My sister recently relocated her family, is planning her gardens at her new home, and asked my two-cents on her plan. My first thought was, “where are the roses?” She said she’s tried roses numerous times at different addresses in different states (yes, she’s had to move more than once), and never had success.
I’ve written about roses a few times now – Companion planting and Craigslist are two of my favorite blogs mentioning them – but I’ve never mentioned how much I love Knock Out® roses. These are landscape roses. In other words the roses bushes you see growing in gravel in shopping mall parking lot medians are probably Knock Out® roses.
They were bred from the roses that grow wild in Europe and used for centuries as hedgerows. They’re super-tough, easy to grow, need little care, and have smaller blossoms and more subtle scent. Typically rose aficionados favor highly bred roses with huge blooms that are so disease-prone they require weekly spraying. (Info source)
It was a Wisconsin gardener, William Radler, who in the 1990s decided to use wild dog roses to develop repeat-blooming, cold-hardy roses that resist disease. And so the Knock Out® came to be. It is the fastest selling new rose in history with 250,000 sold when it was first introduced in 2000.
What’s really cool about Radler is that he is also a philanthropist. He supports Milwaukee’s Boerner Botanical Gardens, the American Rose Society as well as gay and political causes. “I hope my legacy is letting people know not to hesitate on doing what that little voice inside tells you to do,” Radler said. “By seeking that out, you’ll be rewarded with enjoyment and you might luck out like I did.” More info about Radler
This year I purchased three Rose Double Knock Out® from Costco for the garden bed near my front doorway. Just beautiful. Great price. Already blooming and flourishing.
I haven’t given up, Kris. I’m going to talk you into roses yet.
If you are interested in learning more: History of the Knock Out rose by Walter Reeves