Did you know that Knock Out roses are controversial? Well, maybe the average person doesn't sit around knocking Knock Out roses, but a lot of rosarians do just that!
Why? Well, it's complicated.
First, let me explain to you why I love Knock Out roses:
1) Very blackspot resistant. Amazingly so! I was made aware just how much one rainy fall when all my roses looked absolutely horrible, except the Knock Outs. They looked great! The difference was quite impressive.
2) Widely available. They are easy to find. Sometimes the hardest part of growing roses is getting the roses!
3) They are easy to keep. I give these roses no respect. I prune with electric hedgers, plant them too close together, put them in shady areas, and generally treat them like an unwanted guest. But they take it and keep on blooming. Which is what I expect of them! I wouldn't treat my other roses like that!
So, if they are such great roses, what could be the controversy? Well, a very smart woman once told me "Your greatest asset is also your greatest liability." If you think about that, it starts to make sense. Let me show you:
1) Very blackspot resistant. They are so well known to be blackspot resistant, that people forget these are roses. And roses can be picky. There are some areas of the country that, for some reason, these roses didn't get the memo and perform horribly. And it's not immune to other rose diseases, either, so again, every garden is different and this may or may not be the right rose for your particular place.
2) Widely available. This is a big part of the controversy. Because they are so widely available, other roses are getting pushed out. Many garden centers offer no other choice of roses. And if other roses are not sold, it affects everyone from the hybridizers to the rose suppliers. And eventually to the roses, so many of which are rare or extinct already. It also seems there is a Knock Out used in almost every landscape. Rose lovers know there are so many other roses to choose from, but it's difficult to find them.
3) They are easy to keep. What could be bad about this one? Well, in rose talk, this is a "landscape rose". Meaning, a rose that looks pretty (and is easy to keep), but does not evoke that sense of love and wonder that a rose should and could. A rose that you fall in love with. A rose that you want to sink your nose into. A rose that you want to build a garden around. A rose that takes your breath away. Rose love. Rosarians are not keen on roses that don't give you that sense of rose love.
My Knock Outs surprised me this year. The drought and heat affected them more than any of my other roses. They looked absolutely horrible, and are just now beginning to recover. I was beginning to wonder if I was going to have to replace them. I have several Knock Out roses, and while I may not have a true sense of rose love for them, I do have respect and admiration for their hard working nature. If my Knock Outs had not recovered, I'm not sure if I would have replaced them with more Knock Outs.
But, thankfully, I don't have to make that decision right now. Because they have recovered. And they are blooming, once again revealing their reliability.
Do you have an opinion about Knock Outs? I'd love to hear it!
And in case you were curious, I finished painting in the bedroom. Here's a tiny peek:
What do you think?