|The petals on the ground show this KnockOut hedge|
is not pruned often enough.
Sassy was ready for a 6 AM walk, so we took off for a tour of the area. She met a fireman, a neighbor new to us, and Almost Eden with his new dog Opie. Sassy chose the route and enjoyed the early morning attention.
We are done with the first bloom of KnockOut roses, and the results are grim. Mine are pruned of most fading blooms, so the ones remaining are vibrant. Many new buds are forming and others are opening to a full bloom.
KnockOuts grow fast, bloom fast, and fade fast. The first large plant to bloom in the neighborhood was a large KnockOut, double red. That was the kind I first saw and bought to supplement our TV roses from QVC.
The large KnockOut was stunning when it bloomed, but now no one has pruned it at all. The blooms are either dull and dropping off or already involved in producing seed. The first link I clicked on said they need no pruning at all, "plant it and forget it."
In contrast, I have 8 spoiled, productive KnockOut roses - 4 red, 2 pink, and 2 white. This is how I dote on them and get brilliant, abundant blooms:
- Our helper and I cut each bush in half at the beginning of the season. I had to talk him off the ledge, because he thought that was bad for the roses. All trimmings were thrown away, to prevent disease. This early encourages fresh new growth above and below ground.
- The KnockOuts have layers of wood mulch surrounding them now, very few weeds, and a zillion red wiggler earthworms below. Foot traffic is infrequent among the roses. All this is done to preserve the fungal connections and the root growth of the roses.
- When it does not rain as much as I wish, the KnockOuts are showered with hose water to clean them and given supplemental water with hidden soaker hose connections.
- The first stage of pruning is giving away as many roses as possible. KnockOuts are often blended with hybrid tea roses, simply because hybrid teas are slow to bloom and KnockOuts never stop. I cut long-stemmed roses and look for doubles and triples, or branches with buds. The buds do not open up at that stage, but this kind of aggressive cutting promotes plenty of new growth. Joy shared is joy doubled, as the Germans say.
- When I cut roses for the altar, friends, doctors, and neighbors, I look for two enemies of rose growth and health - dead wood and spent blooms. Nothing will grow on dead wood and it slows down growth. Spent blooms are going to seed, so they slowly turn the rose from blooming to reproduction - a bad change and all too easy to foster with neglect. You want to plant and forget - buy a bag of clover.
- Best of all - I do not fertilize since the earthworms do that for me. They are custom built by God to manure the entire bed if I keep it moist and full of food for them. Mulch slowly rots, thanks to fungus, and the earthworms reproduce with reckless abandon.
- Even better - I do not spray for insect pests or Black Spot. Insecticides and fungicides kill the creatures that work relentlessly for me.
|To save money, I got mystery roses,|
including two of Bride's Dream for $5 each.
|One Chrysler Imperial in a bud vase|
beats a dozen daisey.
|Europeana clusters - a floribuda.|
|Barbra Streisand is a bit stingy with the blooms|
so far this year.
|Peace remains very popular|
with more children - varieties -
than a thoroughbred horse.