Posts Tagged 'Redwood Empire Rose Society'

2014 Redwood Empire Rose Society ROSE SHOW


The perfect rose at the exact moment of judging is Queen of the Show.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES  This year we doubted that we would have roses – let alone a perfect rose.  But as in every year, we were shown that nature provides.    This year was very special as Honora Connelly won Queen with Brandy – her very first Queen!  Phyllis Saccani had to settle for Princess with Falling in Love.   Nice of Phyllis to share the glory this year.

No matter what the date or the weather, preparing for a Rose Show is a lot of work.  There is the selection of the theme, the naming of the arrangements (yes, they are named!), gathering of the judges and the myriad of other activities.  I have not had roses to enter since I left my fabulous rose garden in Forestville over 4 years ago but I do my contribution by preparing the judges luncheon.  This year I decided to serve tri-tip as I know that people really like it.  But I don’t know that I have ever cooked it myself.

20140520_162848I definitely do not barbeque so I was wondering how I was going to get this done.  And then there is that thing that I do not eat beef. Researching things is still a large part of my life so I began my research of either buying it prepared or cooking it in the oven.  The first stop was to the grill at Fiesta Market.  While they sell a great tri-tip (so I am told) each weekend, they do not prepare it in time for me to serve it at noon on Saturday. The second stop was the deli at Oliver’s Market.  Same answer as the Fiesta crew.    The deli worker sent me over to the meat market where the tri-tips are actually prepared.  Stop three – the butcher at the meat counter.   He said that the way to guarantee a tender tri-tip is to use a rub  and then marinate it for as long as possible in beer.  That sounded okay but a week was definitely too long to have meat in a frig.  Oh, and anyone who has been to my kitchen knows that there is not room for two tri-tips in my frig.  So the next stop was the 20140517_122804meat counter at Fiesta (I do live across the street from Fiesta).  The butcher basically explained that a rub for flavor and alcohol for breaking down the tissue to have a tender cut of meat.  He said that I could cook them in the oven.  I purchased close to 6 lbs of tri-tip and rubbed them with the steak seasoning that came with a seasoning set.  I put a lot of rub on, slipped each into a gallon baggie and drove over to Phyllis’  with the steaks and a bottle of wine.  Poured half a bottle of wine into each baggie and asked Phyllis to turn the meat each time she went into the frig.  The morning of the Show, I let the beef come to room temperature and cooked in the oven at 350  degrees after being heated to 425 degrees.  30 minutes on one side and 15 minutes on the other and it was cooked to perfection.  Along with the tri-tip was Caesar Salad and chicken pasta salad (for those non steak eaters – of which I was the only one!)   Dessert was apple cake and vanilla ice cream.   Lunch, as always, was a huge success.



My favorite part of the rose shows are the arrangements and bouquets.  Nothing is more lovely to me than a big vase of beautiful roses.   Once again, Martin Kooi won the best arrangement award.  But I loved Gail Lee’s arrangement and Phyllis’ bouquet of “left over” roses.  It was a great day and a beautiful show.




August 2013 is Fair Month

RamI love going to the Sonoma County Fair. This year’s Fair was focused on “Home Spun Fun”.  I love the emphasis on home and fun because that is what the fair is really about.  While it is mostly the same each year, the flower gardens, the pictures, the quilts and the animals are different.  My favorite is the roses.  But a close second is the Hall of Flowers with the gardens.  The theme this year is “Backyard Blossoms” and the flowers were magnificent.  The Men’s Garden Club out did themselves and took home the Best In Show trophy.  What a spectacular display of plants!  My favorite was the wall of succulents with a water feature made of quarter inch mesh screen.  Simple and inexpensive with a real impact.  I would love to have this in my backyard.     Succulent wallGail with arrangementThe rose show was once again dominated by my wonderful friends of Redwood Empire Rose Society.  Gail Lee brought home the Best in Show for her arrangement.   Each year the Rose Society has an information table during the rose displays to answer questions on roses and keep the displays watered.  We got one new member this year during the fair which is always a bonus.  I love this group of people.  Many blue ribbons were given out and the information table was well visited even though we were allocated space behind the jams, pies and sewing projects.

