The great folk/country song writer Jimmie Rodgers once wrote a song about "Peach pickin' time in Georgia." As far as I know, no one has ever written a song about "Rose prunin' time in Southeast Texas," but if they had, this would be the time they would have been writing about.
Valentine's Day in our part of the world is the traditional time to do your rose pruning. I missed the target date by a few days, but I was out there with my Felcos and my loppers today getting the job done.
Actually, I had started well over a week ago when I moved my 'Old Blush' and some 'Sunny yellow Knockouts' that were in unfortunate placements. Since I was moving the plants and thus disturbing, and, in the case of 'Old Blush,' pruning, their roots, it made sense to go ahead and prune the tops as well. I hope all the plants will forgive me for getting a little ahead of schedule.
Anyway, today, which was an absolutely gorgeous day here, in addition to putting the finishing touches on some new planting beds that I've been putting in on the south side of the house, I got some of my rose pruning done. I worked on 'American Beauty,' 'Belinda's Dream,' several 'Caldwell Pinks' children of my original 'Caldwell Pink,' and a pink 'Knockout.'
As I was pruning the 'Knockout,' I meditated on several recent entries around the gardening blogosphere concerning 'Knockout' roses. The writers of these blogs have been very critical of the 'Knockouts' and I have struggled to understand their reasoning. I guess I have failed, because it appears to me that their main criticism of the roses is their lack of problems and the ease of their culture! It's as if a rose is not a "real" rose unless it gets blackspot and requires constant babying.
These are the same kind of people, I think, who excoriate the 'Stella d'Oro' daylily or liriope or crape myrtles because they are so common. They are, in short, plant elitists. To put it even more bluntly, they are plant snobs.
Not that there is anything wrong with that. Some people get a thrill out of being plant snobs and specializing in growing difficult plants and that's okay. To each his or her own, but personally, I can't afford that kind of elitism. I'm just not that good a gardener.
So, just leave me alone with my 'Knockouts' and my antique roses and petunias, daylilies, crape myrtles, and liriope and my other common plants, and I'll leave you alone with your elite plants that I've probably never even heard of. The gardening world is a big one and there is plenty of room for all kinds of plants. And gardeners.