Growing Knock Out Roses!

Here is a post on growing one of my favorite, and most beautiful, plants. Super simple even for the novice gardener!! 

Check out Knock Out Roses...trust me, your neighbors will be impressed even though you will spend little time on these amazing plants!

How NOT to transplant a tree....

About 9 or 10 years ago a little pin oak sprouted next to my house.  I kind of ignored it but noticed after a few years that it was a rather nice looking, straight tree...only problem was it was waaaay to close to my house.  Unfortunately, by then it was already 6' tall. 

I decided I would transplant him.  Really, how hard could it be?  HAHAHAHAHA!  Are you KIDDING!  

First, the sucker had a serious root system.  So even after digging  for a few hours, I could barely get him to budge.  So Brian and I carefully padded the trunk of the tree, wrapped a chain around it, and pulled him out of the ground with the truck. We ripped the root system to shreds and the padding slipped so we scarred the crud out of the trunk.  

But inspite of the injuries, I was determined to save the poor little thing. 

So I began digging a hole to plant him in.  My yard has decent top soil...for maybe six inches.  After that it is clay and rock.  So again, after digging for several hours, I finally gave up.  I shoved the tree roots in the hole that was about 1/2 the size it needed to be, filled it with water and backfilled the hole.  I figured we probably killed the stupid thing by yanking the roots and ripping the bark.  Cramming the roots in a tiny hole probably wasn't going to make a difference. 

Today, 8 years later, it is the prettiest tree in my yard. 

Here is a picture I took in 2009..... 

july 2009

I planted him in front of my bedroom window and next to the side garden so he would eventually shade the hosta bed. 

Only 4 years after that picture was taken, this is him today..... 

June 2013

I honestly don't think we could have bought a prettier tree. 

Four years ago, right before the first picture was taken, we had a horrific three day ice storm.  The tree destruction in our area was ungodly!  One of the large pines (to the left of this tree) actually fell on my house and the entire yard was knee deep in limbs. 

After the first day of ice and sleet, this little guy was literally bent in half.... his top was almost touching ground.  I just knew, inspite of his miracle transplanting, the ice was certainly going to do him in. 

Brian and I went out in the sleet and ice and beat the branches with brooms to break off the ice.  He straightened up a bit but the damage seemed pretty severe.  Every day we would go out and try to get as much of the ice off as we could! 

Amazingly, he survived the ice storm, never lost a limb and straightened up within a matter of days.  Today he is thriving and providing much needed shade for my precious hostas!   

He is an amazingly beautiful tree....I am always in awe of anything that can survive so much abuse and still stand strong. 

 

A new life for the unwanted...

Nasty old furniture is not the only thing I find and bring home from my apartments. 

A few months ago I found an all-but-dead rose bush...still in the original pot...in a vacant apartment.  She was pretty much a goner....dry as a bone, leaves all yellow, basically on her last leg.  

But I can't throw away a plant if there is a teeny smidge of hope it can be saved.   

So I brought her home, pruned away all of the dead stuff and planted her....and water...and fertilized...and waited.... 

I wish I had a "before" picture of this pathetic little thing...because today she is a beautiful little rose bush!

Last year I added another flower bed to my yard and filled it with rose bushes. 

But this bed was pretty much full so I put her where I thought I might want another rose bush IF she survived!!!   Next to the deck....

And honestly, that bed is my "nursery" for sick and ailing flowers.  The yellow flowers are some I picked up for a $1 on the "all but dead" table at Lowes...they were on their last leg when I bought them.  The pink vinca had been bit by the frost so I got them for something like .25 a piece at Lowes. All are doing quite well...and as you can see, the rose bush bounced right back and is green and lush and flowering! 

Knock out roses are not "climbers" but they will get big enough to stake or tie up...so it is good to plant them where they can be "trellised."  

Eventually this pretty lady will be big enough to trellis to my deck and will adorn the entire corner of this bed!  

This is a great time of the year to check out the "all but dead" clearance area at Lowes. This weekend I scored $38 worth of plants for $5...geraniums and blue daze...perfect for a flower box I haven't planted yet.  They are all in good condition, they just aren't blooming...a little fertilizer and TLC and they will be in full bloom in a few weeks!  (I'll try to remember to post pics!)

Perennials can be rather pricey early in the year when they are all lush and bloomy and pretty.  But what I've learned (hostas being a PRIME example) is that they tend to struggle the first year they are planted...so why not pick up a few that are looking a bit sketch anyway while they are discounted pennies on the dollar!

Discounted perinnials may not hit their full glory this year...but oh my, wait til next year!