05/28/17
Susan Brandt Graham

2017 PSWD Photography Judge Award

2017 Pacific Southwest District Outstanding Rose Photography Judge Award

The 2017 PSWD Outstanding Rose Photography Judge Award was a huge, but welcome, surprise to me. With many thanks to all of the people responsible for this honor!

2017 Photography Judge Award Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash;

I began work in the PSWD in 2008 to develop guidelines for judging rose photographs in our rose shows. I was already an ARS Accredited Horticulture and Arrangements Judge. But because I did not want to feel I was “shooting from the hip” in working for rose photographs in rose shows, I did UNM CE’s entire program in Digital Photography. I wanted to feel and to be competent for the task I set for myself. In 2012, the ARS recognized rose photography and set up a new committee to work on guidelines. It has been an honor to work with that national committee to establish working guidelines at the national level. It has been gratifying to see much of my work from the PSWD level incorporated into the guidelines at the national level.

The citation was read by Juanita Ortega, current Chair of Photography for the PSWD, at the District Convention, April 22, 2017:

The recipient of this award is an American Rose Society Accredited Horticulture and/or Arrangement Judge who has advanced the exhibition of rose photographs at local and district rose shows in the Pacific Southwest District. By encouraging rosarians to photograph their roses, our societies have attracted more members and contributed to the enjoyment of our national flower by the public.

This year, we recognize the efforts of one of the founders of this newest division of American Rose Society Rose Shows. For many years, she organized seminars and classes to teach interested ARS members the basics of photographing and displaying roses. She organized Rose Photography Divisions at national, district and local rose shows. This Photography Judge served on the American Rose Society Photography Guidelines Committee from 2012 through 2015.

The 2017 Pacific Southwest District Outstanding Rose Photography Judge Award is presented to Dr. Susan Brandt Graham from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Many thanks, Juanita, to you and the photographers of the PSWD. ~ Susan

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02/9/15
rose 'queen elizabeth' early spring

Spring Too Early?

Spring Too Early? We Won’t Know until Summer

Spring. Can it ever be too early? As the Northeast is buried under record total snowfall for a winter, Albuquerque has been enjoying a stretch of warm, sunny, windless days, with highs hovering around 70°F. It is glorious just to be out and enjoying what many – including me – would describe as “perfect weather.”

clematis early spring

Clematis putting on growth in early February

Early growth on my clematis vine, growing as a companion plant with my rose ‘Mermaid.’

The question for a gardener, though, here in the High Desert, is, “can spring be too early?” That is a question that cannot be answered until late May! Why? The average last frost-free date here is in mid-April. If plants have already sprung forth with new growth, the tender new growth can die. One year we have a very late freeze in mid-May, and by that time the roses already had much new growth, buds, and some were actually blooming. That freeze killed back much of the new growth, and the Spring Rose Show of the Albuquerque Rose Society was pretty small that year. Along with the show, we had an Arrangement Judging School (taught by Lew Shupe and Gary Barlow!) attended by rose lovers from all over the Pacific Southwest District. The only roses that year I had to donate to the school for practice arrangements was ‘Betty Boop.’ Although that is the latest killing freeze I have experienced in my part of Albuquerque, I have not forgotten it!

Then there are the fruit trees. I have the dwarf peach ‘Bonanza,’ a fruit tree I truly love for many reasons. But, it is an early bloomer, and some years we get a freeze after the bloom and no peaches will be harvested that year. I grow it for many reasons besides the peaches, but I still prefer the years when peaches form. 🙂 I also have two pear trees: one that produces pears people like to eat, and the pollinator pear that produces pears the birds like to eat. Win-win for all! In years with late freezes, after the pears trees have bloomed, the tree with the fruit for people will not produce. I have to say, the pollinator pear is tough – the birds nearly always have their fruit produced.

Today and tomorrow are also supposed to be glorious days with highs around 70. I will be out enjoying the weather, and working in the garden to dig weeds and to do general clean-up. I could not ask for better weather. But behind all of that is just a bit of worry that the plants that are responding to the glorious weather now may also respond to cold weather and late freezes that can be part of life in the Southwest Desert. We won’t know if spring is too early until summer has arrived.

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02/6/15
spring and roses

February Gardening

Challenges of Gardening in the High Desert in February

February gardening in New Mexico? Well, that can be both a temptation and a challenge. Here in Albuquerque we are in the midst of a series of warm, sunny days without wind; perfect gardening weather!

