Hard to believe The Knock Out® Rose was introduced just 13 years ago. In that brief time it has completely changed the way American Gardeners think about, and use, roses. It has also given gardeners confidence they can grow roses without all the complicated care regimes many books talk about.
The company behind The Knock Out® Rose is Conard-Pyle. They are affiliated with Star Roses, and in fact from your perspective you are likely more familiar with the Star Roses name so hence forward I’ll refer to them that way. On the heels of The Knock Out family of roses they also released the Drift Series of roses. These are excellent low growing almost ground-cover roses. I’ve planted a nice bed of The Red Drift® roses at our Church and I’m very pleased with how they perform.
Star Roses continues to build on the success of these two families of roses with new releases. More importantly they continue to build on that success by applying the same standards to their new releases. Simply put, they are healthy and easy to grow. I’d like to talk about four of their new releases for next spring.
Popcorn Drift® – The newest in the Drift Series, this delightful rose is aptly named. It starts off a soft yellow and then fades to a creamy white. Occasionally some blush pink is to be found. The overall effect is that of buttered popcorn, hence the name.
Expect a rose that will grow to about 1.5′ in height and spread to about 2.5′. For mass planting space them about 2′ apart and let them grow into each other. I find the Drift Series have the best impact when planted in multiples that are allowed to grow, and are treated, as one plant. I would advise a minimum of three – even for a flower border. The rose blooms from spring to fall and is easily grown in zones 5-11.
Another great use for The Drift series of roses is using them in hanging baskets. Don’t expect a full cascade over the sides of the pot, but they will softly fall over the edge.
Dee-Lish® – The two questions I get quite a bit are;
“Why don’t roses have fragrance anymore?”
“I’d like a rose that looks, well, more like a rose!?”
Two very good questions and while I’d argue that the latter is more a matter of personal taste as to what a rose “looks like”, I understand the questions. To most gardeners a rose should have lots of petals. You’ll get no argument from me on fragrance. I love roses with fragrance and I’m sure most of you do as well.
Dee-Lish® hits the mark on both counts. It’s a tall Hybrid Tea with an old-fashioned flower. And yes, it’s fragrant! Not just a little fragrant – strongly fragrant. It grows from 6′-7′ in height, blooms spring to fall and is good for zones 5-9.
Look-A-Likes® Hydrangealicious – A very interesting and unique rose. The appeal is in the mass effect of the blooms, not necessarily in the individual ones themselves. It bears densely flowered clusters of small red blooms with a white eye. The affect, as the name implies, is that of a hydrangea bloom.
It’s low growing to about 2′ in height with a spread of 2.5′-3′. It’s grows in zones 5-9.
The interesting thing about this roses is that it does not repeat flower well. You grow it more for the initial spring flush, which is quite stunning. For this reason it’s best planted in flower borders with other perennials, shrubs and roses.
Before you say to yourself, “Why would I buy a rose that only blooms in spring” I would ask you to consider a few things. First of all the spring flowering roses put on a show in spring that frankly few repeat flowering roses can equal. I guess because they know they have only one shot at it, they give it everything they have. I grow many for that reason alone. Additionally, you probably grow lots of plants that flower only once a season. As you learn the art of gardening you find ways to incorporate them into your planting. This is the approach you should use with the spring flowering roses.
Look-A-Likes® Phloxy Baby – This is a Polyantha Hybrid and that to me is just one of the things that makes it interesting. Polyantha roses have been around for quite a while. Perhaps the most well known one is a rose called ‘The Fairy’. They all make terrific garden roses, and the fact new ones are being hybridized and introduced is very exciting.
Phloxy Baby makes a shrub about 5.5′ tall and 4-5′ wide. It will bloom from spring to fall. The individual blooms are not large and are single but the effect is the mass of them. It will make a great hedge, mass planting and can be used in borders.
Star Roses are available widely through garden centers nationwide. You can also visit their website and click on the “Find a Retailer” button in the top right hand corner. Look for these roses to start showing up in garden centers this coming spring.