During the scorching days of summer, gardeners may notice their once-picturesque beds have become faded, dried-out husks. J&M Plants in Anniston may have just the thing to get your yard back to the colorful collage it once was.

Knock Out roses were introduced in 2000 and have become amazingly popular among gardeners over the past 10 years. The plants grow to about 3 feet wide and 4 feet tall, and bloom in a variety of colors ranging from cherry red to creamy yellow. Jerry Dempsey, owner of 14-year-old J&M Plants, said the hole in which to plant a Knock Out rose should be about 6 inches wider than the shrub. “The shrubs should be planted about 4 feet apart to allow room for growth,” he added.

Knock Out roses produce bursts of blooms every 5 to 6 weeks, which will continue from spring up until the first hard frost. They also tend to have better resistance to black spot, one of the main problems that affects roses — “not immune,” stressed Dempsey, “but more resistant.”

Knock Out roses thrive when planted in full sun and will need plenty of water. “Anything you plant this time of year will have to be watered two to three times a week, unless you get at least an inch of rain water that week,” said Dempsey. Shrubs can be fertilized with a blend mixed especially for roses after each blooming cycle (every 5-6 weeks). At the end of each cycle, these self-cleaning flowers will take care of the old faded blooms on their own — another task gardeners can “knock out” of their to-do list.

Daylilies are a colorful choice

Another colorful choice Dempsey suggests for planters this time of year is the daylily. Daylilies are one of the most carefree perennials a gardener can plant, so easy you will often see them thriving in the wild on their own. They grow in both warm and cold climates, are not troubled by diseases or pests, and can survive for years with virtually no attention.

Daylilies grow to about 1-3 feet wide and 1-3 feet tall, and produce trumpet-shaped blooms in vibrant shades of blue, orange, pink and red. They love the sun, but can also tolerate full shade. Just like Knock Out roses, Dempsey stressed the amount of water daylilies require this time of year.

“With the heat we have, and the lack of long-term or steady rain fall, a lot of the moisture in the soil will evaporate quickly,” he said. “You must remember to keep them watered.”  

The daylily, which means “beauty for a day,” stays true to its name; most blooms will open in the morning and wither by nightfall. But each stem typically has at least a dozen flower buds that will continue to bloom for several weeks.

“We’re kind of in between seasons right now, but the daylily is one that you can still plant and it’ll do good for you,” said Dempsey.