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Knockout Rose

Let me be clear: I am NOT a rose person.

I am not one of those “I am going to fuss and spray and baby and coddle a plant” kind of gardeners. Nope. Not going to do it. I take a Darwinist-approach to gardening. I like plants that thrive on neglect. Only the strong will survive under my watch. No wimpy, needy plants welcome. Period. End of story.

So, how did THIS shrub make it into my world?

I needed a solution to a problem.

The problem? The garden I inherited from the Prior Owner (A.K.A. Mr. “I-Got-Confused-And-Mistook-This-Low-Maintenance Yard-for a No-Maintenance-Yard”, yeah…him…) was a one-season wonder. It was all show and glow for about four weeks in the spring, and then it was brown and down. Blech. I wanted a garden that had year ’round interest.

The spot that needed some love was the perennial bed out back. The bed gets full sun and (depending which part of the bed you’re in) had a few different soil conditions going on in it. Other than the lavender, there wasn’t anything in bloom (oh, there is now. But that’s for other Floral Fridays. Patience!).

So, I needed something that a) would bloom in the summer b) thrive on neglect (it gets so hot here. You think I enjoy being out in 102 degree weather with 10000% humidity? Think again. I might walk out to see it in the wee hours of the morning before it gets hotter than the fire of a thousand suns, but that’s about it. I ain’t staying out there. Nope.).

What to plant? What to plant?!

When looking for a floral solution, I drive around to see what’s happening in OTHER people’s yards or visit my local botanical garden to see what’s thriving. As I motored around last year, I ended up noticing all the shrubs in the median in front of my house.

They are blasted by sun. They are blasted by heat. No one does a damn thing to them….and they look amazing….ALL SUMMER LONG.

Bingo. Problem solved. Answer right under my nose. Awesome.

Knockout roses have a lot of things going for them: they’re disease-resistant. They’re mildew-tolerant. They tolerate heat. They’ll tolerate drought. They’ll bloom until the first frost. They’re pretty. They even self dead-head. What’s not to love?!

Knockout roses grow to be about 3′ wide and 4′ tall and come in a lot of colors (red, pink, yellow, rose). There are some intense magenta-colored ones in the median by our house; I prefer the paler pink as shown in this weeks’ photo.

I’m planning a major installation in the fall for the foundation of the house. These guys have earned a spot out front.

What Knockout Roses like:

  • Full sun
  • Well-drained, fertile soil
  • To be planted about 4′ from each other, to allow for growth and air circulation
  • To be cut back about 12″ above the ground in early spring after the last hard frost