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Can’t We Enjoy a Little Imperfection?

by Will Radler, Hybridizer of the Knock Out Roses

'Knock Out' Landscape


Can I expound on a controversial subject? …the subject of perfection?


As rose society members we like to have beautiful gardens filled with beautiful roses and maybe a few other plants. But when someone comes to visit, don't we often apologize that the garden isn't the best that it can be? We say things like "Oh, you should have seen it last week" or "The weather hasn't been cooperative lately." Or else some such comment that indicates that we are less than happy with our garden of plants. Funny thing, isn't a garden supposed to make us happy?


I'm wondering if we need a wake-up call so that we can start letting it be known that our garden and the plants that it contains make us happy and that we enjoy sharing its beauty.

Striving for perfection is a desirable quality which can lead to marvelous new inventions and beautiful things. On the other hand, expecting perfection can lead down a path of unhappiness when you realize that you can't find that which doesn't exist.

ABOVE: 'Sunny Knock Out'


Since perfection doesn't exist, it is fruitless to expect it. I think that it is time to chill-out with our gardens. So what if there is a little powdery mildew or some other disease? Is this cause for alarm or shame? Can't we enjoy a little imperfection? Shouldn't we enjoy what is good rather than dwell on what makes us unhappy. So what if the rose bloom is short-lived? Didn't it uplift the spirit for awhile? And if the roses look tired after a rain with petals marked and necks bent, can't we cut a few blooms before the rain and enjoy them in a different setting? What about surrounding the tired rained-on rose with complementary plants that don't make it look sad? We need to get back to what makes us happy with gardening.

'Peachy Knock Out'


Our roses don't have to be foolproof in order to be good roses. We can deal with imperfection. We are no longer in the 1950's when it was customary to try to make everything perfect. We are not Stepford people with Stepford gardens. Roses are not the only plants with issues. Don't we deal with the problems of other plants okay? What about problems that are only regional - and not a big deal in other parts of the country?


Since the only thing constant is change, it is important that we and our gardens and our selection of plants should be cherished because they aren't static. Sustainability is the future for the rose as shown through what roses are selling most. But that doesn't mean that we need to give up on the gorgeous demanding roses of yesterday. Some of us will want our gardens to be low maintenance while others will be willing to devote a lot of time to care. The reality is that both gardens are a perfect expression of what makes different people happy. We need to create the type of garden that we ourselves can call fun. We need to encourage others to do likewise. And we need to get all these unique people to celebrate their differences and celebrate the rose.

It's time to party!!!


All photos by Star Roses & Plants

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