week before the heat wave hit. I would like to feed the roses but it's just been too hot to get out there. Bob set up the mist box last week as a friend is sending some cuttings to me. It seems to be working okay since he draped a large sheet of plastic at the bottom to keep the air out. Air blowing up her skirts whacks out the water sensor paddle. He also did a little bit of budding on roses that were not successful last time around. It's summer and hot so we're taking it easy. Floated around in the pool last night after dinner. It was nice to have family over for BBQ and swimming last Sunday. Taking the time to get started on September Rose Ecstasy and create my new PowerPoint for Pacific Rose Society called "How We Grow Our Prize-Winning Roses." Careful, I don't want to give away any secrets. LOL! My life is an open book.

June 12, 2016    We have been very busy the past ten days. First, we took a trip to Northern California to visit family for a couple of days in Grass Valley. Granddaughter Puanani watered our roses every day while we were gone. We finally got to meet our 5th grandson who was born a few days before Christmas. He is a sweet, good-natured baby. It was a fun two days.Then we swung by Baldo's Acres in Orangevale (east of Sacramento) and got to see his garden again since the last time about four years ago when his garden was a blank slate. He now has thousands of roses along with fruit trees, berries, and other edibles. After a nice 2-hour visit, we headed to Fiddletown to spend two days with Steve & Susie Jones. I spoke on Floribundas at the Mother Lode Rose Society, and they were a very friendly group of rosarians. That evening Steve & Susie hosted a BBQ dinner at their 5-acre vineyard home with 18 of the rose society members. After 2 days there, we headed home and the next day cut roses for the Orange County Rose Society show in Newport Beach. We did quite well, considering this is not usually our peak bloom cycle. We prepped our rose entries in a heavy drizzle four hours but fortunately we brought our pop-up tarp which kept us dry. Had a nice breakfast with friends at the new Ruby's Diner nearby. We did win 11 trophies (actually cash prizes) so it was a wonderful week. My favorite winning entry was a spray of Playgirl that won Floribunda Queen. We also won Dowager (John Hopper), Victorian (Rose de Rescht), Classic Shrub Spray (Walferdange), Hybrid Tea Court (Mr Caleb), Mini Court (The Lighthouse), Large Picture Frame (Ring of Fire), Decorative Grandiflora (Twilight Zone), Wilke Challenge (Trumpeter, Cinco de Mayo, Lavaglut), 6 Hybrid Tea Blooms (Gemini), and Floribunda Single-Petalled Spray (Playgirl). Then today was SCVRS meeting day, and our wonderful speaker was Burling Leong who gave a presentation on the Hearst Castle Roses and Renovation, followed by a demonstration on how to do chip budding of roses. It was standing room only.

June 2, 2016    It was 105 degrees in our garden today. It's forecasted to be 99 degrees for the next two days, and then down to the mid 90's for another week. This extremely hot weather is not conducive to having pretty roses. Therefore I do not believe there will be a rose show in our forecast next week. The roses will need water, and lots of it. Since I fertilized and sprayed the roses earlier this week, that might have been a waste of time considering the destruction the heat will do to them. The potted roses will have the toughest time getting through this heat as they will need to be watered every day. Spider mites and chilli thrips love the heat so they will be having an orgy on my roses.

May 23, 2016    I have not been ignoring my garden. There is still work to do but not so much now. We've been doing some repotting, weeding, feeding, and propagating. The chilli thrips have hit hard this 2nd bloom cycle. I had noticed that the blooms that arrived early April, were deadheaded, then began growing several weeks ago were spared the chilli thrips arrival. As Baldo Villegas confirmed, when he visited my garden last Saturday, the chilli thrips like the new 1/4-inch emerging growth. So roses that bloomed on target the 3rd and 4th weeks in April are the roses that are being hit the hardest, especially since I did not spray anything for several weeks after I had deadheaded everything and the new growth was emerging. Live and learn. So now I am back on track, spraying every week for the next couple of weeks. Rotating Conserve with Merit. Maybe we will bring roses to Orange County, but I'm not going to stress over it. What will be, will be. Meantime, a couple days ago I applied Bayer Advanced 2 in 1 dry granules around every rose bush whether potted or in the ground, which contains fertilizer and systemic imidacloprid (same as Merit). This should get us through the summer as hot weather is peak chilli thrips season, they LOVE heat!. However, knowing that Merit is not the best control for chilli thrips, I plan to spray Conserve + Avid one more time this week. For products on the local nursery shelves, look for the ingredient "SPINOSAD," which is the main ingredient (although not as concentrated)  in the brand name Conserve. Then the roses will be on their own until Labor Day when we trim the roses lightly for the fall rose shows. I'll keep an eye on the situation, but I really do NOT want to spray the roses when our temperatures here reach 90 to 110 degrees over the summer.

