August 18, 2008

Knock Out® Roses

Our Knock Out® Roses were planted in September 2005 after the house was built. Our landscaper planted seven along the inside of our fence in the cottage garden. I'll share with you the progression of our roses over the last few years from planting until today.

While waiting for the fence to arrive for installation, I had to cover the small roses with deer net to prevent our wildlife residents from munching the new shrubs.

The following summer, we got to enjoy the blooms of our 'Radrazz' which is a cherry red color. The flat cup rose blooms are a medium size. This rose is hardy in zones 5-9, according to the plant care information. This photo was taken in June 2006, so you can see the size without any pruning at all.

The following photo was taken in October 2006. Yes, these roses bloom in cycles from April/May until frost here in zone 7b. Our roses are planted in full sun, southern sky exposure. In this location, ours will keep their leaves until January or February.

When our roses were planted, our landscaper installed a drip irrigation system. I've not used the system much at all. Mostly it was used during the establishment of the roses in 2005 and not much since then. Even during last year's long drought, I seldom used the supplemental watering. These roses were tough survivors, although the blooms were diminished during the drought--which is expected as the roots need the energy to keep the plants alive.

During the summer of 2007, I discovered another enemy of roses. Japanese beetles! I was totally unprepared for the complete destruction of foliage and blooms. We went on vacation and came back to find that the roses were stripped down to the canes. As such, the poor roses had to recover without any help from me. As previously mentioned, we then entered a very long drought that lasted until March 2008. Since I can find no photos of the roses during that time period, I can only assume that they were in recovery.

In April 2008, the foliage looked fantastic as the spring colors started popping in the cottage garden. Just a few days after this next photo, the blooms started coming on strong. The roses came through the drought without any long-term problems.

By May, the lavender, dianthus, roses and clematis were putting on a wonderful show in the cottage garden:

Other than deer and Japanese beetles, I've had no other problems with these roses. There has been no black spot or any other rose disease concerns. The roses have been carefree. I feed them with Plant-tone. You don't have to deadhead these roses as they are self-cleaning. However, I deadheaded this year when the Japanese beetles returned to reduce the appeal. I also used Neem oil mixed with dish liquid and water to fend off the Japanese beetles. I was pleased with the results as an organic solution. It wasn't 100% successful. I still had some damage which I pruned off so that the roses could come back out again.

Now, it is August and the Knock Out® Roses 'Radrazz' are blooming beautifully! The roses have totally recovered from the beetles, after I severely pruned off the damage. I gave the roses a helping of Plant-tone after the severe pruning. I timed it just before a heavy rain. I expect to enjoy these wonderful blooms through October.

If we didn't have deer, I would plant these roses throughout my outer garden.

Happy Gardening!
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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