shrub rose

Katie Ketelsen

Thursday Finds in the Test Garden

Although fall has started its descent, a quick stroll through the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden proves there is still a lot of life left in the season. Here are just a few of the beauties I found flourishing in the garden.

The Knock Out shrub roses are literally a knockout in the garden. Once their blooms start kicking in spring, they’ll last up till the first hard frost in fall. It’s hard not to stop dead in your tracks to admire their beauty.

Close view of the Rainbow Knock Out shrub rose’s bloom.

Ornamental grasses are center stage right now–everywhere! The gracefulness of the switchgrass’ plumes are what makes it one of my favorites, not to mention grasses are a perfect addition to any garden for fall and winter appeal.

2008 Perennial of the YearRozanne Geranium is the longest blooming perennial geranium in the landscape right now.  I’ll be curious to see how long these flowers last this fall!

If you’ve got time or in the neighborhood, have your lunch in the test garden tomorrow–it’s open from 12-2pm! Otherwise, tune in next week…I’m anticipating a change in the scenery.


Denny Schrock

Dreaming of roses

This time of year Midwesterners can only dream about gardening. This year my dreams are turning to roses. A few short years ago that wouldn’t have been the case. I thought that roses were too “fussy” and pest-prone. I didn’t want to bother with them.

Perhaps those prejudices stem from my days in grad school working with and researching greenhouse rose rejuvenation. Those roses constantly needed care to remain attractive and productive, not to mention daily data collection! Or perhaps the impression comes from watching my Aunt Opal toil over her gorgeous hybrid tea roses when I was a kid. Because we lived in Minnesota, those tea roses required exceptional winter protection just to survive the rigors of the climate. (Aunt Opal was known for her gardening skills, and when I started to write a regional gardening column, people often mistakenly thought that she was my mother.)

I’ve done an about-face when it comes to landscape roses. With hardy, disease-free introductions such as the Easy Elegance Series, Knock Out Series, and OSO Easy Proven Winners roses, these colorful, fragrant flowers are taking increased prominence in my yard.

Last fall I fell in love with Belinda’s Dream, pictured at left, while on a press tour to Antique Rose Emporium. It’s fragrant, very double, and reblooms throughout the growing season with attractive pink blossoms. It’s won an Earth-Kind designation from Texas A&M University, meaning that it has outstanding pest tolerance as well as superior landscape performance. After seeing it in the display gardens at Antique Rose Emporium, I noticed that Belinda’s Dream was also featured at Lillian Farms, the B&B where I was staying. That sealed it for me. I knew I must give it a try in my own Zone 5 garden. I’ve already ordered three of them for spring delivery. I’m sure that Aunt Opal would be delighted to see them in my garden if she were still with us.