May 16, 2016    I usually stop liquid feeding the roses by May 1st and begin the dry organics, but this year I decided to continued liquid feeding for another couple weeks in order to have some blooms for the Orange County Rose Show that is scheduled for June 11. This may turn out to be a futile effort because much of the new growth that's already pushing forth is severely damaged by chilli thrips even though I sprayed them with Conserve on May 10. I will be spraying Merit this week, and might apply a double whammy of Bayer Advanced granules to the soil. I'm kicking myself for not applying at least one more spray application a few days following the Pacific Rose Show, but I was just too darned exhausted at that time. So my roses are paying for it now. It's amazing how these minuscule creatures can sneak into the garden without us knowing it, and by then it's too late as the damage is done. We fed liquids to the roses a few days ago, so they are enjoying a gourmet application of Grow More fish emulsion, Magnum Grow, epsom salts, liquid kelp, and some chelated iron. With my very sandy soil, it doesn't take long for my rose foliage to get chlorotic. I plan to feed them again at the end of the week.

May 14, 2016    A group of about 18 Pacific Rose Society members took a day trip to the newly renovated Huntington Gardens in San Marino today. We had a personalized tour by Rose Curator Tom Carruth. I was totally impressed with what they have done to upgrade everything. Not just roses, but bulbs, succulents, palms, and many plants I am not familiar with. The Huntington had some very large endowments and sponsorships that allowed them to renovate the entire property. We enjoyed lunch in their new cafe. This is a very worthwhile garden to visit, so I highly recommend it.

May 10, 2016    Well, boys and girls, those nasty microscopic chilli thrips have officially arrived in Santa Clarita, California again this year. Specifically in the sleepy little town of Saugus, up Bouquet Canyon Road, and in the Belendez Garden. We first noticed chilli thrips Fall of 2015, and this 2016 spring my roses were spared them for the first bloom cycle, although I did spray the roses four times from early March to mid-April. But now they have arrived with a vengeance as the new foliage is pushing forward in anticipation of the second bloom cycle around the middle of June. I have not sprayed the roses in four weeks, and I usually do not spray after May 1, but this year I had to get out the arsenal and attack them now in order to get them under control. So my weapon of choice was Conserve (active ingredient is spinosad), plus I also sprayed for mildew so I included Compass fungicide in the mixture. Just for good measure I also included some Avid to knock down any lurking spider mites, and regular thrips that prefer just the bloom. With the chilli thrips they don't stop at just the blooms like regular thrips. No, chilli thrips attack the stem and foliage as well as the bloom. You usually cannot see chilli thrips with the naked eye, or certainly not with a quick glance, but you can easily see the chilli thrips damage ... crinkled, twisted, and stunted foliage and blooms. I plan to spray Merit (active ingredient is imidacloprid) insecticide in two weeks as a double whammy. Then over the summer I will apply Bayer Advanced (imidacloprid) dry granules to the soil. From there on out the roses will have to fend for themselves until the early fall trimming. Then I will spray again at the end of September when the foliage is pushing forth.

May 8, 2016    It's hard to believe but we had heavy rain again this week. The roses are loving it, and Bob is loving it too because it filled up our swimming pool so no need to refill. Yesterday's Open Garden was very lovely. A busload of San Diego Rose Society members stopped at our place after they spent some time in Fillmore at Otto & Sons. It drizzled lightly in the morning but it turned out to be a nice, but cool day. We did not have many rose blooms remaining on our bushes, but hundreds of petunias are blooming all over our front and back yard. I made their visit educational by handing out my list of roses, and discussing how we grow our roses, and showed the roses Bob recently budded. I also showed our Brother label machine for making rose labels for the garden. The garden looks pretty clean. Just a touch of mildew here and there. And I did see the first indication of chilli thrips damage. Weather permitting, I hope to get up early tomorrow and spray the roses since they have not been sprayed in nearly a month.

