Interview with Author Joe Truskot.....Part Three

Joe Truskot, author of the Central Coast Rose Manual, please tell us about some of your other accomplishments.

I’m most proud of the number of concerts and events I’ve produced over the years from Cabaret Pops concerts in Salinas, to Candlelight Christmas Concerts at the Carmel Mission, to a long list of wonderful musical performances of the Monterey Symphony. I have profound love of classical music and those talented folks that produce it. This passion is currently manifesting itself as one of Central Coast Public Radio, KUSP 88.9FM on air hosts. Tune in every Friday at 8:00 p.m. for OnSite. I guess I’m doing pretty well in this new endeavor as the board and staff of KUSP made me their “Pataphysician of the Year” at their recent annual meeting. I was really quite honored.

I was also named “Director Emeritus” by the Association of California Symphony Orchestra after having served on its board of directors for most of my twenty-one years in California. I had the great pleasure of serving on the National Steinbeck Center’s board of directors during the time we raised the money and built the Center at One Main Street, in Salinas.

What do you like to do in your spare time, that is, if you have any.

My other past-times include designing and sewing quilt tops. I send my creations back to Ohio to have some Amish friends finish them and then make them available for sale out here. I’ve been a potter since my college days and many of those creations can be seen in my garden. I’ve also been a collector of vintage postcards on and off since I was twelve. My latest endeavor in this realm has been research on one of the art world’s least appreciated flower painters German Catharina Klein (1861-1928). She was during her time one of the most successful commercial artists. You may know her work, but I’m confident that you’ve seen her remarkable paintings. At any rate, to read more about her and view some of what I think are the best paintings of roses, check out:

Do you have any pets at home?

In 2002, a black and white, bobtail cat wandered into my rose garden and my life. I was fifty-two years old and had never had a pet of my own. I called him “Princess” for the first six months until my vet said, “You need to pick another name. This is a neutered male.” So he got butched up with “Buddy.” It was a gradual process though, his moving in. I decided to feed him, but he would remain an outdoor cat. It wasn’t long before I was in the pet food aisle, scratching my chin. “Would he prefer Country Home Dinner or Mariner’s Platter. Oh hell. I’ll just buy both.” Then, one day while I was paying my bills at my dining room table, I heard this very curious sound. What could it be? Snoring? Sure enough, the cat that would never be welcome indoors was on the chair next to me, four paws to the sky, sound asleep. I was afraid of what he might do if I startled him. So I continued my task and he snored away for an hour or so more, then opened his eyes, sat up, stretched, looked at me, meowed, jumped down and walked out the open patio sliding door. In 2007, Buddy brought Freddy a rib-cage showing, abandoned older kitten to the food bowl. Hidden from their view, I watched as Buddy showed him the dish and encouraged him to eat with an expression that said, “Yeah, help yourself. Every time the kibbles get low that big guy comes out and fills it back up again without me doing anything.”

Joe, please describe the contents of the book and the benefits of owning it.

The Central Coast Rose Manual is divided into three parts. The first section contains the prefatory remarks and general information on the needs of rose bushes. The second and largest part is a month-by-month guide on what you should do in the garden at that time. The final part is a series of informative articles on many of the challenges (insects, diseases, etc.) that we all face and offers many solutions. The book extols the value of organic gardening and environmentally safe practices. It is also written with a great deal of personal narrative; thus, the subtitle “Creating a Personal Rose Garden.” The chummy prose style adds a degree of warmth to what can be a pretty cold iteration of garden do’s and don’ts. Most of my close friends say they hear my voice talking through the entire book which, I suppose, is logical because it is ME talking through the entire book.

How can people find your book and why should they buy it?

Several very supportive folks have been behind the success of this project. It was amazing how quickly certain outlets jumped on the opportunity of offering the Central Coast Rose Manual and other’s rejected it. You can buy a copy at the following great stores:

River House Books, Carmel

Wild Bird Center, Del Monte Center, Monterey

Old Monterey Book Company, Monterey

Bokay Nursery, Hitchcock Road, Salinas

Wisteria Antiques & Gardens, Soquel

Alladin’s Nursery & Garden Center, Watsonville

The Garden Company, Mission Avenue, Santa Cruz

Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz

The following Public Libraries also have it on their shelves: Salinas, Carmel, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Santa Cruz, Gilroy and several other branches of the Santa Clara Library System.

Thank you, Joe Truskot, for a very informative and personal look into your fascinating life.

by Joyce Oroz


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