The Knockout family of roses was introduced in the early 2000’s by Star roses and has since become a staple of sunny borders across the country. These plants were bred to simplify rose gardening. And, wow what a success! The traditional rose “rule book” was completely thrown out of the window with the introduction of these shrub roses. These are not Grandma’s roses! Requiring minimal maintenance, these roses grace our mixed borders and foundation plantings with an almost non-stop show of color from Spring until a hard frost. Extremely cold hardy, disease, and pest resistant, and incredibly floriferous, these plants truly have become the “king” of the rose ring!double knock

These bulletproof roses come in seven colors ranging from red/pink to creamy yellow/white. The pink/red varieties also come in a double petal version. The natural proclivity of these roses is to form a shrub in the 4’x4’ size range, but smaller sizes are easily maintained with simple pruning. Again, no need to worry about traditional rose pruning rules here. Just cut them down to the desired size in late winter/early spring while the plant is still dormant. I, myself cut them down to approximately 6” above the ground every season! Did I mention how tough these roses are? For those who want them a little larger, just prune off about one-third of the plant every season, retaining a nice rounded shape.

For best flowering, it is ideal to feed your roses with a complete fertilizer made specifically for roses. There are many wonderful brands to choose from. Come see us here at Van Wilgen’s to get the one that is best suited for your situation. Ideally, they should be fed after each flowering cycle. This is the time in between the flowers starting to fade and the formation of new flower buds for the next “round” of blooms. At the very least, I would recommend feeding your roses in Spring and Fall while you are fertilizing your other shrubs and perennials in the garden. I personally like the addition of compost as a top dressing. Not only will this feed your roses, but it will also eventually break down and improve the garden’s soil. Of course, the removal of any spent (dead) flowers will help to promote the formation of new buds, but with the Knockout series of roses, this is not a necessary step. These roses are self-cleaning!

It is easy to see why these roses have become so popular. With sunshine, water, and minimal maintenance they put on a show that is almost unrivaled in the garden. Because of their hardy nature and ease of care, they really have become a go-to plant for beginner and experienced gardeners alike. Fall is a fantastic time to plant new material and to take advantage of our end-of-season sales. The perfect opportunity to try this outstanding line of roses or to add to your existing collection. We would be more than happy to answer any questions or help in any way necessary. We look forward to seeing you soon!

stacey tips art 1

Are aphids the new supervillain? They have some astounding traits that could qualify them as supervillains or superheroes (depends on your perspective) of the insect world. I guess humans would place them in the supervillain category because of all the destruction they cause to our indoor and outdoor plants.

Aphid eggs can overwinter even in harsh climates. In the spring, the female aphid is basically born pregnant. Talk about reproductive ability! One female aphid can have 12 babies a day without any help from her male counterpart. Maybe the female is the superhero! Aphids have many overlapping generations in one season and these villains love to spend time together. If you go out in the garden now, you may see these villainous clusters everywhere. In my own garden, I have spied them lurking on my sedum, mock orange, spirea, sand cherry, viburnum, honeysuckle, roses and so many more. In my house, they have enjoyed sucking on the buds of my overwintered hibiscus. Shame on them, preying on the new, innocent, tender, spring growth of our sweet plants. Aphids love all the tender shoots and they love to eat together in a big, aphid feast. Another incredible, super villain trait that aphids possess is the ability to sprout wings as needed. Aphids do not normally have wings but will grow them if the feeding spot they are it becomes too crowded and food becomes scarce. They will sprout wings to find more food. Pretty amazing.

Not only can they reproduce without a mate, have 12 babies a day, sprout wings when needed, but they also come in an assortment of colors…green, black, brown, orange, yellow, gray, white, pink, and colorless. Aphids tend to match the plant they eat, providing them with much-needed camouflage from hungry predators. Pretty cool!

Aphids are not impervious super villains. They have their weak spots too. They are very soft-bodied insects so many insects and insect controls can kill them easily. They are also very slow. This makes them easy targets. The most natural controls for aphids are water, Lady Bugs, and Lace Wings. We sell beneficial Lady Bugs and Lace Wings right in the store. Come down to Van Wilgen’s and adopt some. One Lady Bug can eat up to 100 aphids per day. What great garden helpers. Knocking the aphids off the plant with water does not eliminate them but it suppresses their immediate damage. Some Organic products that work very well on Aphids are Neem Oil, Horticultural Oil, and Insecticidal Soap. They are easy to use and easy on the environment.

