Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Home; New Rose

A young friend of mine closed on a house recently and is eagerly anticipating spring landscaping for the first time. He asked me to recommend a rose--something easy and that would not grow too large. For a second my mind raced over dozens of possibilities, but then I settled on a sure bet and said, "Any of the Knock Out roses will give you tons of color, and they are completely fuss free." "Sounds perfect!" my friend said. But is it?
From the above photo you can see the deep, blue-tinged foliage and the juicy raspberry color of the Knock Out rose. Other colors are available now, including a pastel version called Rainbow Knock Out. They are not fragrant, which is a huge strike against them in my opinion. I live for the heavenly scent of roses.
My first rose garden featured Madame Hardy and Felicite Parmentier, two heirloom varieties that bloom gloriously in spring for a few sweetly scented weeks and then are gone for the rest of the year. Most years thrips would find their way into the hearts of the pale, fragrant blossoms, causing them to shatter and shortening their season even more. Other years some of the many-petaled buds would ball and turn to mush. It is a challenge to celebrate the blooms I do get, while bouncing back from each year's inevitable disappointments. Growing a variety of different roses helps. Each of the different types of roses have their own charms to recommend them, and often when one rose does poorly, another will thrive. But some years are mighty disappointing.
I finally added Knock Out to my own garden because I wanted something to be always, reliably in bloom. I wanted a rose that wouldn't drop all its leaves with black spot late every summer. I wanted one rose that would never let me down. Knock Out is that rose.
I hope my friend will be very happy with his new home--and his new roses! Knock Out rose photo by JulenaJo.


  1. That is a gorgeous rose. Since you're giving rose advice would you have time to look at www.cornhillnursery.com and see if you recognise any of their roses that you would recommend? They are 2 hours from me and grow only hardy zone 3-4 roses. There are SO many choices! I need about 3, bush-shrub types, nice smells and preferably long blooming.For full sun or part shade around the pond. As the snow gets deeper and deeper, studying my garden catalogs is keeping me sort of sane.

  2. Kathi, I will be glad to. Give me a couple of days to look at the catalog. It's got a lovely selection!