The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Gardening Projects - Enjoying the Best KnockOut and Hybrid Tea Roses.


Wherever we go, people talk about having KnockOut roses. Our helper said, "Everyone has KnockOuts, but you know how to take care of them."

The KnockOut roses, developed for being disease free and easy care, were the second ones in the main rose garden. The first were eight roses from a QVC special - $8 each. The red KnockOut roses in the peak of their growth, budding, and flowering, are impressive. Their flowers, unlike those of previous easy care roses, are small versions of hybrid tea roses.

Trimming the fading blooms from this
KnockOut rose hedge would intensify the color
and create new buds.


The Jackson Rose Farm Difference
Pruning was the first activity this spring. KnockOuts grow and bloom fast, producing a wealth of color. But that growth is also their doom if they are left alone. They need aggressive pruning to match their growth.

We pruned the entire garden first so all roses would be relieved of dead wood, blooms going to seed, and crossed branches. The KnockOuts lost about 50% of their total growth. Pruning is counter-intuitive for beginning gardeners but matches John 15 precisely.

John 15 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

The difference in the actions in John 15 is the removal of the unfruitful from the Kingdom of God versus the cleansing - justification by faith - among the believers, the fruitful. The comparison with growing grapes or roses is exact because the Words come from the Creating Word. Meanwhile, gardeners with good intentions but bad information think otherwise. They think pruning hurts the plant when those actions actually benefit the rose, energize its growth, and make it beautiful.

A KnockOut rose bush is going to have at least 50 buds and flowers - so much for the good. There is no easy care rose that displays so much color at once. However, the downside is having 50 fading, drying, drooping roses on each bush. A very heavy rain can have the same effect - too much water for the spongy plant.

I told our physician - "The hospital KnockOuts look so bad, I am embarrassed for them." He was having the same problem at home and asked for advice.

  1. After a torrential rain (once they have dried out), KnockOuts need to be pruned by about 50%. 
  2. Once their blooms have peaked, they need all the flowers removed at once.

Both actions will eliminate the color for a time but bring in back by the truckload. At times I feel like Dr. House on House MD, with the staff yelling, "No! That will kill the patient! Are you sure we should go ahead with this?" So I reassure the entire staff (one person) while hacking away at the roses.

Like John 15, the branches cut away are removed and thrown in the garbage. Otherwise the cuttings have a chance to spread disease.

Pink Peace blooms in abundance with very large flowers -
not a florist shop flower.


Hybrid Tea Roses and the Grandiflora Queen Elizabeth
The rest of the roses grow more slowly and bloom with extravagantly large flowers. Mrs. Ichabod is completely spoiled by them now. When I have to buy some roses at Walmart or at a florist, the difference is remarkable - the flowers are grown in a greenhouse, are already partially dried out,  and have generic blooms rather than spectacular ones.

I prune the hybrid tea and grandiflora Queen Elizabeth roses by giving away flowers, right and left. The pruning is great for the bush itself and fun for the appreciation elicited. Once I tossed a bunch of the cut flowers on the lawn as I searched for the best ones on the altar. Our helper came by, as I wrote once before, and said, "What are these? I am taking them home!" He had a bouquet for his wife, who loves having fresh roses. We had a bouquet already on the altar.

In cutting flowers I also spot troublesome areas, so I cut them away at the same time.

Creationist Dr. Walter Lammerts
was not known for his fashion sense,
but he is a legend in rose development -
Queen E. and the Chrysler Imperial.


More NICU Visits at the Main Garden and Fence Garden
If a newly planted rose is behind the others, I give it generous amounts of rain water (or stored water) and do a bit of pruning. A fresh rose bed is a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The bare root roses have to establish their new roots, pump water into the canes, and start to get energy from the newly sprouting leaves.

Meanwhile, the spring winds rush through the plants and dry out the canes.

I look for new roses that have not popped out their leaves. I use the wheelbarrow to haul rainwater in a waste basket and pour some all over the canes and into the ground. I also prune bits of cane that seem to be drying out. Those sections will never grow so they are best trimmed away. A truly asleep rose may need green canes trimmed to wake it up.

The Queen Elizabeth bud
produces an enchanting flower.


Beneficial Sunflowers Planted in Wide Rows
Our helper raked open wide rows for planting sunflowers in the back. Although the area is a bit shaded, the flowers will attain some height, flower, and host a collection of beneficial insects. Sunflowers are especially early with EFN - extra floral nectar - that attracts and supports beneficial insects. That is also why I resist cutting the clover short, since it is flowering, providing nectar and pollen early in the season.

Hosta La Vista
Mr. Gardener had some extra hosta plants, so he gave me a clump. As he was digging along our fence, he said, "Earthworms everywhere!" I said, "You are living off my earthworm investment." He agreed.

I took his clump of hosta and soaked it in rainwater in the wheelbarrow, a favorite place to start plants.

The clay fell off the plants to the point where I could turn one clump into five starts in the shade amid the wild strawberry plants. There the hosta will get plenty of water and grow into clumps I can transplant into the Wild Garden.

Peace may remain a favorite forever;
it is often the first rose mentioned by gardeners.