May 3, 2016    Here we are in May already. We are still exhausted from the marathon PSWD Convention last week. Then on May 1 we hosted an Open Garden at our place. It was a nice turnout, and we got some new members too. The weather was perfect. I only wish that we had more blooms to offer, but people seemed to enjoy it anyway. Our garden was clean, green, and without a pest in sight. The last time we fertilized or sprayed our garden was 3 weeks ago and still it looks pretty good. I guess we couldn't ask for more. Still, it was a long day and so we are still recuperating. Trying to sleep in late (if 8:00 am is considered late). This coming weekend we have a busload of rosarians coming from San Diego to visit our garden. Maybe I should go to Dollar Tree and buy a bunch of plastic roses to strap onto my bloomless rose bushes. LOL!

April 29, 2016    This week is spent on rest and relaxation, recuperating from last weekend’s district convention & rose show. Bob did some budding of a few roses, and repotted a few. We watered all the pots real well. We will need to do some deadheading of spent blooms so that the roses will rebloom next month. Everything looks pretty good in the garden, but we will need to keep a close eye for any unusual circumstances.

April 23, 2016     The past seven days we have been concentrating all of our efforts on getting ready for the district rose show and convention being held in Arcadia. We cut rose stems almost every day of the week and put them in our floral fridge. We ended up with 14 floral buckets full of rose stems. They were mostly floribundas, but four of the buckets held hybrid tea stems. My quick calculation says we had about 200 rose stems, about 60 were hybrid tea roses. We had a small handful of shrubs, polyanthas and miniatures, but our focus was on the challenge classes, so hybrid teas and floribundas took most of our efforts. We ended up winning 10 of the 12 challenge classes we entered, plus the City of Portland National Challenge Trophy. Not too shabby for several hundred hours of work over the past several months. :-)

April 15, 2016    What's next? Well today it's big winds thrashing the rose bushes pretty darned hard. I am not going to worry about it, because it is out of my control, and what will be, will be. We checked the tree roses to make sure they are not tilting. They seem to be okay. Winds can dessicate roses, so we will need to at least add some water to some of the containerized bushes. It's amazing how fast they can dry out in constant winds, even lighter breezes can do this.

April 13, 2016    Last Monday's rain, followed by the warm weather this week have caused many of our rose blooms to get measles. It's actually called "botrytis" disease. The light or white blooms get red dots on the blooms when eventually cause the blooms to turn brown and rot. So today we spent some time removing some of those blooms because we do not want to have botrytis blight spread throughout our garden. We filled up a 55-gallon green waste barrel. I sprayed Compass fungicide today, but it's best to remove the disease blooms to prevent spreading.

April 11, 2016    Late this afternoon we had a massive downpour. The sky was so very dark that it caused our satellite dish to lose reception. We really do need this rain, but it's too bad that our city is unable to catch all that water into some kind of holding tank. Behind our house is a normally dry riverbed, but when it rains, the water just flows out to the ocean. Supposedly, some of the water filters down into the underground aquifers that help our water purveyors provide us with water. I sure hope so.

April 10, 2016    Today is Rose Society Meeting Day. We headed off this morning for an early morning breakfast at our favorite cafe. When we returned, I took the opportunity to deadhead off a few spent rose blooms, disbud, and take some cuttings. Meanwhile, Bob budded a very fragrant rose that a friend had given us. We would like to do some more budding today, but being so busy it will have to wait until tomorrow. This cool weather is perfect weather for taking rose cuttings and trying to root them. I made a lovely bouquet of very fragrant shrub roses and antique roses to put on the raffle table at the meeting today. Francis Dubreuil, Yolande d'Aragon, The Squire, The Dark Lady, Munstead Wood, and William Shakespeare 2000. I hope I win it. LOL!

April 9, 2016    It rained most of the day. Decided not to go to the rose show as we don't want to risk getting a cold. Yes, we have a tarp to work our roses at the show, but our health is more important than 5 minutes of glory. And driving in the dark on slick freeways are not my cup of tea. Could not spray either. So I took the opportunity to concentrate on writing a very long article on the Henrickson Garden that we visited earlier in the week. It's nearly 3,000 words with many photos that I shot in two sessions. This article will be featured in the May issue of Rose Ecstasy.