Apple PieSpeaking of pies, the Gravenstein Apple Fair was in Ragle Ranch Park this last weekend.   Visitors were greeted by the Patrick Amiot ram pictured above and the park was filled with artisans, chefs, antique apple machinery and bands.  It was the County Fair petite!  The one thing that the Apple Fair had that was not available at the county fair was homemade apple pie from the Community Church of Sebastopol.  I must admit that it was my lunch that day!

A benefit of my new home is that I can walk to Ragle Ranch Park and I do so about three times a week.  I took advantage of the proximity to go to the Apple Fair and avoided the parking struggles.  They do have parking within the park but it is $7 and the cars parked outside of the gates reached almost to my home.   I am loving living in Sebastopol.

Walker Apple Display at the Gravenstein Apple Fair

Walker Apple Display at the Gravenstein Apple Fair

Volunteering Takes Time

Selling Roses

One of the many blooms on display

One of the many blooms on display

The last two weeks I have been in the waiting period for my home purchase.  The loan is approved – the boxes are piling up – I am picking out colors.  Long escrows are just that – long.  But I would not be able to move if I had to do it today as I have spent the last two weeks doing my volunteering.  I have friends who volunteer at the hospital – organize town meetings- coach a softball team.  I have two organizations that are such a part of my life that I am always saying “yes”.  They are the Redwood Empire Rose Society and P.E.O. Chapter AJ.

20130511_120046 (1024x739)The Redwood Empire Rose Society is affiliated with the American Rose Society.  We meet monthly for either an informative program or a social gathering.  Most meetings involve roses and food.  The roses are the emphasis of the organization but we can’t seem to do anything without food to accompany it.  May 11 was our annual Rose Show and once again I took on the task of the Judges’ Luncheon.   I served 25 people a lunch of three salads and strawberry shortcake.  I used my favorite table linens and the

A Bouquet of Julia Child

A Bouquet of Julia Child

spread was inviting.  The luncheon had become known as the best Judges’ Luncheon in Northern California and it helps attract judges for our local rose show.  The judges travel from the South Bay, Nevada and Central Valley so we must make it worth their drive!  It was a beautiful day and we had beautiful roses.  That “we” is a bit incorrect as my roses had bloomed the week before and I had nothing to display.  The Rose Show is the first or second week of May each year at the Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center on Yulupa Avenue in Santa Rosa.  It is an event worth attending.

Stocking the Boutique

Stocking the Boutique

P.E.O. is a philanthropic educational organization.  What does that really mean?  We provide scholarships and loans to fund the higher education of women.  There are international, state and local funding mechanisms.  We do a lot of fundraising – but mainly we do it within our chapters.  My chapter is AJ in Sebastopol.  Last year we celebrated our 100th anniversary (you may remember the cars in the parade!)  Last week I was at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose working the 2013 State Convention.  The main money maker for the Conventions is the boutique and I was one of three co-chairs for this event.  Wow!  What a job!  We spent a year selecting and purchasing inventory and none of the three has any experience in retail.  After spending close to $17,000 and storing items, we had a four-day selling frenzy.   I don’t have the full left over inventory but it looks like we brought in about $35,ooo.  Not a bad profit for the unskilled.

Waiting for the Opening Ceremony

Waiting for the Opening Ceremony

A P.E.O. Convention is a whirlwind of fun, activities and presentations.  I only saw the inside of the boutique this year but I am going to be the delegate for Marin/Sonoma at the international convention in Dallas this September.  This should be a lot of fun.

I am back home and getting caught up on work and preparing for my upcoming move.  I received a bid for painting the downstairs and getting cork flooring.   I am ready to start settling in and I am 12 days away from closing.  This is going to be a busy summer.

Smiling after a long day of the Rose Show

Smiling after a long day of the Rose Show

Pruning Roses in 2012

How is your garden reacting to this strange weather pattern?  I finally watered my plants in the ground last week for fear that they would dry up.  They were thankful to receive some moisture and I am thankful that we had a bit of rain and I see more in the forecast.

Pruning should be coming to the end.  I have not started mine and am anxious to find time in the next few days. Between work and the common cold, I have been having some difficulties in getting this done.  But then, I am not sure the roses realize that we have had the “cold” of winter.

