In a previous post we talked about how The Knockout Rose changed the game in terms how we perceive roses. The Knockout Rose Family has taught many gardeners that garden roses are in fact quite easy to grow. But many of you ask what other great garden roses can we buy? And that is what this series of blog posts will be about.
As we continue through the winter and introduce you to other great garden rose collections, I want you to keep one thing in mind. No rose does brilliantly in all parts of the United States. This is a vast country with who knows how many micro-climates and because of that some of these roses may not do well for you. Don’t be disappointed or discouraged. That’s part of the fun of gardening. Trying different things to see what does and does not work. But overall these rose collections have been tested in various conditions and perform well. Most are hardy to zone five but some may not be so double check.
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way let’s move on to the roses!
I’d like to start with the Earth Kind Collection of Roses. While many of these roses are not new to commerce, they have been brought together by a vigorous testing program and those that pass muster receive the Earth-Kind Rose designation.
You can read more details on their website about how this comes about, but at the core of the program are the Field Trials which take place mostly in Texas. During the first year the roses are allowed to establish themselves with only water and mulch. For the next two years they are not sprayed or fertilized and only watered as needed. Coarse hardwood mulch is used every year as well.
From these trials emerge roses that are tough, disease and pest resistant and drought tolerant. They are also very nice garden roses in terms of beauty and even in the case of some fragrance. Just because a rose is a great garden rose does not mean it is not also a beautiful rose in its own right!
Earth Kind roses are beginning to be available in garden centers; at the moment mostly in the southwest around Texas. However, there is an excellent mail order source for Earth-Kind Roses and that is Chamblee Rose Nursery in Tyler, Texas. They ship around the country and I know from experience their quality is excellent! They generally stock the full range of Earth-Kind Roses.
If you grow and like Knockout you will also enjoy growing the Earth-Kind Roses. After all Knockout is also an Earth-Kind Rose!
I went to one of the big box stores who usually carry roses at this time of the year. The only roses they carried were the Knockouts. Bunches of them. Went to another big box store and ditto. While this rose is every much as they say it is (and I have a couple as well) will they become the only rose that one can find. Most of the business locations are landscaped Knockouts. Is it an epidemic?
Knockout hit the market just at the right time when everyone was looking for roses that were easier to care for. There are a whole host of great garden roses coming right behind it and I think over the next few years we will see more choices other than Knockout in terms of great garden roses. The recession really put the rose market on its head and it's taking a while to come out of it.
The big box stores tend to follow the current fashion. For a variety of roses try the mail order nurseries. They carry a much larger number of roses at a very reasonable price. They also carry roses from small breeders who don't have the large budgets to promote their roses.
Could not agree more!
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