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Laguna Beach

 Volume 13, Issue 98  |  December 7, 2021

What makes this rose so special?

Janis Murray who lives in Old Top of the World may have more than just a green thumb, because her rose bush is quite remarkable. This is the first time it has grown a single stem to more than 8 and 1/2 ft. tall which finally bore one glorious red rose on top!

“We beat Ecuador, known for its roses, by more than four feet. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the tallest stem at 18 ft. 8 inches, grown in La Puente, California in 2017, so we’re on our way,” Murray said.

What makes this rose red bloom

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Photos courtesy of Janis Murray

The beautiful single red bloom on top of the 8 and 1/2 ft. stem

So, what’s Murray’s secret? Well, she actually was willing to share three.

–Secret 1: “The big secret is we have an adjacent, more than 100-year-old Pepper tree, three stories tall, with roots that give off a chemical (we don’t know what) that roses love, but most plants don’t. The lady we bought the house from in 2013 had roses around this tree and no matter how much we cut them back to seven inches each year, they always grew back. We are experienced gardeners, but not rose gardeners, so we replaced her roses with six citrus trees. All died within a year. They were not happy with the Pepper tree. So, we went with what worked and replaced the citrus trees with a new selection of 12 different kinds of roses from Roger’s Garden in Corona del Mar two years ago.”

–Secret 2: “We fertilize them with Miracle Gro every two weeks.”

–Secret 3: “We have each plant on an automatic water saving drip system of irrigation.”

What makes this rose Murray

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Janis Murray in her rose garden

Murray said all the roses are prolific in wonderful colors and around three feet tall, except this little one that just went for growing a single stem to more than right feet with only one bud at the top. They never pruned it, like they did the others, to see if the bud would flower and it did…in a beautiful bright red.

In addition, their front yard garden gets lots of morning sun as it rises from Saddleback Valley to their mountaintop aerie. It passes over their house by 12 p.m., having drenched the roses in light. Then the sunlight spends all afternoon nourishing their backyard vegetable garden full of cool season winter crops now like lettuces, carrots and radishes, among others. They live all winter on the vegetables her husband Dave plants and tends.

Glorious roses out front and vegetables in back. “We just had to figure nature out, as she can be vexing while amazing,” Murray shared.

Editor’s Note: We will check back with Janis Murray to see if she beats the Guinness Book.


Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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