I just read from the November-December 2012 issue of The Capital Rose, the newsletter of Arlington Rose Federation that the “Word in the rose industry is that the Hybrid Tea, Grandiflora and Floribunda are slowly moving up to the forefront as the favorite consumer rose sale. Many are becoming less enamored with the “non-maintenance” types. Disease has affected some plantings that lack total maintenance. In particular, the dense, untouched mass plantings. Rose Rosette disease has also devastated many public plantings of the low maintenance types, rarely leaving a few plants unscathed.”
I do agree with the current sentiments. When we bought our townhouse, they planted four Blushing Knockouts in front of my house. Knockout roses have been planted everywhere in my development by the landscaper. By the time we moved here permanently last year, my Blushing Knockouts were totally pathetic with few ratty blooms. As an American Rose Society Consulting Rosarian, I felt it was an embarrassment for me to have such a disgraceful front yard. So I dug them all up this spring and started to put in other roses instead. I planted fragrant roses with eye-catching colors. I walked around the neighborhood and the Knock Out roses were in terrible shape except for the newly planted ones this year. The old plantings are either in terrible shape or practically dead.
When Knockout roses were introduced years ago, I was lucky to be a member of the Garden Writers Association and came home with 2 Knockouts and 3 Blushing Knockouts from one of their symposia. They all did very well the first 3 years but after that lost their appeal. To be honest, I never really liked them because there is no fragrance and it lacks the beauty of the hybrid tea. Some of them get blackspots later in the season.
In my new garden, I don’t have Knockouts. I rather have Old Garden Roses. They are low maintenance also and they are fragrant. I like Hybrid Teas and if they get blackspot, so what. They are the standard of the true beauty of a rose and recently some of them are now hybridized for disease resistance. When you work hard for something, the reward is always great. If the rose was to be no maintenance, it would be like an ordinary plant. We wouldn’t need any standard at all. Do we want to go that route? Why do we need a rose society if you can just plant a rose and forget it. Any fool can grow them. There is no need for Consulting Rosarians. You don’t have to be a member of a rose society. Why pay $45 to ARS or $20 to a local society? What for? The American Rose Society will be irrelevant. I don’t think that’s what we are aiming for. Will that be the end of the American Rose Society as we know it?
Roses are not difficult to grow contrary to popular belief as long as you know what they need. Why do you think Roses have been around for millions of years? All they need are food, water and sunlight. Just like you and me.
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