Beyond Knock Out

A new generation of roses is perfectly suited to organic culture.

By Paul Zimmerman


Beyond Knockout Roses: Oso Easy Cherry PieOso Easy Series

Part of the Proven Winners brand, these roses have been bred for compact growth. They thrive in containers, where they can be underplanted with tumbling herbs. Try them as a low hedge lining a walkway, massed in a single bed in the lawn, or mingling with annuals and perennials in a traditional English cottage-style garden.

Mango Salsa, with nearly nonstop blooms in a bright coral-red color, is an outstanding variety in this series. Oso Easy roses bloom mostly in sprays. All are hardy to Zone 4 and some even to Zone 3.


Beyond Knockout Roses: Easy EleganceEasy Elegance Collection

From Bailey Nurseries, shrub roses in this series range in size from 2 to 4 feet. Their compact nature makes them a good choice for pots, front-of-the-border placement, or mass planting. They have a broad range of colors and bloom shapes, including pastel pink-and-yellow Music Box, a new release. The flowers appear mostly in sprays, but some of the larger blooms are one or two to a stem.

Care is typical for garden roses. Use a light hand in trimming during the season; cut them back hard occasionally to bring forth new wood. All are hardy to Zone 4.


Beyond Knockout Roses: David Austin CollectionDavid Austin Roses

English rose breeder David Austin deserves credit for reviving the idea of roses as garden plants in the United States. His roses combine old-fashioned flowers and form with today’s characteristics of repeat blooming and disease resistance. More-recent releases such as Munstead Wood (velvety crimson), Molineux (bright gold, shown here), and Carding Mill (apricot pink) particularly make outstanding garden roses. Austin roses come in all shapes and sizes, so evaluate each variety individually for its garden use.

In general, Austin roses respond well to the heavier pruning tactics traditionally utilized for hybrid teas. They can be cut back hard in late winter; in fact, some varieties rebloom best if you prune them hard after each bloom flush. The taller ones are good for training on a pillar. All David Austin roses are fragrant and hardy to Zone 5, with some being hardy to Zone 4.

Keep Reading: Garden Rose Care