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Roses at the WhiteGate Inn

Roses always seem to reach peak bloom at Mother’s Day here in Asheville. The featured rose today is the Knockout Rose, single pink flowered variety in the photograph.

This bush is in our side garden next to the stream. I had read about this new variety 4 years ago and planted this one as soon as I saw one in a nursery.
It has become my favorite rose because it truly does not get diseases and does not seem to attract pests, even the japanese beetle. It will bloom periodically from now to frost. The second year of the Knockout series brought a red, white, and double petaled red. I now have 3 of the double reds and they look a lot like the typical hybrid tea roses. Good for cutting as well. Last year brought a new variety that is pink with a yellow center. I will definitely find a place for this one in the garden.

I have also planted 4 of the pink varieties at the Asheville Community Theater in a garden that I maintain for the Asheville Men’s Garden Club. These bushes received no extra water last season and grew and bloomed very well. Most roses need a lot of water to perform well but the Knockout series seems to adapt well to minimal water. I have planted my knockouts in the perennial borders and no longer have a specific “rose garden”. Nine years ago I had a rose garden with about 16 hybrid tea roses but gradually lost these over the years to disease and neglect. Hybrid teas require a lot of spraying with fungicide and past wet seasons required spraying almost every 3 days to prevent leaf drop. Also a lot of water and fertilizer are needed for hybrid teas. The one surviving rose in this area is a David Austin yellow variety in full bloom now. It is a vigorous climber and is growing up into a Little Gem magnolia, now starting to bloom with fragrant white magnolia blooms. Our 1905 Bungalow under restoration shows in the background. Renovations should be completed by late summer.

I am also starting to grow more antique and heritage roses in the WhiteGate gardens. They are very hardy, resistant to disease, and once established need less water. Frank and I had a great field trip last Saturday to Ashdown Roses in Campobello, SC. They were having their annual rose festival and had a number of other plant vendors selling as well. I enjoyed listening to a series of lectures related to roses and perennials. I did come away with 4 rose bushes, 1 climber and 3 shrub varieties, all antique varieties. Now I just have to figure out where they will go in the garden! I will also be planting 2 of my favorite climbers, “Don Juan”, a great red and “New Dawn” a soft pink, as soon as I find nice specimens locally. They will go in next to our handicapped parking spot and will be trained to grow along the railing.

The last rose I wanted to talk about is a great climber called “Fourth of July” that I have planted along a fence next to the WhiteGate carriage house. The picture shows it in full bloom. What a great color splash as noted by the individual flower. It has been in the ground 4 years and has covered about 10 feet of fence and is rambling through a viburnum.

Roses make a great addition to any garden and with the endless choices of easy care roses they should be used anywhere you have the space and enough sun.

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