Aphid damage is criminal. Aphids cause plants to twist, curl, stunt, and turn yellow. These little offenders can also spread viruses to our plants with each suck they take out of a leaf or stem. If the problem is severe, be proactive and use a systemic product like Bayer All-in-One Rose & Flower Care. Applied to the soil, it gets absorbed through the plant and as soon as Aphids go to eat, they ingest the product into their system and meet their demise. This product along with Bayer Dual Action Rose & Flower Insect Killer is kryptonite to Aphids.

The bottom line is that your plants will most likely survive the destruction from these supervillains but let’s thwart their unwanted behavior by keeping our plants strong with a slow-release fertilizer such as Van Wilgen’s All-Purpose Slow Release Plant Food. Using high Nitrogen, quick-release fertilizers are not the best choice when Aphids are in abundance. It is also important to keep these unwanted corrupts under control with the recommended pest control products.

Have no fear, the superhero, VanWilgen’s Garden Center is here! We can help you solve all your pest control problems and we don’t even need to wear a cape to do it!

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help.


(Products that are good for your lawn and garden in the summer heat!)

“It is sooo hot!” This is what I have been hearing a lot of this summer. Fellow employees are hot,stacey tips art 1 customers are hot, dogs are hot, kids are hot, everyone is hot! We are able to express our feelings and even whine about the heat. What about our poor lawns and gardens. They are hot too. They are just a little quieter about it. Sure, hydrangeas may droop in the afternoon sun, herbs may not be standing at attention, tomato leaves may be curling a bit, and our lawns may be looking a little crispy but at least they are not making a lot of noise about the hot agony they are in. Since they are being such troopers, shouldn’t we give them a little summer treat?! Van Wilgen’s has some delicious treats that will really help your plants make it through this hot, dry spell.

Let’s talk about our newest Van Wilgen product…ROOT BOOST. Root Boost is great any time of the year but its’ summer benefits are off the chart. Root Boost is as organic as you can get. It is an organic powerhouse filled with every essential plant element, beneficial bacteria, and mycorrhizae (beneficial fungus). It is also a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of 6-5-5. I do not want to get too nerdy, technical about this product but I do want you to know how great it really works to increase the root system of any plant. The beneficial fungus and bacteria literally attach themselves to the roots of plants and increase the roots network system. Roots, in turn, can absorb more water and nutrients. Here is the kicker! Root Boost will never burn a plant even in this summer heat. In fact, the added kelp will actually help plants to retain moisture and give them a little breather from the hot sun. Use it on every plant from veggies to houseplants. They all will benefit from all it has to offer. Give your summer plants a boost with Root Boost!

Let’s move onto a little smellier but awesome summer product…FISH & SEAWEED. This is another awesome summer fertilizer that can be used any time of the year. Root Boost has no odor and comes in a powder form that you mix with water. Fish & Seaweed is in a liquid form that gets diluted with water. It works really well in a hose-end sprayer if you have a lot of gardens to cover. Fish and Seaweed is a nice balanced fertilizer that keeps plants strong, helps them retain moisture, and keeps them productive even under the stress of heat. Van Wilgen’s Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer can be used in conjunction with Root Boost and WOW! your plants will be beyond happy.

Do not forget your lawn. Love your lawn this summer with DR. EARTH SUPERNATURAL LAWN FERTILIZER. It comes equipped with a hose-end sprayer so all you do is attach it and go. One bottle covers 5,000 sq. ft. and fills your lawn with prebiotic microbial food, humic acid, and aloe vera to moisturize that stressed summer lawn. This can be used in conjunction or alternating with the tried and true Milorganite. Milorganite is a mainstay for lawn fertilizers that will not burn your lawn even when everything and everyone is suffering in the summer sun.

It is okay to complain about the heat but remember your plants can’t utter a word. Give them a summer treat.

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!