This is a Knockout rose.

(The blossoms do look as if they’ve been knocked around a bit)

I was wandering around the nursery the other day

When I saw these huge pots of classic-looking shrub rose bushes

 I’m not a rose person, but the bright color appealed to me

After the Big Winter Freeze

So, I bought one of them although it was over five feet tall

Two of the nicest boys delivered it

Front Door Delivery, they said, grinning like two mischievous little monkeys

Well, that just wouldn’t do, I said

Of course,

They hauled all of the stuff I’d bought into the garden

and seemed to have a good time of it, too

As I led them through the house to put things on the porch,

Rita startled them with her ear-splitting warning call, Arrrrriba!

Since it was dark in the house and I was turning on lights as we went,

They didn’t see her peeking at them from under her cage cover

The tip is for the scare, I told them chuckling


Romero is working diligently to plant everything

He says we have to build a bed for the rose and extend the bed under the palms

He is an amazing man

He comes after his day job and works until it is too dark to see outside

And, he tells me stories about his life

How he came to the US alone and didn’t know anybody at all

How he worked for four days to replace a roof on a man’s house

The man never paid him

He tells me this chuckling at his youthful naivety

When I ask indignantly what he did about it,

He laughs and says simply, Nothing.

41 Comments on “Knockout

  1. A knock-about-rose. Reminds me of a Barbra Streisand song. 😀
    Lovely shots. We have quite a bit of knock-about up here, still waiting for buds. Everything is delayed and now lots of rain.


    • You’ve had a hard winter! The sun will come out again, I’m fairly certain… But, I know it seems like snow and rain and cold is the menu there. Everything is green and beginning to really blossom out here, thank goodness! Thanks, Joseph!


  2. Yes it does look a bit knocked about, but very beautiful nevertheless. I really enjoyed your story, George. I can just imagine those cheeky boys jumping out of their skin at Rita’s loud alarm call. 🙂 Romero sounds like a real mensch. You’re so fortunate to have found him.


  3. I’m happy you enabled comments again! 🙂 I’m not a huge roses fan either but yours are really beautiful. Plus, knock-out roses bring back very sweet memories of my godparents (an elderly couple) coming over to plant some for me because they were so easy to maintain. I was just heartbroken when they died – I can’t keep anything alive!


    • Well, the tag that came on the rose bush said that you could grow it if you could dig a hole… I think they really are very hardy in most climates if they get enough water. I don’t plan to do much coddling of this one. Bushes either make it around here or they don’t. 🙂 I do have a sprinkler system, so it will get water! Thanks for stopping by to visit, Lynda! I appreciate that.


  4. I’m not a rose person either. But I love your photo essay of them. I think my fav is the 3rd one down, that looks like a little heart cradled in a nest of petals.
    I would love to see photos of Romero and learn more about him. He must have a book’s worth of stories!


    • Here is a link to a photo of Romero:
      He’s such a fine and talented man. His is the story of immigration throughout our history, I think. I’m glad you liked the photos. The ‘nest of petals’ one is opening the same way they all open. They’re just old-fashioned looking roses on the bush, but they’re kind of interesting up close. Thanks for stopping in to visit me! I always appreciate that very much. 🙂


    • Thanks. After that awful winter took so many things, I guess I was looking for something colorful. 🙂 At least, it will bloom all summer and is planted where I can see it from my perch on the porch! Thank you for stopping by to visit me, Sarah.


    • Hi, Richard. Ripping off an old roof is the dirtiest, hottest and most dangerous job in house construction. Lots of guys fall off houses every year doing just that. Romero worked from sunrise to sunset for four days to do it. He’s no longer in THAT business, for sure. He has his own crew who work after hours. He stays in his day job with the nursery because his brothers work there and don’t speak English. He feels responsible for them. I don’t think I’ve ever known anybody who worked as hard and cheerfully as he does. He’s built a really nice house and is rearing two teenage kids by himself. Remarkable man. Yes, the color appealed to me after that barren winter! 🙂


  5. Front door delivery–ha ha. Those boys. I had to laugh over the the built-in alarm system Rita provides–invisible, ear-splitting intimidation. I’ll look forward to seeing the results of Romero’s plan and work to get the garden back in order. I’d like to give a little verbal “knockout” to the guy who never paid Romero for the roof job. That’s outrageous.


    • When I asked Romero about it, he said they’d changed their delivery policy because customers kept the guys there forever moving stuff around. He’s done a remarkable job of making it look good already. The warm weather has brought out the leaves. I think Romero’s story is typical of immigration stories. He has absolutely no bitterness about the hardships. Remarkable man.


