Kitty Belendez, Master Rosarian

Professional Background

Kitty Belendez attended UCLA Graduate School of Management where she studied advertising, marketing and business, and received a Diploma in Business Management. Kitty worked 27 years in graphic arts, marketing communications, advertising, photography and art direction, TV commercials, magazine ads, direct marketing, media, print production & purchase, point of sale, publicity, convention management, product marketing, and packaging, encompassing a very successful 17-year career as National Advertising Manager for Staedtler-Mars, an international manufacturer of drafting, art, and office supplies, frequently traveling throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. After leaving Staedtler-Mars, Kitty transitioned to Executive Assistant to the Superintendent and School Board of Castaic Union School District where she retired after 20 years of esteemed service.

Family History

Kitty’s maternal great-great-grandfather, citrus grove owner, and Azusa Water Company owner, Samuel Ashton Overholtzer, was the founder of Laverne University (originally named Lordsburg College) in 1891. Her paternal grandfather, Junius Laws, homesteaded 160 acres of land in Saugus, California in 1910, another 20 acres in Inglewood, California in 1920, as well as properties in Redondo Beach, California in the 1940’s.

The Rose Hobby

Kitty grew her first rose bush beginning in 1985. Since then, Kitty and her husband Bob have grown more than 500 roses of all types in Santa Clarita, California. Some of their favorites are the greenish-yellow hybrid tea named ‘St. Patrick’; the velvety red shrub ‘The Squire’, the vibrant pink-blend hybrid tea named ‘Gemini’; a gorgeous light pink floribunda named ‘Puanani’; and the pink old garden rose Yolande d’Aragon with its heavenly fragrance. Other favorites are the stunning white miniflora rose ‘Whirlaway’, the purple miniflora ‘Dr John Dickman’; the vivid yellow floribunda named ‘Golden Holstein’; and the lovely red polyantha named ‘Verdun.’ She has subsequently downsized her rose garden to a more manageable 250 roses bushes, mostly grown in the ground, and fewer potted roses.

Kitty and Bob loved to exhibit their roses at many rose shows each year, and have won thousands of ribbons and over 1,500 trophies on the local, district, and national level. But, more importantly, they have been fortunate to meet many other rosarians from around the country who share their passion for growing roses. 

Kitty has authored over 600 articles on rose horticulture, which were published in Rose Ecstasy, the American Rose magazine, ARS Annuals (1997, 1999, 2000), the Rose Exhibitors’ Forum, San Diego Rose Ramblings, Pacific Rose, and Pacific Southwest Rose. Her articles have been reprinted hundreds of times in newspapers, rose society newsletters and web pages throughout the World. ARS has presented Kitty with 50 Awards of Merit for her articles since 1993. 

Kitty co-authored a 48-page booklet with Steve Jones titled “How to Grow Roses in the Santa Clarita Valley”. All proceeds from this book are donated to the rose society for educational purposes. The book was reprinted 3 times and has subsequently been adopted by California Association of Nursery Growers for training purposes under the title “Growing Roses in California”.

Kitty and her husband Bob produced many You Tube videos featuring various topics on roses such as budding, rooting, exhibiting, fertilizing, repotting, and pruning. They have produced a dozen rose-related videos.

Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society

Kitty Belendez was a co-founder of Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society in 1992. She served as President during 1995, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2020. Due to the Covid Pandemic, the Board extended Kitty's SCVRS Presidency through 2020, 2021, and 2022. 

Mrs Belendez established the inaugural rose show for the SCVRS in 1994, served as Vice President & Rose Show Director for 1992 through 1994, 2004 through 2006, 2009 through 2019, and other offices including VP Program Chairman, and Board of Directors. 

In December 2004, SCVRS honored Kitty and her husband Bob with ARS Bronze Medals and Lifetime Membership for their many years of outstanding service and dedication to the rose society. 

Mrs Belendez has also served 30 years as editor of the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society’s gold medal award-winning newsletter “Rose Ecstasy”, winning awards for every eligible year of its publication, including 3 Gold Awards (1998, 2002, and 2007), 7 Silver Awards, 7 Bronze Awards, and 4 Honorable Awards.

In March 2001, Kitty designed, produced and launched the web site for the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society. The popular web site has attracted nearly 5 million visitors since its inception. In April 2009 Kitty designed and created the web site for Pacific Rose Society, for which she was honored with Life Membership for her work on their web site. She continues to serve as Webmaster of both the Santa Clarita Valley and Pacific Rose Society web sites. The American Rose Society honored Kitty’s Santa Clarita web site with the GOLD MEDAL Queen of Local Rose Society Web Sites for 2008. Kitty also designed and actively manages the social media Facebook for the Santa Clarita Rose Society.

One of Kitty s favorite activities is the annual winter pruning demonstrations which she and Bob provided free to the public for the past 30 years. Bob's quick method of pruning miniature roses is always an eye-opener and provides comic relief from a potentially boring topic. Kitty enjoys opening her private home garden to the public for spring tours and welcomes rosarians from other states for visits. Probably the most challenging yet rewarding event was planning and organizing the annual fundraiser for the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society because Kitty and Bob grew and provided 125 rose plants for the auction which earned the rose society $3,000 each year for nearly 20 years. The fundraiser was coupled with a fun-filled theme party such as a Hawaiian Luau, Mexican Fiesta, Mardi Gras, or a Western BBQ, which the members love.

