Archive for the ‘Roses’ Category


Did I mention there were orchids?

Here’s the problem with going to garden events, such as those I attended this weekend: You get so many ideas that you have to think about adding more space. Maybe I’ll expand my front gardens and add one of the hardy shrub roses Kathy Zuzek recommended, such as ‘Lillian Gibson’ or ‘Harrison Yellow‘. No, wait, how about ‘Candy Oh! Vivid Red,’ a variety hybridized by David Zlesak, a young U of M educator who has written for Northern Gardener.

Wait, maybe, instead I’ll add an herb garden, filled with the three kinds of basil and Lavendula ‘Hidcote‘ in a pot and a bunch of other herbs recommended by Theresa Mieseler of Shady Acres Herb Farm. No, wait, I’m going to plant that great big annual salvia, Yvonne’s Giant, which Donald Mitchell recommends for attracting hummingbirds. And, that doesn’t take into account the enthusiastic peony and dahlia gardeners I talked with Sunday at the MSHS Plant Society Day at Gertens.

So many ideas, so little space.


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Good news for lazy rose growers: Another KnockoutĀ® rose will be available next year, and this one is white. William Radler, the Milwaukee breeder who created the incredibly popular Knockout roses in his backyard, told a group of Midwest Master Gardeners that a new white rose, expected to be called WhiteOut, will be introduced in 2009. Radler’s organization, Rose Innovations, is also prepping a new verbena, called Sweet Thing, for the marketplace in 2009.

Knockout roses are bred for gardeners with limited time and less inclination to fuss. They require no spraying and no winter cover, just a little fertilizer and water. Radler and his crew gave the master gardeners an inside look at how they develop these tough roses. Radler’s yard/lab, located in suburban Milwaukee, is planted with 1,400 roses, 500 of which are replaced each spring because they could not make the cut. To develop extremely hardy roses, Radler treats them in the worst ways possible. He waters from sprinklers at night several times a week to encourage disease. He intermittently dusts them with a powder made of leaves of other diseased roses. They get one treatment with fertilizer a year. Those that survive might become Knockouts, which also have to be self-cleaning, meaning they drop their petals naturally to keep a neat appearance, and, of course, they have to look good. In addition to the shrub-type roses, Radler is working on developing a sturdy, disease resistant hybrid tea rose.

A Knockout hybrid tea is still several years away, but the visit to Radler’s prompted some discussion among the master gardeners. Apparently some enthusiastic (fanatic?) rose growers don’t like Knockouts because they make gardeners believe roses are “easy,” said one of the master gardeners, who is a rose grower herself. But she liked the Knockouts because they introduced gardeners to roses–and once they were interested and had success with Knockouts, they could move on to other roses.

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Oprah’s Rose

She influences the best-seller lists, dabbles in presidential politics, and tells American women how to think about themselves….and now, what to plant in their gardens. Oprah Winfrey is introducing a rose. Called “The Legends” in honor of 18 African-American women leaders and pioneers, Oprah’s rose is a large, hybrid tea rose with big, bright red blooms. It’s is being offered in pre-release by California-based Regan Nursery, before its wider release in 2009. The rose was developed–based on Oprah’s preferences–by hybridizer Tom Carruth, who has hybridized nine previous All-America Rose winners. For the rose fiends among us, here is the parentage of the rose: (City of San Francisco x Olympiad) x [Amalia x (Ingrid Bergman x All That Jazz)].

While roses seem a bit of a stretch even for Oprah’s brand, she joins a long line of famous folk, living and dead, who have roses named for them. Yes, The Legends isn’t exactly named for Oprah, but what do you think people will ask for when they buy it at their local nursery?

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Frost on a Rose

frost-on-rose.jpgWe’ve had two mornings in a row with significant frost and the thermometer on my deck showed about 30 degrees F at 9 a.m. today. The flowers, especially the tender annuals, are getting nipped, but frost looks becoming on this just-opening rose.

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