April 7, 2016    I had intended to spray the roses early this morning but it was raining when I woke up at 6:30 am. Back to bed for a couple more hours. Then it drizzled all day. We also wanted to attend the Pacific Rose Society meeting, but being 45 miles away in heavy traffic, the wet roads were a deal breaker. The roses are loving this rain, but so is the mildew that's creeping in.

April 6, 2014    Today was a busy day doing errands and doctor appointments. Just as well because it turned out to be a very hot 94 degrees today. This is so weird and erratic. Raining one day, blistering 94 the next. The roses demanded that we water the pots as they were hot and thirsty. Had to do it after dark, but we gotta do what we gotta do to keep our roses happy and healthy. As I always say, roses are NOT drought tolerant.

April 5, 2016    We took the opportunity of a dry day to feed the roses with the sump pump in the 55-gallon barrel. It went quickly as it only took two hours from start to finish, including clean-up. It's been 10 days since we last fed the roses so they must be hungry. They are looking healthy and happy though. Now that I'm retired, I can walk my garden at my leisure and enjoy smelling the fragrance. When I was still working, I could only do that on weekends, but I was always busy doing other chores, like grocery shopping and laundry. It's now a treat to walk my garden and enjoy the roses any time I want.

April 3, 2016    We went to visit the Garden of our member Steve Henrickson in Castaic. Yesterday he had emailed a plea for help as he has many questions. It turned out to be a much bigger garden than I had envisioned, nearly an acre and hundreds of beautiful roses in full bloom. What a special treat! We had worried that it might rain before we got there, but it turned out to be a beautiful day. It was a pleasant way to spend the morning.

March 31, 2016    We had a massive downpour two days ago. We've also had some wind this week. The rain made the roses very happy as the soil is flushed out and the rose growth appears to be spectacular. Today I got up at 6:30 am and sprayed for mildew and insects. Did see some mildew here and there, mostly likely caused because the last two times I sprayed it was either wet in the morning before I sprayed, or it rained that afternoon. The mildewed roses are susceptible and also they have a bit more shade than the others. Francis Dubreuil always has a problem with mildew. It was very cold this morning, only 40 degrees, but the sun was up so I did this necessary job. The roses appear to be on target, although some of the potted roses are blooming too early. George Burns and Outragious floribundas are in full bloom, probably because they are in containers on the cement pool deck that gets full sun all day long. Some of the miniatures are also coming into bloom.

March 26, 2016    Great weather today although breezy. We took a lovely 30-minute walk around the neighborhood this morning. Meanwhile we are boiling eggs and potatoes for making potato salad for our family swimming and BBQ tomorrow at our house. So far, it looks like the roses are on target. Just a few blooms popping open here and there, which is what we had hoped for. I'm making bouquets for daughter Tina and granddaughter Puanani. One will get a vase of 'Pinnacle' and the other will get a vase of various minis and minifloras, such as the new yellow 'Gift of Love' surrounded by Dancing Flame and other miniatures. A few other roses beginning to bloom are mostly antique roses such as Francis Dubreuil, Mrs RG Sharman-Crawford, and Anna de Diesbach--all fragrant!

March 18, 2016   We are disbudding the rose blooms every day now as the roses are growing very fast. It's amazing how fast those little side buds push out. We can disbud in the morning, then we find more in the late afternoon. This morning we discovered the arrival of chilli thrips in our garden, even though I sprayed Merit (imidacloprid) two weeks ago, and Conserve (spinosad) a week ago. I plan to spray Merit again tomorrow morning. We also notice a touch of mildew in several shady areas, and yes even though we sprayed Compass twice during the past two weeks. However, it rained twice after I sprayed, so that explains it. So, Banner Maxx will be added to Merit tomorrow. We are also weeding almost every day. Just little seedlings that we get with my mini hula hoe before they get out of control. Ticks me off when I see the neighbors' dandelion seeds floating through the air into our yard. Even though I applied Preen weed pre-emergent a month ago, we need to stay on top of it.

March  16, 2016    We are seriously into the weekly feeding and spraying regimen. The effort we put in now will pay off for the mid-April through mid-May spring bloom. This week the weather is warmer so we need to water a little more often. Especially since we reseeded our lawn, which we have not done in years. We also fertilized the lawn, which we also do not usually do, as the roses get our most attention. But in anticipation of our May 1 Garden Tour, we are paying attention to other features in our garden, not just the roses. Bob repainted the birdbath, and fixed a brick pathway. We've done some repotting this week of the Fortuniana rootstock because they were in tiny 3-inch pots and were very rootbound so had to be moved up to one-gallon pots, where they were stay the rest of the year.