    • Ah, thank you, Peaches! 🙂 You are always so appreciative of my efforts here. I appreciate that. Thanks for stopping by to visit me!


  6. These are wonderful images George, accompanying your equally wonderful writing. 🙂 I’m currently at my mom’s in Mississippi and her yard is FULL of knockout roses. And though I’m also not a rose person, I’m more of a gardenia-gal, I have to admit the colors are gorgeous.


    • Hi, Alex. I guess I was desperate for color of any kind after that barren winter! As my sister reminded me, there were Knockout roses planted all around the pergola when we moved here, and we took everything out of the whole back yard down to what little grass there was. The whole place was tick-infested. The people who sold us the house had several big dogs. Ticks can live for years in the soil, so we saturated the place with stuff to kill them. Then, we started over. I’d forgotten about the roses. I know your mom is delighted to have you home again! Hugs for her! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by to visit. Oh, are you following Fabian Cousteau and the Mission 31 aquanauts? If not, start please. Chuckle. 😉


  7. Bless Romero’s heart.
    The struggles of starting life in a new country. I hear some of them from my dad.
    Roses – beautiful flowers – no matter what their stage in life – my fave flower. It was meant to be with the name my parents gave to me. 😉


    • I know. Romero has the same good attitude about it that makes all of us immigrants stay and assimilate. I know his stories from my old social worker days. Some sad stuff that would eat a hole right through you if you let it. I should have titled this post, “Roses for RoSy”. It’s the Mad Cow, RoSy. I intended to do that. Your folks must have known they had a rose, huh? 🙂 Thanks for always coming to see me!


      • I so feel the love. Thank you for the lovely roses. As I’ve said before – love these flowers – no matter the stage. Perhaps – because I’ve experienced some of these stages at one point or another. Such as life. 😉

        You’re welcome. I always enjoy visiting you & enjoy when you get a chance to stop by & visit me too.


    • Thank you, Kenn. Although I never understand the “charm” to which you refer, I love you for saying it! Glad you liked the post. Thanks for stopping by to visit! 🙂


  8. Beautiful roses! It’s heartbreaking to hear story like that, why cheat poor people…


    • Hi, Amy! I was glad to find some colorful plant after the barren winter! Human nature, I guess, is what makes some people cheat others. A sad lack of morality and humanity, I’m afraid. Romero does not feel any bitterness about such treatment. He’s been very successful and figures those evil folks have to answer for their misdeeds. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by to visit!


    • Thank you, Kathy! I’m happy to see you here. I will drop by your place soon! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. I was desperate for some color after that killer winter we just had! Chuckle…


  9. I really smiled when I read this because I remembered that there were lots of Knockout roses planted around the pergola when you bought your house and you had them removed!! It’ll be interesting to see the new landscaping. I imagine all the plant places have done a booming business down there this spring after the bad winter weather.


    • ha-ha! You know, I had totally forgotten about those roses! We had them removed because the yard was infested with ticks, you remember. The nurseries, what few are left, had done a booming business, of course. Lots of stuff didn’t survive. I ordered a water lily that is hardy all the way to the northeast. I’ll let you know how it does. I always wanted one. I bought it from Hummingbird Farms, in NC, I think. You could also have a Clematis in a pot with a trellis. I bought one of those too. It’s a pretty purple/blue/white color. Have you refurbished your patio garden yet?


    • Oh, Rob, what a sweetheart you are! 🙂 You always make me grin from ear to ear! I hope you are doing much better now. And behaving yourself! Your photography is as good as ever so you must be okay… Creeping around getting photos is hard work in the bush! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by to visit me!


  10. I love the roses, my favourites are salmon coloured. My Gran nicknamed me her Yellow Rose of Texas when I was a toddler, so roses are special to me. Thanks for featuring them! I can’t believe how some people lie and cheat others, it is beyond me. I do believe that they’ll get what they deserve, but sometimes I just wish I could see it happen!!!


    • My favorite is the salmon-colored too. I had a Tropicana Rose in NC that grew into a huge bush covered all summer in beautiful blossoms. My mother told me about them. She always had them too. I can believe how folks lie and cheat. Romero and I are forever telling stories of just such stuff to each other. We always had the same trouble with people who didn’t want to pay too. But, we were not dependent on any one job to eat as he was. He’s a remarkable man. The Great American Immigration Story. It’s always been that way and always will be, I guess. Sadly. Romero helps lots of young people who come here now. As do the old folks whom I used to see when I was a social worker. Thanks for stopping by, Charlene!



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