Valentine’s best loved flower is the rose, a symbol of love for all time. Times have changed however…. flower shops have closed down, grocery stores are selling month old roses at the register and we’ve all seen the ads online for FTD. Gone are the days of men spending $75 for a dozen of these beauties!
It’s also getting more difficult to find the roses you think of for Valentine’s Day at your local nursery. These are hybrid tea roses and although the roses are beautiful, the foliage is often leggy, riddled with disease or covered in bugs. Many landscapers are planting and recommending the new shrub roses as an alternative. Shrub roses have been improved and are anything but “shrubby”.
The relatively new Knockout series offers an almost true red, pink, and yellow and most are available in both single and double flowers. They bloom just about all season! These plants are tough and compact, they tolerate pruning and resist disease. These roses are popping up in landscapes everywhere from homes to commercial plantings. They are even drought resistant once established!
If you would prefer a shorter selection of roses than the 36” Knockouts, try the Fairyland series that is hardy, covered in blooms and pretty much maintenance free. They reach a height of 24”. There are many shades of pink, red, white and yellow in this series. Both families of roses make a gorgeous vase all summer long in your house and will be a colorful shrub in your landscape.
Although you cannot find shrub roses at the garden center this time of year, true romantics out there are welcome to pick up a gift certificate at their local garden center that their Valentines can use when it does warm up. Think about adding an “I’ll plant it for you!” note in the card – Now that’s romance!