The one question that has kept going through my mind is “Do I put down the Osmocote with the weather being so warm?”  I really have not come up with an answer as of yet.  The theory behind fertilizing at the time of pruning is that it is easy to spread before the mulch is put down and that it would not start releasing until the weather warmed up  –  well past the time that we would have a freeze that could damage new growth.  With the days as warm as they have been, the fertilizer should start releasing immediately.  If we don’t have any freezes, the plants should start sprouting new leaflets and we could have roses in April.  But, alas, who is to know if we will have a freeze and all of the new growth would be lost.  I keep going back and forth.  Since I will probably not get my roses done for another week, I am thinking I might go ahead with the Osmocote and cross my fingers.  My other option is to do half the roses with Osmocote and wait to fertilize the other half nearer the end of March.

Winter Bouquet

I fear that we will be seeing greater and greater variations from our known and constant weather patterns.  Right now I have hellebores, azaleas, camellias, calla lilies and roses in bloom.  Yes, roses.  Ribbons and Roses, a large miniature that I grow in a pot in the middle of my garden and Dainty Bess, also in a pot, have buds that will open in the next few days.

What is a gardener to do?  I have decided to do the best I can and let nature take its course.  Which is wise since what I do has so little affect compared to our magical planet.

2011 Has Been A Wonderful Year

Happy American Canyon Buyers and Los Altos Sellers!

The last day of 2011 and what a year it has been.  When January 2011 came around, I had no idea where I was going or what the year was going to bring.  My first post was about the increased and difficult business of real estate.  Thankfully the volume continued and I am pleased to report that I closed more transactions than I have in any other year of my real estate career.  The year finished as it had begun with a flurry of activity.  Alas, the difficultly continues as sales are plagued with late appraisals, slow loan approvals and the hurry-up-and-wait process of short sales and bank-owned properties.  Home values have continued to decline except in those few areas where the prices fell so precipitously that there is nowhere to go but up – specifically Rohnert Park has seen some price increases in single family homes.  This December was a very busy month.  Not only was I working on Sonoma County real estate but I closed transactions in American Canyon (Napa County), Los Altos (Santa Clara County) and Lakehead (Shasta County).  These put a few miles on my car but I love working with great folks and these buyers and sellers were top-notch in my book.  I would go anywhere in the State of California for people like them.  And speaking of going – I only attended 8 parties in 14 days during this frenzy of work.  I needed a rest week after Christmas.

View from a Bedroom Window - No difference which one - they are all fantastic!

I am starting 2012 with a listing that I expect to be of great interest to anyone looking for a luxury weekend getaway.  Privacy, space and up-to-the-minute elegance is the best description.  This modern tree house is in a wonderfully sunny spot on Green Valley Road.  It will hit the market late January and you can be certain that you will see it on this blog.  There are many people looking for bargains in real estate and I am working to serve them.  But enough about 2012.  This post is about 2011!

The statistics for this blog were sent to me today.  Around 5,300 hits in 2011 with 35 posts.  I have made a New Year’s resolution that you will get a weekly update on Sonoma real estate.  This is something I follow and I should be sharing the information.  I was surprised to learn that my most read post in 2011 was the one I wrote in May of 2009 on our Redwood Empire Rose Show.  I guess that tells me that I should be more diligent about reporting on the Rose Society.   And, of course, I will continue sharing events around Sonoma County and my travels.  I don’t expect much traveling this year but then, one never knows.

Just a quick report on the Sonoma County real estate numbers.  Here are some numbers comparing November 2010 to November 2011.  The months of inventory (meaning – at the rate houses are selling, how many months would it take to sell all the houses on the market if no new ones were added for sale) has dropped significantly from 5.9 months to 3.3 months.  This is an indicator that buyers are taking advantage of these great prices and low interest rates.  Another interesting fact is that while the average list price has increased from $616,000 to $773,000 (about a 25% increase), the averages sales price has only increased from $374,000 to $386,000 (only a 3% increase).  This tells us that more expensive houses are coming onto the market as owners realize that holding out for better prices may not be a good idea.  The lower priced homes are not getting any lower and the higher priced homes are seeing a price compression.