Pacific Rose Society

Kitty Belendez created the website for the Pacific Rose Society in 2009, and continues to serve as their webmaster

Pacific Southwest District of American Rose Society

In 2020 Kitty was awarded the Silver Honor Medal by the Pacific Southwest District for providing meritorious service to the rose and its culture, for efforts expended in support of the American Rose Society and its objectives within the District.

For the Pacific Southwest District (PSWD) of the American Rose Society (ARS), Kitty serves as a Horticultural Rose Judge and Consulting Rosarian, both since 1992. In 2005 she was designated as a “Master Rosarian” by the American Rose Society in honor of her 10 years of active and continuous service as a Consulting Rosarian. 

Kitty Belendez was PSWD bulletin editor of “Pacific Southwest Rose” and District Education Chairman for three years (2000 thru 2003). She has been a featured speaker at four Judging Schools, three Consulting Rosarian Schools, as well as dozens of speaking engagements at local rose societies and garden clubs throughout the district on topics ranging from “Growing Roses in Containers”, “Rose Hybridizing”, “Rose Propagation from Budding and Cuttings”, “Planting Roses”, and “How to Grow Prize-Winning Roses.” For 2002 she was the Producer of the Consulting Rosarian School & Seminar held in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2004 she was the Director of the District Judging Seminar held in Santa Clarita. And in 2007 she designed and produced a unique Consulting Rosarian Seminar that was combined with a bus tour to rose gardens in Santa Barbara. She has attended nearly every district convention since 1988, and many judging schools and CR seminars held in Southern California since 1992. 

In 2001, Kitty was honored as the Outstanding Consulting Rosarian of the Year for the Pacific Southwest District of the American Rose Society.

In 2013, Kitty produced a new PowerPoint presentation called “Kaleidoscope of Fabulous Floribundas” which she presents at various rose clubs throughout Southern California. In 2014 she gave her Floribunda presentation to Santa Clarita, Pacific, South Coast Rose Societies, and in 2015 to Ventura Rose Society. Over the years, Kitty has also given presentations at San Fernando Valley Rose Society, Orange County Rose Society, Kern County Rose Society, Pacific Rose Society, San Diego Rose Society, Inland Valley Rose Society, Santa Barbara Rose Society, Mother Lode Rose Society in 2016, and Sacramento Rose Society in 2018.

American Rose Society

Kitty has been a member of the American Rose Society (ARS) since 1985. She served on the ARS Year of the Rose 2002 Committee, and the ARS Garden Evaluation Committee (2000-2009). Kitty served on the ARS Publications Committee (newsletter contest) and the ARS Editorial Advisory Committee (1997-2000). For 2003-2006 she served on the ARS Program Services Committee as well as the Product Evaluation Committee. For 2006 through 2009 she again served on the Product Evaluation Committee as well as the ARS Editorial Advisory Committee. And from 2006 through 2012 she served on the ARS Digital Photo Contest Committee and judged hundreds of photo entries every year. 

In 2021, The American Rose Society awarded Bob & Kitty Belendez the prestigious Guy Blake Hedrick Award for Rose Exhibiting Excellence.

She has been a featured speaker at two ARS national conventions (1995, 1997). Of note was her well-attended lecture on “How to Produce a Newsletter That Your Members Will Love” at the ARS National Convention held at Denver in 1995. 

Kitty was a contributing writer/editor of the ARS book project The Ultimate Rose.

From 1998 through 2009, Kitty served as an ARS online “Cyber Consulting Rosarian” where she answered thousands of e-mail requests for rose care information. 

During 2004 and 2005 Kitty produced four PowerPoint programs for the ARS for use by its members: “The Rose, Our National Floral Emblem”; “Miniature Roses”; “Fabulous Floribundas”; and “Judging Challenge Classes and Collections”. 

During 2006, Kitty wrote the monthly “Beginner’s Column” for the American Rose magazine. For 9/2006 through 9/2009 Kitty was Chairman of the ARS Editorial Advisory Committee, and was the Editor of the 2007 American Rose Society Annual. In June 2008, Kitty was awarded an ARS Presidential Commendation for her work on the 2007 ARS Annual.

Many of Kitty’s articles have been published in the American Rose magazine, such as “A Touch of Class” for the 1997 ARS Annual, “At the Table” an exhibiting article published in 2017 American Rose. Her article "Our Musical Journey to the Rose Show" was published in the 2021 American Rose Annual.

Well known for her editing and writing skills, Kitty was editor of the quarterly ARS publication Rose Exhibitors’ Forum from 1994 through 1997 and was awarded the ARS Presidential Commendation (from Pete Haring) for her exceptional performance. For 2010 through 2012 Kitty served on the Board of Directors of the American Rose Exhibitors Society.

Kitty has become an accomplished rose photographer. Hundreds of her rose photos have been published in books, magazines, newspapers, rose society newsletters, as well as many web pages. Her rose photos have graced the American Rose Society (ARS) annual calendars and American Rose Magazine on many occasions. She has won 1st Place Awards in their Annual Photography Contest. She also served several times as a Photography Judge in the Annual ARS Photography Competition.


Photos © Copyright Kitty Belendez
© Copyright Kitty Belendez. All rights reserved. 
Updated December 31, 2023
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