Rose Cuttings – October, 2007

It’s with mixed emotions that I watch the planting frenzy of Knock Out® roses in our landscapes. Modern breeders have heard the public outcry for disease-resistant, easy-to-grow roses and have created a success with the colorful Knock Out® roses. But, let’s not go overboard and have most of our banks and commercial buildings ringed with them and them alone. I think these types of landscapes are very predictable and in lacking imagination and design required in using a variety of plant material.

Many of old roses have the same wonderful qualities that Knock Out® roses have and in many cases are fragrant too, a quality that Knock Outs® lack. So consider the following in place of or with Knock Out®:

Perle d’Or, a fragrant apricot flowered four foot shrub.

Gruss an Aachen is a multicolored yellow to pink three foot shrub with large fragrant flowers.

Marie Pavie is an outstanding thornless three foot shrub with delicate pink buds that open to an intensely fragrant white rose.

There are many others including the modern shrubs, like Carefree Beauty, Caldwell Pink, Kristin Poulsen and Nearly Wild, which can compete with Knock Out® roses for shear jolts of color.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Knock Out® rose, but not to the exclusion of other roses that have history, fragrance and whose performance adds diversity to our landscapes. You can find Knock Out® roses at our nursery, but you will have to walk by many fragrant antique rose varieties to get to them.

About the author: Mike Shoup is owner of The Antique Rose Emporium, a Texas nursery dedicated to the reintroduction of old garden roses.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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