I know, I know, I know! It has been ridiculously long since I have contributed to this blog. As our son, Garrett, learned when he messed up in the military, the only acceptable response is: "No excuse,sir/mam". John and I ended up with more on our plates this year than anticipated. We dealt with what was most pressing and set aside the rest for another day, so blogging went on the shelf along with dusting and washing windows.
Anyway, our lives have reached a degree of normalcy and I've decided I can write again---dusting and windows still have to wait awhile longer.
John decided to try his hand at growing varieties of lilac including the newly introduced spring and fall rebloomer. Being a skeptic, he is holding off telling people they are rebloomers until the proof is in the pudding and we actually see it happen. Sometimes plants are introduced into the market with lots of wonderful claims, but reblooming, low maintenance, etc. take place only under the most ideal conditions leaving the average gardener filled with disappointment when the plants do not measure up to expectations. That is why John and I like to grow the plants ourselves before backing up such claims.
Plants that have lived up to the hype, are the the Knock Out roses and their cousins the Drift Roses, both developed and produced by Star Roses. We have grown Knock Out roses for a number of years and grew our first Drift Rose last year when a plant broker friend gave us one to plant on a trial basis. It performed well despite the very wet season of 2009. This year we planted several more in new beds (John is determined to eliminate all our lawn areas and replace them with garden beds!).
While on vacation for two weeks, the temperature here at Pittsgrove hit 104 degrees and although a friend came and watered our potted plants, the beds were not watered at all. Even though some of our well-established plants (viburnum and cypress) suffered from the intense heat and arid conditions, the roses looked terrific upon our return. We'll see how they do over the long term, but certainly would recommend them for an attractive, low maintenance addition to that sunny garden spot.