March 12, 2016    We had a really great, much-needed rainfall yesterday. Everything was watered very well and there was even water flowing down the river bed behind our yard. Of course, within just a few hours it was all gone. The rose bushes were still very wet this morning at 6:30 am. It was also very frosty outside as well, but it was time to spray the roses again. I already sprayed them on March 4 but it rained the very next day. The spray dried before it rained so since the products I use are systemic, the protection was already in the plant before it rained. Today I sprayed Compass again for mildew, and Conserve for insects. The foliage is leafing out nicely and we already see some green buds forming. They will be in bloom before long. Looks like we need to disbud the side growth already so we hope to find some time tomorrow to make the rounds. Oh, it's daylight savings time, so we must remember to set the clocks forward tonight.

March 10, 2016    And so begins our feeding regimen. We dug out the 55-gallon barrel from the garage and filled it up four times to feed all of our roses. I gave them all kinds of goodies like fish emulsion, liquid kelp, iron, and Magnum Rose. This will help to keep the foliage nice and green and also produce loads of colorful blooms. As we were fertilizing, we notice some dandelion blooms in the lawn so Bob made quick work of them. We will need to keep an eye on the dandelions as we don't want them to take over our lawn that is greening up nicely.

March 8, 2016    We had a couple rain days. In between that we got a new waterfall pump installed in our backyard. The old one was 25 years old, so it was about time. Now our swimming pool, spa, and waterfall are completely refurbished since we also got a new heater, main pump, filter, and replastering done last year. Bob installed a new sprinkler extension in the parkway that wasn't quite reaching every rose. He painted our little iron bird bath with a fresh coat of black gloss. Looks very nice.

March 4, 2016    I didn't want to spray the roses yet, but I'm already seeing some mildew in several shady spots. I also want to make sure the chilli thrips are kept under control since it has been so very and sunny here the past week. So I got up early this morning at 6:30 am and sprayed my roses with my battery-powered Spray Boss machine. I used Compass for mildew, and Merit for aphids and chilli thrips. Indicate-5 spreader sticker is always added to solution to help the spray material work better.

February 29, 2016    Leap year! This day will not come around again for another four years. Yesterday and today we planted a bunch of petunias around the front yard. Twelve 6-packs to be exact. I selected the colors Ultra Violet (hot pink actually), Ultra Sky Blue, and Purple Star (purple and white). I need to get some more to finish off the front yard. I might plant some in the backyard too, but only a few. We only plant petunias once every few years when we have a garden tour like we are this year in May. They make bright, splashy companion plants with roses. Bob doesn't like petunias because he claims they attract snails and green bud worms. And the plants tend to get overgrown by the end of the year. He is somewhat correct. But I simply let them go and they fill out nicely, and bloom all year long. Some petunias do overwinter, and if trimmed early February the following year they sometimes bloom again. When we planted them each hole got a pinch of fish meal and kelp meal, then were surrounded with Kelloggs Gromulch. When all planted, I watered them in well, and will water them every day for week until their roots get established. By May 1 they will look incredibly delicious!

February 25, 2018    And so we sit and wait for the roses to bloom. The foliage is healthy and gorgeous ranging from dark red to various shades of green. Have not seen any bugs or mildew yet, but I'm keeping a close eye on the garden. I am enjoying the purple and bronze pansies I planted in colorful lavender, pink, and turquoise plastic pots as they brighten up the garden. I also have a half dozen small succulents that are beginning to bloom right now. The painted clay pots they are in are very colorful too. They look nice on my tiled patio counter. Bob made a custom mini hula hoe on a 4-foot handle. I asked for this so I could get small weed seedlings in between rose bushes so I don't have to bend down. A regular hula hoe simply cannot get inside a rose bush without damaging canes. Bob is so very creative and can make nearly anything. His project this week is refurbishing the English boxes for the Pacific Rose Society. He is redoing 11 large English boxes and 23 miniature English Boxes. He is installing new legs on them, sanding them, and repainting them. The boxes will look like brand new when Bob is finished. As for the lawn reseeding, I run the lawn sprinklers just one minute every day to help the lawn seed to sprout. Yes, we are still conserving water, our bill was only $26 this month. But we still need some measurable rain. 

