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Contrary Mary’s favorite rose,
‘Double Knock Out’ in full glory at the farm!

Contrary Mary’s is EXCITED to announce that we are now offering super-hardy, disease-resistant, absolutely GORGEOUS roses!! As you all probably know, I do not generally agree with using chemicals on ornamental plants & if they are so picky and chemically-dependent, they have no place in Contrary Mary’s garden. There are certainly enough natives and tough hybrids/cultivars to choose from so that we shouldn’t have to make our gardens toxic and unfriendly to the rest of the creatures that share our green domain! Anyway, with that being said, I love roses but was unwilling to compromise on my “drug-free” stand—now I don’t have to!

The we have a selection of very hardy (at least to zone 5), own root roses that have high disease resistance (although not immunity). Many of them are also very “wildlife friendly” because they develop beautiful, nutritious rose hips in the fall. If you are looking for a specific rose, please give us a call (815-521-9353) before you come so we can check our stock!

Rose OSO Easy Fragrant Spreader

A great resource that “rates” roses is the American Rose Society. They put out a yearly rose-rating guide called Handbook for Selecting Roses in which members of the Rose Society are invited to participate in a review of the new rose introductions. They are evaluated for three consecutive years and assigned from the following scoring system:

9.3-10   One of the best roses ever! (seldom awarded)
8.8-9.2   An outstanding rose (the top 1%)
8.3-8.7   A very good to excellent rose (one recommended without hesitation)
7.8-8.2   A solid to very good rose (well above average)
7.3-7.7   A good rose (a little to somewhat above average)
6.8-7.2   An average rose
6.1-6.7   A below average rose
0.0-6.0   Not recommended

Some of the roses which we are offering have not yet been rated because they are so new, but I have confidence they will achieve a high score! We are also planting the majority of them in our display beds so that you can judge for yourself their worthiness! Just remember, roses don’t always look “perfect” & the weather is a deciding factor on a lot of “cosmetic” diseases or pests, so sometimes you just have to be patient!

Also, a couple of more tips:

1 Don’t ever cover these roses with rose cones! You run the risk of “smothering” them, and also they are all hardy and don’t need covering (a light mulch is fine!).
2 Wait until spring to prune back your roses (the Morton Arboretum also recommends this). Otherwise, you may be trimming off stems that would have survived the winter (making the plant smaller and causing more die-back in the process).
3 Make sure you select the correct site for your roses. They need a well-drained site (no soggy feet!) that has good organic material and gets a minimum of six hours of sun per day. It does not have to be continuous sun; in fact, some roses like morning sun, a little mid-day shade, then sun again in late afternoon. Some roses such as “alba ” and “hybrid musk ” types do tolerate more shade.
4 Choose a good fertilizer that is formulated for roses, and don’t fertilize too late in the year (not past late summer so they don’t have a flush of new growth that is prone to cold damage). Also, wait until your newly-planted rose has bloomed once before fertilizing. Make sure you follow the directions on whatever type of fertilizer you’re using (too much and you won’t get any flowers!).
5 Deadheading needs to be done on repeat blooming roses. On an established plant, cut on a diagonal just above the first 5-leaf stem; on a young plant it’s better to remove fewer leaves, so cutting above a 3-leaf stem (or even just above the flower) is fine. Stop deadheading about one month before the first fall frosts so no new, tender growth is encouraged.

The above are just general guidelines—I would recommend joining the American Rose Society or a local rose club if you want the advice of real experts in this area!


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Contrary Mary’s Plants and Designs
2735 Route 52
Minooka, IL 60447

(815) 521-9535