Sunny Knock Out® Rose (Rosa 'Radsunny') at 251 Mercer Street.

NYU Garden Shop Plant of the Week--May 17, 2011
Sunny Knock Out® Rose (Rosa 'Radsunny') at 251 Mercer Street.
NYU Garden Shop Plant of the Week

By Head Gardener, George Reis
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Sunny Knock Out® Rose (Rosa 'Radsunny') at 251 Mercer Street.

What's the best way to go organic in your garden? Choose the right plant for the right place and choose disease resistant varieties. If you choose the appropriate plant, you'll avoid the vast majority of plant disease and pest problems and you won't have to fuss with toxic chemicals. Here's a great example: the Sunny Knock Out® Roses in Mercer Plaza which is on top of NYU's new cogen plant.

If you know people who grow roses in their garden, you've probably seen them spraying fungicides quite often to prevent or treat the appearance of blackspot, a common fungal problem on roses. For rose connoisseurs, spraying has just always been a fact of life, part of the price you pay to enjoy what many people consider the queen of the garden--rose blossoms. Furthermore, rosarians typically learn to master some very complex methods for pruning roses in order to maintain proper form. For those of us who are a bit lazier or don't have time to spray every week, or those of us who choose to go organic, we've had to settle for gardens without roses. That is, until the last few years when we've seen proliferation of new rose varieties bred for disease and pest resistance.

This relatively new class of rose is often called the landscape or shrub rose because it's suitable for mass plantings in large areas and can be cut back just like other shrubs. Maybe you've seen them planted along the West Side Highway. These roses have been bred for disease and pest resistance so there's almost never any need for spraying. Like all roses, they prefer full sun and will flower less vigorously in partial sun. The Knock Out® series of roses is one of the most popular landscape roses, and I started planting them at NYU in 2007. There's a triangular hedge of red Knock Out® roses at the corner of Bleecker Street and Mercer Street you may have noticied. I planted these on May 2, 2007 and I've never had to spray them for blackspot, not even in the summer of 2009 when we had the rainiest June on record! We just cut these roses back once in late winter and again in summer and that's all the maintenance they need for repeat blooming well into fall. What's really remarkable is how the foliage on the lower portion of the plant stays so full, quite a rarity for roses. I wish I could tell you how hard I work on them, but the fact is they're the easiest roses I've come across. The roses planted last year in Mercer Plaza, known as 'Radsunny' or Sunny Knock Out®, are the newest edition to the series and they are just starting to flower for Commencement Week. Enjoy the roses and congratulations to all our graduates!

Previous Plants of the Week:

Red Ruby Swiss Chard

May 10, 2011
Red Ruby Swiss Chard (Beta vulgaris 'Ruby Chard') sidewalk planters on Greene Street between W 4th Street and Washington Place.

Wild Columbine

May 3, 2011
Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) at Founders Hall, 120 East 12th St.

Japanese Flowering Cherry

April 25, 2011
Japanese Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata), or 'Kwanzan,' on the Bleecker Street side of Cole Sports Center, 181 Mercer Street.

Saucer Magnolia

April 19, 2011
Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana)   


April 12, 2011
Daffodil (Narcissus spp.) in the sidewalk median at 100 Bleecker Street.

Lenten Rose

April 5, 2011
Lenten Rose (Helleborus x hybridus) in the sidewalk median at 100 Bleecker Street.


March 29, 2011
Camellia 'April Remembered' (Camellia japonica 'April Remembered') at Coles Sports Center, 181 Mercer Street.

Japanese Maple

Mar 22, 2011 
Coral Bark Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku') at Glucksman Ireland House


Mar 18, 2011 
NYU Garden Shop Plant of the Week---Witch-hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia) at #2 Washington Square Village Lobby Garden. (interior of Washington Square Village, W 3rd Street jst west of Mercer)

Crocus Species

Mar 8, 2011
Crocus species mix on Bleecker Street side of NYU Coles Sports Center

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