Maike in Kauai

This last week I have spent on Kauai with my granddaughter – oh, and her parents and my friend, Katy.  What a great way to spend Christmas – no hassle, no clean up, no expectations.  We have had a wonderful time and I may get to reporting on our activities here.  But now it is New Year’s Eve and I wish the very best of 2012 to all my readers, colleagues and friends.

View of Bali Hai from the St. Regis Beach

Visiting Quarryhill Botanical Gardens

Each year the Redwood Empire Rose Society has a picnic in August.  We have visited private gardens, wineries with beautiful gardens and public gardens with areas for picnics.  This year we visited Quarryhill Botanical Gardens outside of Glen Ellen.  This garden is primarily Asian plants and often are available today only due to the preservation work of the Quarryhill staff.  Quarryhill Botanical Gardens are only twenty years old and everything planted was started by seed.   William McNamara, the original botanist who collected many of the seeds on trips to Asia and planted them were they would prosper, is currently the Executive Director.  He and his staff are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and not only contribute to the garden but to the experience of all visitors.

Nelumbo nucifera - The Sacred Lotus

Our group was divided into three – two walking and a third on an 8 passanger electric cart.  A few places are not accessible by the gravel lanes but most of the garden can be seen by those who cannot walk the steep slopes or uneven walkways.  Nelumbo nucifera – otherwise known as The Sacred Lotus – grows in a pool of water that flows down over one of the walkways.  They are fascinating in both size (that is Cathy Fletcher’s arm coming from the flower) and in structure.  I particularly was intrigued by the seed pods.

Strolling along the Pathway

The garden is at 12841 Sonoma Hwy. outside of Glen Ellen.  The driveway is clearly marked but often overlooked when passing by.  You can visit it daily for a nominal entrance fee and there are docents who can provide a tour.  Look up the details of visiting at  We spent over two hours and only saw a part of the 25 acres.  Our visit was in late August and not many things were in bloom but enough to keep even a flower lover like me interested.  I want to return in the Spring but would go again any time of year.

One of the many views from Quarryhill Botanical Gardens

2010 Sonoma County Fair

Melody Perfume


Animal Rescue at the Fair

Tomorrow, August 8, is the last day of the 2010 Sonoma County Fair.  The theme this year is GRAPE ESCAPE.  The theme might be more appropriate than was imagined when selected some time past as we are still wondering when the grapes are going to be ready to pick. 

Red Tailed Hawk


The fair experience was about the same as each other year.  Outside the building with chickens and rabbits was the Animal Rescue Center information table.  There were screech owls and a red tailed hawk.  The red tailed hawk can no longer successfully hunt and so lives in captivity.  Birds are not the only animals rescued.   Prominently displayed were stuffed fox, racoon and other critters that inhabit our environs.  No advice on how to keep fox out of the chicken coop was provided.   

The House of Flowers was the best it has been in years.  That might be due to the theme being garden friendly and that the weather was not so hot as to wilt the plants.  Whatever the case, the variety was great and the designs lovely.  The Redwood Empire Rose Society once again provided rose expertise to the public during the rose display.  

Double Delight


 We were pleased to have Best in Show go to Phyllis Saccani for her three perfect Hot Princess blooms.  Cathy Fletcher won Most Fragrant and Catie Fletcher took the top mini category.  Not a bad showing for our Rose Society. 

Cathy and Phyllis with ribbons


It is time to prune those roses!

Karen Ernsberger Pruning the Rose, Renae

The rain has put a real damper on the rose pruning in my garden.  Thankfully, we did not have rain the first two Saturdays of the year because those are the days a dedicated group of rosarians prune the garden at Luther Burbank Art & Garden Center.   The Redwood Empire Rose Society not only keeps the rose garden at the Center in beautiful shape throughout the year but, also, teaches pruning techniques from 9 to 12 those two days.  In 2011 we will need to move to the second and third Saturdays to accomodate that January 1 Saturday. 

A well pruned climbing rose

The one type of pruning that gets the most questions are climbers.  Climbers take some extra care but are not all that different from shrubs.  You just need to think of the long cane as a huge above ground root with a bunch of  little rose bushes growing from it.  Tie the cane to the fence or trellis instead of weaving it in and out.  A healthy rose can destroy a fence or a wooden arbor.  Don’t even think about those flimsy trellises at the garden center because a rose will pull them apart in a season.

