NO LONGER A ROSE VIRGIN, BY SUSIE JONES
Several years ago, Steve and I took a trip to Hawaii. In Hawaii, I met Lym Jihaki of Hilo who belongs to an exclusive club. He asked me if I was a Rosarian and I said “no”. “Perfect” he said, you can join my club. I was wondering what it was as he proceeded to tell me all about being a NRSS. As an NRSS (Non Rosarian Supporting Spouse) you can love roses, prune if they get in your way, water, cut roses to bring in to the house, and above all, support our spouses obsession. If you prune, fertilize, mulch, spray, plant or write rose articles, you are out of the club. There are only two exceptions. If you are a male NRSS and your wife the Rosarian and asks you to dig a hole, or lug bags of fertilizer or compost, it is best that you do it if you want to preserve your marriage! Lym was such a dedicated club member that the NCNH District awarded him the Outstanding NRSS in 1999, presented to him by Baldo Villegas and Steve. A perfect example of my dedication to the club was in 2001. Steve had a truckload (7 cubic yards) of mulch dumped in the driveway. He started taking wheelbarrows full to the rose beds. All he asked me to do was spread the mulch and I said “no”. This was the butt of Steve’s jokes about my NRSS status for years. I contemplated leaving the club when I asked Steve if he would like help pruning the roses in 2009. After he picked himself up off of the floor from laughing, (he thought I would be in the club for life) he said yes. In order to prepare myself for pruning, I thought it would be helpful to actually watch a pruning demonstration, so I attended the January 2009 Santa Clarita Rose Society meeting. Well, after watching Bob Belendez prune, I knew I could do it! He made it look so simple. I loved watching him go after those roses with a pair of loppers! After that, Steve ordered me my own Felco #9, left handed pruners. They are oh so nice! Steve uses “El Cheapo” brand, as he tends to leave his outside or loses them. I told him, “these are mine and you can’t use them”! So, came the day to start pruning. We had our coffee, went for a walk and I said “Let’s go prune”. We started in the main rose garden, which had 4 rows. I think Steve thought I would want to stop after 2 rows, but I said, “Let’s get ‘er done”. I was a little shy when I started pruning my first rose. I had Steve check it and he only made one minor suggestion. After a couple of times checking with him, I was on my own. I couldn’t believe how easy it was and how much I enjoyed it. I am sure I won’t say that after a few more years, but it was nice to work as a team. The day didn’t go without a hitch. I did have one small “accident”. I was cleaning my new pruners, slipped and sliced my thumb open. Boy, are those things sharp! All in all, it was a good day and I actually look forward to going out in the garden and pruning again. And who knows, I may want to be a CR next!