Monday, September 28, 2015

I've Stooped So Low

'Carefree Sunshine'
My ongoing battle against Rose Rosette disease, and the annual Kansas summer scorch, has led to a few casualties over the summer, with a corresponding number of empty spots in my garden.   "Beggars," as they say, "can't be choosers," and consequently when a good friend generously offered me several established 'Sunny Knockouts" that she was planning to discard, I decided to take them for filler.  

'Carefree Sunshine'
I already have a 'Carefree Sunshine', or 'RADsun', in my garden, a lone rose placed in my "peony garden" in the shade of an Oak tree.  It survives, barely, and gets absolutely no care including a lack of pruning.  'Carefree Sunshine', for those who know it, was bred by Bill Radler before 1991, and is a light yellow shrub rose with semi-double blooms that form in clusters.  In my garden, it has reached about 3 X 3 feet in size, and it remains there, shaded almost out of existence, but clinging to its square foot of soil without being a nuisance.  It seems to be reasonably resistant to blackspot and is cane hardy throughout most winters here.  I originally planted it to please SHE-WHO-PREFERS-HER-ROSES-NOT-TO-BE-PINK (Mrs. ProfessorRoush), and despite that knock (sic) against this Knock Out cousin, I would like the rose more if it had more petals and shined a little brighter.

'Carefree Sunshine'
'Sunny Knock Out', or 'RADsunny', is a different rose than RADsun, a paler yellow, and single (4-8 petals).  Also bred by Radler, it was introduced by Conard-Pyle in 2008, a yellow addition to the Knock Out rose family.   I chose three plants from my friend, which are now planted in several prominent spots in my garden, spots that I will probably regret if both the roses, and I, survive the winter to come.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate my friend's generosity, I just don't want to admit that I've sunk to such depths of despair.  

I am consoled by the thought that these roses, like many of the Knock Out family, are probably overly susceptible to Rose Rosette and will succumb to that decrepit virus, so that someday I will be as likely to find a Dodo in my garden as a 'Sunny Knockout'.  Just yesterday, dropping my daughter at her apartment, I noticed that one of three fully grown 'Knock Out' roses outside her front steps was badly infected with Rose Rosette and likely to spread to all the others that adorn her entire apartment complex.   Given my usual fortune, my new 'Sunny Knock Out' bushes will likely survive however, and thrive to brighten Mrs. ProfessorRoush's days for years to come, while I loathe their presence every time I pass them.  Such is the plight of the desperate gardener.


  1. I hate to hear that you have this. It seems to be spreading. I found it on my New Dawn last month. It has been years since I have seen it in my garden. :(

  2. Though, like you, I deplore the way Knockout roses have displaced more sophisticated roses in our garden centers, I draw the line at your libellous implication that KO's are more susceptible to RRD than other roses. Let me quote the distinguished plant pathologist and RRD researcher, Mark Windham:

    "A misconception exists that Knock Out® roses are more susceptible to RRV than other types of roses. There are no data to support this premise. The supposed enhanced susceptibility of Knock Out® roses to RRV is due to the commonality of Knock Out® roses in mass plantings that are not frequently checked for symptoms of rose rosette and diseased plants are therefore not immediately rogued. Knock Out® roses are not known to be more susceptible to eriophyid mite infestations or RRV infections than any other cultivar of rose. However, unpruned Knock Out® roses may become very tall and may intercept more ‘ballooning’ eriophyid mites than roses that are shorter in stature. This phenomenon may explain why RRV is seldom reported in miniature roses although miniature roses are considered to be as susceptible to RRV as any other type of roses grown in the garden."

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