Friday, April 8, 2011

A Sea of Roses

Ever since moving to Alabama I came across this amazing rose bush… Knockout Roses! I had not heard of them in Florida. I always thought roses were had to be pruned of their spent flowers before they would bloom again. And the rose bushes I grew up with were not very bush-like.
The Knockout rose variety are called a shrub. They literally get 3-4 feet wide and 3-4 feet tall. They aren’t prone to the “black-dot” disease most roses get.  They currently come in five colors and you can get single or double petals.

I have three colors in my yard. I have Sunny Knockouts in the front yard to cover the utility boxes. The yellow come in single petals.
My Sunny Knockouts - 2010

My backyard has a slight hill at the back of the property. I wanted to make something of this hill. I thought about making a retaining wall so I could have a “flat” flowerbed, but I leaned towards making the hill work for me.

That’s when I did more research of the knockouts and found that they did well on the sides of hills. Planting roses on a hill, would allow me to see ALL of my roses! This would mean I would have to design the perfect pattern.
I chose double red knockouts for my hill with a few whiteouts to mix into the pattern. The double knockouts seem to double in size much faster and look fuller. Plus, the blooms look more like roses!

My design involved 29 rose bushes! Six whiteouts, six Sunny’s and 17 double red’s.

I have since decided to remove the Sunny’s and give those to my mom since my double’s were crowding them out.
To concquer this feat, we rented a two-man auger. It always seems to rain the days we plan to rent yard equipment to get work done. The first time we rented a sod-cutter for the flowerbeds, we did it in the rain. Mr. JCrew vowed he would never do that again. He said it was the hardest piece of machinery to use.
So, it rained the day we wanted to get the auger. It wasn’t raining hard and I thought a little rain would help the ground soften up. We went through with our plan and came home with the auger.
I bought dry-packed rose bushes that have no soil. I figured it’d be easier to plant this way. I meticulously measured where each hole was to be dug and marked the spots with flour. Flour is an easy way to mark things outside without doing harm to plants or soil. Baking soda can kill plants, so I wouldn’t use that.
I know our neighbors had to have been watching us with this auger. We’re out there in the rain, on a hill, trying to keep ourselves planted while this machine spun a hole in the ground. It went great at first. We planned to dig 41 holes (12 holes for the Indian Hawthorne we did not have yet, but knew where they were going to go.) An auger would be the fastest and most accurate route. But digging that many holes, your body gets tired. I think we were halfway through and we reached a hole that was difficult. The auger stopped turning and it was trying to turn the handles instead. I tried my hardest to hold on, but the auger spun me off and Mr. JCrew was left fighting the spinning auger and he let go.
I know it had to be a hilarious sight. Seeing me get flung ten feet by an auger! I let the machine win.
After we finished all the holes, it looked like we had gopher mounds on our hill. I thought it was so pretty!

We returned the auger and rested a while. I returned outside to just place my roses in the holes, so the rain wouldn’t fill our beautiful holes in.
Well, most of the time when I say I will only do part of the work, I end up getting motivated and doing all the work. It’s a bad habit. I only meant to place the roses in the hole, but I ended up unwrapping and planting the roses in their holes.

It’s hard to imagine these twigs would soon grow and bloom. It was so much fun to watch.

Now they are at least 2-3 feet tall in just one year! I’ve already cut them back.

The goal of the hill is to look like one big rose bush. All the bushes will eventually grow together and you won’t be able to tell where one bush stops and another one starts.
I don’t ever need a bouquet. I can just look outside at my backyard. Mr. JCrew has made me a couple bouquets from our flowers. He’s such a sweet man.

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