No-Spray Queen of Show


Laurie, Tristan and I were very active and involved with the Albuquerque Rose Society and the American Rose Society (ARS) from 2000 to 2007, and I continued to produce the Albuquerque Rose Society’s monthly newsletter until my first bout with cancer in 2010, and then I continued to print their newsletter until a few years ago. We met Susan Graham, who comments on this blog, through the Albuquerque Rose Society. Susan is also an award winning Rosarian and rose judge. She also wrote the rules for judging photographs of roses.

Since we do not spray our roses, we allow natural predators to take care of pests by planting companion plants that help attract predators. When we first started attending Albuquerque Rose Society meetings, we were told we would never win first place or Queen of Show without spaying our roses. We took that as a challenge, and worked very hard on encouraging predators, caring for and grooming our roses without spraying. By 2002 we were entering roses and rose arrangements in ARS rose shows and winning first places, and eventually Tristan, Laurie and I, all three, won Queen of Show with our arrangements. Laurie’s brother thought I was less than manly to arrange roses, so I was rather excited to win Queen of Show, as I knew that would annoy him to no end.

In 2006 our rose garden was part of the Albuquerque Garden Tour. The ARS sent us a box of systemic insecticide to hand out to people on the tour. Not only did we refuse to hand out the insecticide, we ended up having a falling out with the American Rose Society over the insecticide when we learned they got some paltry donation from the company that produced the insecticide plus the handouts. Seeing the ARS as easy sell-outs to an insecticidal corporation, we dropped our memberships. I also ended up taking the insecticide to a hazmat disposal facility to get rid of it.

In the current issue of Roses & You: news from the American Rose Society (July 2019), that Susan forwarded to me, the current President of the ARS, Bob Martin, wrote an article titled THE BUGS OF SUMMER. In his article he equates people like us who don’t spray their roses with poisons as lazy people who don’t care for their roses, people like anti-vaxers, and people who don’t care enough to treat their dogs for fleas. Mr. Martin writes:

What to do? Too occupied to take care of their roses this summer some declare theirs to be a “no-spray” garden. This is greeted with the applause of their environmentally-conscious friends, as well as the multi-legged applause of beetles, spider mites, and chilli thrips. The “no-spray garden” – Turning indolence into a garden virtue! I find that odd. Like a rosarian version of the anti-vax advocates we hear voices that claim if we just leave the roses alone, natural predators will arrive to bring the garden back into balance. Really? Do the proponents of these views believe the same of their pets? “My dog has fleas, but I don’t believe in health care or the use of chemicals but will just wait until the dog is back in balance.”

The way we see it, we are not lazy rosarians, as it’s very difficult to produce award winning roses without spraying poisons on them. I also disagree with him on fleas. We don’t treat our cats for fleas using insecticidal flea treatments, either. Our kitties are always licking each other, and we don’t want to poison our kitties trying to kill fleas. Instead, we rub catnip on the kitties, which is quite effective for controlling fleas, and the kitties love it.

As you can see from the photo below of a small sample of awards we’ve won over the years, we have won many First Place ribbons, Royalty Awards, Gold Certificates and Queen of Show for roses and roses we used in arrangements that were not sprayed with insecticides.


Below are samples of some our award winning arrangements and un-sprayed roses from over the years. Note: I took screenshots from posts on my T&L Photos blog for several of the rose photos below —  it was much more expedient than finding the original photos.

Green Red Car


I have a “green” red sports car that really rocks. On the first full tank of gas, of mostly in-town driving, my MX-5 averaged 37.7 miles per gallon over 304.5 miles. I think that is a very respectable average MPG , but I thought I would get some reactions from a few of our local critters. Silver was unimpressed and couldn’t be bothered from his nap to say one way or the other what he thought about it. Surprisingly, however, the jumping spiders got very excited about it, as did a beetle.


Mouse over the critters to see what they had to say.



When I told Spunk the exciting news about Felder Rushing asking permission to play Spunk’s song, Dumpsta-Spunk Meowing at the Half Moon, for the “cheesy tune of the week” section on his radio program called The Gestalt Gardener that airs on NPR on Friday and Saturday mornings each week, Spunk just gave me his look of (see above) “Felder??? Radio??? NPR??? Cheesy??? What the catnip are you talking about?” I forgot that Spunk is a Cyber kitty whose main reference to the airwaves is WiFi and Kitty ESP. After I explained that “cheesy” is like “cool”, and that Felder Rushing has a “cool”, but not “cheesy”, website/blog called Felder Rushing’s Blog: Gardening Wisdom and Whimsy, and that he gives “unique keynote lectures, workshops, and informal garden talks, coast to coast, for Master Gardeners (national, regional, and state levels), garden clubs, horticulture societies, botanic gardens, universities, library groups, banquets, and even ‘spouse entertainment’ events at various non-gardening conventions.”, Spunk was much more impressed, but he still doesn’t get the parts about radio and cheesy.

Felder learned about my blog from Susan Rushton.  Susan and I have followed each other’s blogs for a long time. Susan does fantastic photos of the most interesting flowers and gardens. Susan’s blog is Susan Rushton: Celebrating gardens, nature, photography and a creative life.


Dumpsta-Spunk Meowing at the Half Moon

For any of you who know Spunk Kitty, you will understand how Spunk will not be outdone by mice, birds, squirrels, and especially lizards and bullfrogs. Spunk was not very happy that I posted Froggyphunk, by Jeremiah and the Lizards, yesterday before he got a chance to pitch his song idea to me. When I got home this afternoon, I got an ear full from Spunk about me posting a song by a stupid bullfrog when he had a song in mind called Meowing at the Half Moon. He insisted I help him record his song that instant. I told him I was tired and that I would rather do it over the weekend. Spunk would have none of that “over the stupid weekend” talk, and told me he would “scratch my eyes out” if we did not record his song tonight. So Spunk and I went into my darkroom/music studio, played, meowed, mixed and produced Meowing at the Half Moon by Dumpsta-Spunk. Enjoy.

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Half moon from last night.

Unicorn Sparkle

Silver: “Unicorn Sparkle lip balm?”
Paparazzo: “It’s Mongo Kiss shimmering lip balm.” Silver:  “You want me to sparkle up my kisser with Mongo Kiss? You’re crazy paparazzo!”
Spunk: “Ooh! Mongo Kiss Unicorn Sparkle. I love this stuff!”