Right now the ground is so wet that even when it is not raining, I am sloshing around in mud.  Not to fear, pruning can be done as late as March in our moderate climate.  Yes, we are very fortunate in Sonoma County. 

If you have any pruning questions, just post a remark and I will be happy to respond.

Cooking the Turkey

A rare event occurred last Thursday – actually, two rare events.   The third Thursday of each December is the Installation of officers and gala potluck at the Redwood Empire Rose Society. This is not rare but happens every year.  We eat, we talk, we share presents.   The Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center is decorated for the holidays with at least 8 tables dressed with finery by 8 hostesses.  I usually go with a blue and silver theme with tall candle stands and lots of crystal.  I looks lovely and I enjoy sharing the table with good friends.  So what was the rarity?  I did not take my camera out of the bag!  I have no pictures of the evening.  Thankfully, Jack Coulter – President extraordinaire – was there with camera in hand.  I expect that I can modify this post once he sends me some pictures.  But for now it is just words, words, words. 

The second unusual happening was that I roasted the turkey.  Many of you know that I have not been the cook in the house for lo on twenty-five years – so when I took on this task it was with some trepidation.  With a true investigative spirit, I scoured the internet and found with a great, easy to follow guide for thawing, brining and roasting a 20 lb. turkey.  The turkey thawed for five days in the refrigerator – was just thawed in time to be placed in the brine for 24 hours prior to popping it in the oven.   The only variation I made from the instructions was that I found a roasting bag in the drawer and made the decision that basting was not in my schedule for the day.   The turkey was cooked to perfection in the exact time that I had planned and I swooped it into the waiting trunk of my trusty Prius and headed for the Center.  Thankfully, Jerry Scoville came through with a spectacular carving job and turkey was had by all.  Unfortunately, I was not so successful with the gravy.  It was more of an aus jus and didn’t look all that appealing.  None the less, good friends tried it and there were no complaints.  Many people have asked me if the turkey was salty with the brining – the answer is an unequivicable, no.  It was moist, perfectly flavored, a major hit.  Forty-eight rosarians cleaned that platter bare. 

So, the only turkey picture I have is the remains of the carcus as I prepared to pack it for the freezer.  This great bird will provide another great meal at another time.  

The Remains of my Great Roasted Turkey

If you ever find yourself in need of great company, exceptional food and fun activities set in a beautifully decorated hall, come to the Redwood Empire Rose Society potluck.  We have them in June and December each year.

Arrangements at the Rose Show

Bouquet of Roses

My favorite part of a rose show is usually the arrangements and bouquets.  What is the difference?  An arrangement has roses embellished with other plant material or prop while a bouquet is just roses.  I am not sure if that is a accurate technical difference between the two but it is mine!   I love them both. 

In a rose show each arrangement classification is given a descriptive name to inspire the arranger.  Themes are selected to compliment the title of the Conference or Show.  In this case, the Conference name is You have a “Date” in Palm Springs.  The arrangements were beautiful.  My favorite (always a difficult thing to say) arrangement was a dried arrangement in a standard traditional design.  I prefer the traditional designs because they use more roses but there were many lovely modern designs also. 

Dried Arrangement of Marilyn Monroe roses and dried plant materials


You can tell from the names of these roses that hybridizers like to grab the public’s attention by drawing upon the fascination with celebrities.  Deidre Hall is a wonderful rose and yes, I must admit that I have been known to watch Days of our Lives in my past.  Is she still on that show?

Entry for "America the Beautiful: Across the Fruited Plain" - Roses are Deidre Hall



This Rose Show was a national ARS event so the quality of arrangements is fantastic.  We do pretty well at our local rose show that is held at the Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center the first Saturday of May each year.  Please come by and check it out.  While I am writing of local events, the Redwood Empire Rose Society holds pruning demonstrations at the center the first two Saturdays of the year from 9 to noon.  It is a great time to learn to prune roses and we have lots of fun.  Hardy rosarians are outside pruning in the rain, sunshine or fog.  Stop by and get expert training free of charge.


September 2021


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