Livi Lou is a garden writer and private breeder. She is currently breeding strawberries, developing a garden product, trialing plants and researching the history of heirloom fruit varieties. She writes about unique perennials and fruit plants, so that you can grow an ornamental fruit garden. www.livilougarden.com facebook.com/livilougarden
 

 

Forever Pink Phlox
by Livi Lou - posted 06/23/16

There are many species of phlox and the most commonly seen species is Moss Phlox (phlox subulata), which is a prolific, spreading groundcover that is cold hardy to zone 2.  This ruggedness makes it a popular choice along driveways and roads. As the below photo shows, when in bloom, they transform the spring landscape into one of colorful clouds that seem to hover over the ground.

What if these colorful clouds could last all summer? I searched for a phlox with the longest bloom and came across a new variety called Forever Pink.  It was developed by Dr. Jim Ault of Chicago Bontanic Garden through crossing Phlox glaberrima ssp. triflora and the Phlox 'Bill Baker'.  There are so many species of phlox that there seems to be a potential for endless creative possibilities.  Here is an interesting link about different phlox species. 

Forever Pink is supposed to bloom profusely in June and then sparsely throughout the summer until frost.

I purchased Forever Pink in Summer 2015 from an online nursery called Santa Rosa Gardens.  Below is photo of Forever Pink in Summer 2015, but the rabbits enjoyed nibbling it.

 

This Spring (2016) it came back stronger than last summer, which is to be expected for perennials, and flower buds started to develop in May 2016.

 

It is currently blooming for the first time. The light magenta flowers pop against the blue spruce in the background.  It is described as being fragrant, but, again, it does not meet my definition of fragrant if you have to stick your nose on it to enjoy it.  

  

 

 

I look forward to observing it throughout the Summer.  If it blooms until frost, it could definitely make the Liv Select perennial list!

 

   ~ Thanks for reading!

 

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Sunny Knock Out: Fragrant Yellow Rose
by Livi Lou - posted 06/09/16

It’s the first fragrant rose of the Knock Out Brand.  But is Sunny Knock Out actually fragrant?

 

Yes, it is… That why I purchased it at Oakland Nursery in the Summer of 2015. 

 

It was one of the few roses in bloom at the nursery and it actually had a scent to it.  I had been looking for roses to replace the ones that had died from the severe winter cold a few years earlier. I'm not sure if I can ever return my rose garden to the former glory evident in the below photo.

 

The below photos show Sunny Knock Out.

 

 

The flower color fades quickly and the blooms do not last as long as other varieties, but Sunny Knock Out is prolific with new buds ready to open all summer.  It is a continuous blooming variety

 

 

Note that the leaves are not the beautiful leathery texture of those of other Knock Out varieties.

 

A fairly popular online nursery claims that Sunny Knock Out is resistant to Japanese Beetles.  I am not sure what is meant by ‘resistant.'  In my opinion that would imply that Japanese beetles do not eat the bush. 

 

… But look at that Japanese Beetle! It is having way to good of a time!  (Though, not as good of a time as a more inappropraite picture of them on Sunny Knock Out. But I didn't think I should post it).

 

 

Sunny Knock Out is fragrant if you stick your nose in it.  But it is a short rose bush, so sniffing it as you pass by is not easy.   Although, it did become more fragrant late in the season.

 

Nothing is better than breathing the perfume of flowers all season long.

 

I am still on a quest for a rose that truly perfumes the air.  I’ve identified some potential candidates. It’s just a matter of obtaining them and adding them to the garden. However, the more fragrant the rose, the more attractive it is to pests.

 

Some of my original roses were Knock Out varieties planted well over 7 years ago.  Knock Out produces some great varieties, but I don’t know if Sunny Knock Out knocks it out of the park.  However, I have seen some plantings of what look like Sunny Knock Out around town and they look taller and healthier than mine.

 

 

      ~Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

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Announcement: June Schedule
by Livi Lou - posted 06/05/16

   This June will return to the every other Friday posting schedule.  This month will be about fragrant perennials!  We all know about the Knock-Out Rose brand, but what about its first fragrant  yellow variety?  And then, a new fragrant phlox variety that is supposed to bloom from June to frost.

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