February 18, 2016    It ended up raining continuously nearly all night long. Not a torrential downpour, but it was steady enough to water everything very deeply. This morning the weather was sunny and beautiful so we took the opportunity to get some things done in the garden. Bob shoveled Kellogg Gromulch onto all of the roses, both the in-ground bushes and the potted roses too. Meanwhile, I followed behind him and sprinkled on some Preen weed preventive. It felt good to get it all done as the bushes are beginning to leaf out. Bob did some more repotting too, so I think we are done with that. This afternoon we went to Home Depot and bought a new 75-foot hose for my section in the back yard. It was still under warranty so we got the new one free. We always save our receipts so that saved us some money. We also bought some lawn seed to reseed our lawn, which I applied and watered in as soon as we got home. I think we are just about caught up with everything so all we have to do for the next several weeks is watch them grow. Liquid fertilizing with organics will begin mid-March. Spraying about the same time. Oh yeah, and we also snatched up a 1-gallon potted Husky Cherry Tomato plant and Bob planted it as soon as we got home. This is the first time that we've seen those tomatoes at Home Depot so early, usually it's not until March or April, so we will have a headstart. Maybe we will have fresh tomatoes before summer.

February 17, 2016   Today it started to drizzle a little bit. Rain was predicted, so far just some drizzles, but enough to water the entire garden. I have shut off the sprinklers as we have the system set to water on Mondays and Thursdays. No need to water when it's raining. I took inventory of my cuttings today, and I have about 82 remaining in 3-inch pots. These are for the rose society raffle table, and should be enough to get us through the year. Meanwhile, last month I had set out two trays of new cuttings (over 100), which will take months to root well before they will eventually be placed on the raffle table as well. 

February 15, 2016    Bob applied a handful each of alfalfa pellets and epsom salts around each rose bush. Then I watered it all in. We used the hula hoe to get a few stray weeds, but our garden looks very clean at this time. To add a little color to the garden, I bought four 6-packs of pansies, some blue & yellow, and some bronze & yellow, which are my favorite wintertime flower. I planted some in colorful pots, and others around some young roses in the front yard. I know that the pansies won't last long as they usually die on their own as soon as it warms up. But I'm glad to add a little color to the garden.   

February 10, 2016    I woke up at 7:00 am to take advantage of perfect weather to spray my roses with dormant horticultural oil. No wind, no intense heat or cold, no rain. Great weather for working in the garden. My best friend "Boss" handled the job in 1-1/2 hours with no hassles. I used a quart (32 ounces) of Bonide horticultural oil in 14 gallons of water. The trick is to keep the mixture constantly blended. The horticultural oil should control any unwanted pests, either bugs or diseases that were overwintering. Now I simply keep them all watered, and the foliage should soon begin to leaf out. In about a month I will probably need to spray a fungicide for mildew, and insecticide for aphids. Dry organic materials will be applied soon.

February 7, 2016    Today we held our Private Reserve Sale of Roses Budded on Fortuniana Rootstock. The invitation was emailed to Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society members only. There were 40 potted roses and they sold out within 24 hours. We are very happy to open up this space in our garden. No, not for more roses. But more breathing room, less roses to care for, less work, which will give us more time to do other things. We no longer will hold an annual auction as it was too labor intensive for Bob and me.

January 31, 2016    It rained like crazy all day today. It was perfect timing so we could take a break from pruning. Yesterday we finished up the shrubs, climbers, and old garden roses. So we are now about half finished. We still need to prune the miniatures, minifloras, the single-petaled floribundas, and a dozen large hybrid tea roses in the back yard. Bob adores his new Ryobi hedge shears! Pruning goes very quickly with them. I mostly thin out the bushes, help to clean up the debris and put it into the green waste barrels. 

January 25, 2016    Today was Day 3 of rose pruning. Day 1 was a week ago when Bob trimmed 15 potted polyanthas. Three days ago we started on the floribundas in the front yard, and got them all done (34 bushes)  except the single-petalled varieties, which we do at the very last because they bloom earlier than the others. Yesterday we started on the hybrid teas in the front yard, and today Bob pruned more HTs while I was working on another project indoors on my computer. As of today's count, it appears that we are 1/3 done with pruning. Still a long way to go on another 200 bushes. I want us to work at a slow steady pace so we don't get exhausted or injure ourselves. There is no hurry.

