February 2017 – President’s Message

By Carol Wong, President

Peninsula Rose Society started 2017 with a full water table thanks to rain, and wonderfully enthusiastic new members! Four members joined six older members to help Jerry Georgette prune roses at the Palo Alto Veteran’s Hospital rose garden on January 21. Greg and Erin Chadwell, Dean Chen, Jenny Tsao, and old hands Barry and Brian Johnson, Mamie Zimbelman, Weldon and I helped cull out crossing branches and clean up fully grown roses. We left a garden with roses still needing work, so Jerry would be glad for extra time from anyone interested. Give him a ring or just drop by with your tools and fill up a container with cuttings!

Welcome also to our new members Patricia Radley from the Atherton Garden Club, Ella Chen as well as Dean Chen who are helping us set up the Quarryhill trip, Jenny Tsao, and Noni Noughton. When you meet them, be sure to ask them about their gardens.

Redwood City’s Orchard Supply invited Consulting Rosarian Stu Dalton to demonstrate pruning techniques with Anne Quincy, Pam Schenk and us on Saturday Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. Summerwinds Nursery in Palo Alto invited CR Marie Hubbell and volunteers such as Pam Schenk and Erin Chadwell to demonstrate pruning on February 4. These members are so willing to share. It is a great feeling to know your skills can help someone work on their roses, because pruning is such a vital part of the renewing process every year.

While at these nurseries, consider purchasing Weeks bare root roses at Orchard, order from catalogues or call our supporting nursery Wegman’s on Woodside Road, Regans in Fremont, and Summerwinds Nursery for Star bare roots. Having something new in your garden to replace something not thriving is so exciting. This will lead right into the topic of our February 21 speaker, Jolene Adams, on “New Rose Introductions”. Save a spot for something new! As roses require less water than grass does, you can plan to “shovel prune” and give yourself a new color, type, or scent to reinvigorate your garden. Our list of “Favorite Roses of the Peninsula Rose Society” has been revised and reprinted. Pick one up or ask Pam Schenk for an email copy if you want something someone else has found rewarding.

We will have a thrilling opportunity on Saturday, March 25, for a field trip to Quarry Hill Botanical Garden in Glen Allen, California, to hear a world-famous hybridizer, Ping Lim, discuss the history of roses from China. We may not all get into the lecture, but we can surely enjoy a docent-led tour of this garden of rare and endangered plants from Asia grown amid ponds, waterfalls, and woodlands. See the website and register, pay the $20/adult admission fee and say you are from PRS. On February 21, I will send around a list for people to consider carpooling.

Our tentative plan is to get to the garden by 9:30 am, listen to the lecture, and then go on a docent tour and meet together for a self-provided picnic lunch. Bring water and a hat besides your lunch. Children under 12 get in free, and even our children, one of whom was a horticulture graduate student, wants to come. So, we may be distracted by our grandkids. For those still willing, wine tasting is available in the area for an afternoon excursion on your own. Eleanor Rakonitz has contacted speakers for a range of topics for this year’s programs. Look at the list of programs and dates and see if you can bring a friend or neighbor who enjoys plants to join you.

In April, we usually start our own monthly rose shows. We have been talking instead about an unjudged display. Maybe learning how to show our roses. Is this appealing? If so, tell us and we can consider how to use our time together to help each other improve our knowledge on how to show roses.

We can use our May program to help each other. Jim Crowther will give us some arrangement ideas and we can practice on them as well.

Jim again is selling Apex once-a-year granular fertilizer in 5 lb. bags for $15. I found it useful for my minis. Call or write Jim by email and he will bring a bag for you on February 21. Late February to March is not too late to fertilize. Scratch the fertilizer into the soil and water the plants well.

This is the time to put in brand-new bare root plants, watch the new growth start, and rub off those shoots that are headed into the center of the plant. See what new starters you have made and which ones look like you will have something to share this summer during a cutting exchange! Bulbs are pushing up, lilies are swelling, acacia scents heady in the air. What anticipation grips us!

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