The problem is, our average latest frost-free date is in mid-April, and I have seen killing freezes as late as May. When it comes to roses, for example, we tend not to prune until early April, and fertilize even later.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of things to do in the garden in February when the days are so wonderful for being out. I did some weeding; I need to do a lot more before Spring really does arrive! I removed some dead canes from some of the roses. This is not pruning; this is removing dead canes, plain and simple.

I couldn’t help looking over my own-root miniature roses in containers, in protected areas. Some of these have not been appropriately pruned in some time. They always start to leaf out in February, and by the time another 6-8 weeks go by, they are virtually impossible to prune. The canes become spindly, and the blossoms smaller and with less perfect form.

February Gardening – I took a chance with some of these own-root miniature roses, in containers, in protected spots, and pruned them. Several different outcomes are possible with this February Gardening action:

    these miniature roses could look better than they have in years;
    these miniature roses could die back to the ground with a really severe cold snap, but since they are own-root, most would come back, although it might take time;
    the majority could look like they always have.

I want to stress that I did this only with own-root roses in protected areas, for this February gardening and rose pruning action.

This is not the only time I have gone against conventional wisdom in the pruning of some of my roses. Some of you know that I have the Old Garden Rose, ‘Mermaid,’ a Hybrid bracteata introduced in 1918. After its near-demise in the 22 inch snow (“The Big Snow of 2006”), I always cut it back in the fall, and then do not trim it again until after first bloom. It has rewarded me with lush spring growth and spectacular first blooms. It then blooms intermittently throughout summer and fall.

But, this is the first time I have pruned any roses as part of February gardening in Albuquerque. I’ll keep you updated on the result.

gardening

Miniature rose ‘Marriotta.’ On its own root, and grown by me in a container in a protected spot. Image from Fall, 2014.

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02/2/15
spring and roses

Roses 2014

Some Roses and Rose Photographs, 2014

Roses in Albuquerque in 2014 continued to suffer the effects of the prolonged drought in the Southwest. Albuquerque has devised a very effective way to encourage residents to reduce their use of water. We do not (yet) have formal rationing for most private users. However, the water bill is on a sliding scale based on use. The more water a person uses, the higher the rate becomes. Let me assure you, that is a very effective way to encourage people to be aware of their use of water.

I have decreased the number of roses I am currently growing. The ones I have kept are ones that mean something special to me, each for different reasons. I have spent more time photographing the roses I do have (as well as many other things). The roses on this page are roses I grew (with the exception of the image of Dr. Huey, taken on the First Annual Dr. Huey Rose Tour of the Corrales Rose Society, and the back cover of the 2014 American Rose Annual) and photographed.

Spray of Rose Dream Weaver

Spray of rose, ‘Dream Weaver.’ Image awarded ‘Queen’ at the ARS Fall 2014 National Convention.

I especially appreciate that the judges in this national show used the Score Card developed when I served as the first Chairman of Photography in the Pacific Southwest District for judging the rose photographs. When I began that task in the PSWD, it was clear that some system and uniformity was necessary. To see the Score Card used at the national level is very gratifying to me. Much less gratifying is overhearing judges instructions being given at some of the local shows in the Pacific Southwest District in 2014, where the instructions given were one person’s opinion with no reference to the Score Card, although the Score Card was printed in the Schedule. That will change over time, as those judging rose photographs will be required to be accredited rose judges, as in all other portions of rose shows today.

Some rose links:

American Rose Society

Albuquerque Rose Society

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02/1/15
rose calendar cover and January

Rose Calendars

Rose Calendars for 2015

Rose calendars for 2015 are available from both the American Rose Society and the Albuquerque Rose Society. The two have different images, and both are beautiful.

The images in the 2015 Albuquerque Rose Calendar were the winners at the 2014 Spring Rose Show. I am pleased that five of the twelve images were my winners in that show, including “Best of Show.”

rose calendars cover and January

Best of Show – Gemini – from the class “Rose Art”

rose calendars distant drums

Best of Theme – The Artistic Rose – Distant Drums

rose calendars - Leonidas

Best of Black and White Challenge – Leonidas

rose calendars gemini

Best of Section – The Rose – Gemini

rose calendars Dream Weaver

Best in Class – Rose Sprays – Dream Weaver

For my friends in the Albuquerque area, I recently found out that the calendars are available in a variety of places:

    The Garden Shop, Albuquerque Garden Center
    Bookworks
    Figments Tea Shoppe
    Jackalope Pottery
    Jericho Nursery
    Osuna Nursery

Given that one month of 2015 has already passed, I don’t know if a discount is being given on the calendars, but it never hurts to ask!

The wall calendar is priced at $10.00, and a smaller perpetual calendar is priced at $5.00. All proceeds go to the Albuquerque Rose Society.

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