January 20, 2016    Last week we called Waste Management and ordered two more 96-gallon green waste barrels on wheels. Every time we call them, a different person answers the phone and gives us a different story. First they said that we could get two more free barrels in addition to the one we already have and keep year round. They said we could get a 2nd one for free, but would have to get approval from management to get a 3rd one. A few days later they said they would be delivering the two extra barrels yesterday. They did not arrive yesterday, but finally one was delivered today. The delivery guy said they don't have enough barrels to give us a 3rd. So I called their office and asked why? They said that we would have to pay for a 3rd barrel, which we agreed to do. But then they said we would have to keep it three months before returning. This is bizarre. Why would they force us to keep the barrels 3 months if they don't have enough to go around. We only need the extra barrels for about one month until we finish pruning our 300 roses. So we are not taking a 3rd barrel because we have no place to store them. Hopefully our nice neighbor will let us use his barrel again after he prunes his own dozen rose bushes.

January 18, 2016    Bob started a little bit of pruning today. He used his battery-powered hedge shears to quickly trim 15 polyanthas in 10-gallon pots. The trimming only took several minutes total. Then another several minutes to rake up the debris. However, it took about another hour and a half to thin out all the plants and snip off all the dead, twiggy growth down inside the bushes. This is the first year that we trimmed the polyantha roses first. Usually they are the last to be pruned. We are both (especially Bob) chomping at the bit to get going on the mass pruning. But we really need to hold off another week to make sure the roses hit our spring peak blooming target for the April 23 rose show. Then we have committed to having our garden open on May 1. Also, another tentative open garden on May 7.

January 16, 2016    Our Rosarian Team enjoyed a beautiful day at our Green Thumb Nursery gig today. It was a lovely sun filled day, with perfectly gorgeous weather.There was a good turnout and we gained several new members. The nursery had the huskiest potted roses that I've seen in a long time. In particular I noticed some great plants of the very fragrant hybrid tea called 'Secret'. People better snatch those up quick. They also had St Patrick and lots of other neat roses. The weather remained very nice into early evening so we took advantage of our good luck and soaked in the spa for awhile after dinner. What a welcome treat to finish off a great day.

January 11, 2016    Yesterday we had our Annual Rose Care Seminar at the Senior Center. Bob demonstrated his new toy for pruning our rose bushes. It's a battery-powered hedge trimmer. He used it last year for the first time on our roses and it worked great. We had seen it being used in a public garden and decided to give it a try. It is so very fast. We love it! We are looking forward to using this tool again this year in our garden but plan to wait about two more weeks before we start.

January 9, 2016    Well, I wish that I had something interesting to say, but the truth is that there is absolutely nothing going in my garden right now. It is too wet and cold out there to do anything serious. Anyway, we don't plan to begin pruning until the end of January. We have pulled off a bunch of mushy blooms to avoid having botrytis fungus blowing around the garden. That's the most exciting thing we've done out there in about a month since Bob planted and repotted some roses. It's looking so very boring and desolate in our garden right now. There is not even a pretty bloom to shoot with the camera. So my time is better spent on the newsletter and website. Oh, we did go see Star Wars a couple days ago. It was nice to get away outside the house for a few hours. Tomorrow we have our rose care seminar that's open to the public at the Senior Center in Newhall. We always enjoy doing that every January.

January 1, 2016    Welcome to a new year. Wishing everyone great health, happiness, and success in all you do! Bob and I won't be doing much today as it's too cold outside to work in our garden. So we are taking it easy. He is enjoying watching the Rose Parade (he's not interested in football), meanwhile I am playing around on the computer. I am upgrading my websites and that is a long, slow process that could take months. Every page needs to be adjusted one by one and I have over 200 pages on this one web site alone. Another web site has 80 pages. All are getting a facelift with updated graphics, photos, and information. January is pretty much the only time that I have a big window of time to work on my two websites, so I'm taking advantage of it now. I intended to do it last year, but our web host Intuit/Homestead had some severe technical difficulties for several weeks so I was unable to make the upgrades then.

 Photos © Copyright by Kitty Belendez

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