Confessions of a Mocking Neighbor
As we were discussing the fast growth rate of my knock-out roses this weekend, my neighbor confessed that she made fun of me while I was planting the teeny little plants this April. She said they were so small that she just laughed at me, because it would take years for them to poke their heads over the side of the flower bed. She was really surprised to see them take off like they have. Her kitchen window faces our flower bed, so she gets to admire the roses daily.
I gave her my two extra knock-out roses to plant alongside one her daughter gave her this year for Mother's Day. Although the plant she received was bigger than my roses when I planted them, her knock-out rose is no where near as big as any of mine are now. The plant gets morning sun, and she says she uses Miracle Grow on it, but its growth is modest. I attribute this to the amount of time we put into preparing the bed for our roses. We cultivated the soil to a depth of two feet and enriched it with manure and peat. We also added super phosphate, which roses love. I think she probably just dug a hole the size of the pot and stuck the plant in it. Our soil is hard clay, and if you don't dig a hole at least twice the size of the pot, the roots will have trouble penetrating the hard soil around it, and therefore can't grow. Let this be a lesson - always take time up front to prepare the soil properly.