Roses forum: Life beyond Knockouts?

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Aug 22, 2014 7:37 PM CST
Recently visited the Columbus Park of Roses and wrote a column about it ( for a local news outlet. It's focus was whether there was "life beyond Knockouts" for the average homeowner. Any thoughts? The local garden centers didn't seem to think so.
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Aug 22, 2014 8:13 PM CST


You might find this thread interesting:

The thread "I Hate Knock Out Roses" in Roses forum

We've all shared our opinions there.
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Plant and/or Seed Trader Permaculture Roses Ponds Peonies
Lilies Irises Daylilies Dog Lover Beekeeper Garden Ideas: Master Level
Aug 22, 2014 8:17 PM CST
Interesting article! I would like to visit Columbus Park after reading your description! Thumbs up
My Cape Diamond rose has gotten HUGE! It is at least 6 feet tall and 8 or 9 feet wide, and it is dense! It has not stopped blooming since June. No disease whatsoever, and for some reason, the grasshoppers have not bothered it. My garden is 100% organic, no spray of any kind, and actually this year I didn't do any feeding either. And very little watering other than rain. Pardy Hardy is not nearly as big.
I'm surprised the garden centers did not recommend Scarlet Carpet. That one gets almost 4' tall here. It's a non-stop bloomer with terrific disease resistance Sparkle and Shine is another on the short list of constant bloomers with no disease. The Oso Easy series, Easy Elegance and Drifts are all readily available here.
There are quite a few more that are descendants of Knock Outs that have improved flower form; it could be that your area is a better zone for growing roses so your nurseries have not had to seek them out. Since so many of the European countries and Canada have banned the chemicals Americans take for granted, the gardeners and hybridizers in those areas have paid more attention to disease resistance. Palatine nursery in Canada sells many of these disease resistant roses, and their website is a good resource for finding roses that have won awards for performance under no-spray conditions.
The Weeks catalog for next season lists a few new lovely roses that come from the Knock Out bloodline, so I wouldn't give up hope just yet.
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H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Aug 22, 2014 8:28 PM CST
The problem isn't that there are no new roses beyond the Knock Out roses. It's that with J & P and Weeks both going bankrupt, there are no professional breeding programs for roses in the United States.

Weeks was purchased out of bankruptcy by Gardens Alive and all of the new introductions with the Weeks brand name were roses that were in the pipeline prior to bankruptcy. Gardens Alive has maintained the growing fields in Wasco and is still distributing roses to many high end nurseries, but have let the breeding program go.

J & P is no longer wholesaling roses to nurseries as the company was bought by "capital investors" and for the land that was once used for the growing fields for J & P roses. They now get the roses sold under their brand name from subcontractors and the quality of the plants offered has gone way down. The new owners of J & P don't know roses and have come across as rather unethical in many respects, so the demand for J & P roses has gone way down. None of the roses patented by J & P prior to bankruptcy are being distributed through regular nurseries as far as I know.

Conard-Pyle, Star Roses, is the only other large national distributor of roses. They have the patent rights to the Knock Out Roses. They have been the agent for Meilland Roses since prior to WW II. Most of the roses they are introducing to the US have already been introduced by Meilland in Europe and they do not have an active breeding program. They are soliciting new roses for testing from what in the industry are called amateur breeders. That's where the Eyconic series of roses came from.

If you look at the Weeks website, the roses being offered for 2015 are primarily the older roses that are now out of patent.

However, there is a market for roses and several companies outside the US are establishing a foothold in the market.


I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.

Aug 25, 2014 9:09 AM CST
Thank you for all the replies - a wealth of information! New to this site...very helpful... looking forward to learning and contributing more.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Aug 25, 2014 11:09 AM CST

It's a fun site and I am looking forward to your participation.

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.

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