War of the Roses

Roses are both over 13 feet high

Two San Diego couples are competing for the title of the world's tallest rose bush.

San Diego couple Paul and Sharon Palumbo of San Diego hold the current Guinness World Record, at 13 feet 3 inches, for the tallest self-supported rose bush. Two friends of theirs in La Jolla, Lia and Ken Johnson, though, are "growing for the record," the La Jolla Light reported.

The day before Halloween, Lia assembled a notary, horticulturist and witnesses to measure the tea rose she bought for five bucks nine years ago from Home Depot. The other roses they bought at the time are growing normally.

The crowd of people was necessary to petition the Guinness folks, who won't make a ruling for several months. To Lia, it was all worth it, however: Her bush was officially measured at 13 feet 10 inches.

Lia has a theory on why this bush is reaching for the heavens: her two Maltese dogs, Bunny and Nella, like to, um, fertilize them.

"That probably is the reason," Deborah Clarke, the horticulturist on hand for the measurement, told the paper. "Roses love acidic soil, and the urine of these two female dogs is highly acidic.... Also, there's a high acid drop from the Japanese Black Pine tree above the rose."

Normally, tea roses reach 5 to 8 feet, according to Clarke.

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