Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I Take It Back!

Can you believe it?  For years, I bad-mouthed this rose.  I told everyone I could how disappointed I was with it.  How little the blooms were.  How little it bloomed.  How frustrating it was for me.  Tiny little blooms on tall canes. The scale was just - wrong.

And then, something happened.  It started last year.  I noticed its blooms were a bit bigger.  It was blooming a bit more, if not more frequently.  I started to accept it, even if we weren't quite friends.

But this year, everything has changed.  It has finally won me over.  I am infatuated, if not fully in love yet.  This year, its blooms are large.  They don't look miniature anymore.  They are big enough to hold their own on a tall bush.  They are - dare I say it? - fabulous!

This is 'James Galway'.  And he and I are finally friends.

I purchased James Galway many years ago.  He was the first rose to introduce me to the bigger world of roses, outside of Flower Carpet roses and Knock Outs.  I was now ready to learn, and I wanted a rose from that David Austin guy I had read about in magazines.  That was the extent of my knowledge of roses, and of David Austin.  But I was determined to get one of 'those' roses.  If you don't know David Austin, he is big with a capital B in rose circles.  But this post is not about him, it's about James.

I chose James Galway because of the name.  James Galway was a famous flautist.  And since I had played the flute in high school and some in college, this was the rose for me!  Plus, just in case I needed a reason to seal the deal, he is nearly thornless!  So, it seemed like a simple decision.  I was assured that James Galway could be either a bush or a climber, and I stated "I want the bush kind."

There is no "bush kind" of James Galway.  James Galway is a climber.  Period.  You can prune him into a bush shape, but he will still try to become a climber.  I didn't know that.  I planted him - somewhere - I can't remember exactly.  Because I've moved him at least three times, possibly four since I purchased him.  Not really recommended.  I've even tried to train him around a pillar, but his canes are strong and stiff.

Perhaps that's why he's taken so long to settle into his home (about 5 years in that spot).  And although I've threatened to move him again (!), I will probably just let him stay where he is now.  Even though where he is now means I have to fight his nature of trying to become a climber and prune him heavily each spring and fall.  One year I didn't prune him heavily enough and he grew so large he was flopping over, slapping everyone in the face.  That didn't make for such a nice welcome!

So, poor James has had a hard life.  He has been moved by an indecisive gardener.  He has been pruned against his nature.  And he has been bad-mouthed by his mama.  But in the end, he has flourished.

I'm certain there's some lesson to be learned.  Be patient.  Roses take time to settle in (three to five years is the usual time stated).  Be sure you know if your rose is a bush or a climber.  Don't be so indecisive and quit moving roses around (haven't learned that one yet).  I'm not going to worry about the lesson.  I'm just going to enjoy the rose.  Although if you choose to get a James Galway rose, I would recommend a place in the back of the garden, where he can stretch out tall and wide.  And then be patient.  It will be worth the wait.

Have you ever bad-mouthed a plant, then had to take it back?


  1. It was worth the wait. Beautiful full petaled blooms.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. Holley, your James Galway is very beautiful. I am glad that you didn't give up on him. I noticed in my own garden, too, that even though it is usually said that a rose needs three years to reach maturity for some of them it takes much longer, closer to five years. As so often with gardening patience is key!

  3. It has such gorgeous blooms on it.I am glad you waited on it to come around. I love the petals and shape of the blooms. Have a great week!

  4. You are the ultimate gardener - keep on trying until the plant is in the right spot. Most would have given him up as a loser. Beautiful blooms. So many roses, so little time.

  5. That is a beautiful rose, but then I don't have to deal with it like you have. I'm just admiring from afar. And I played the flute through high school too. My last year teaching I agreed to play flute with the elementary school band for their Christmas concert. With practice the fingerings came back to me. The 5th graders were so pleased to have me there with them.

  6. I've totally badmouthed a few plants I'll admit it! Lilies mostly and I got sent free lily bulbs this year and had to eat my words when they came up beautifully.

  7. Cher - The blooms are adorable. So filled with petals it's amazing they can all fit in there!

    Christina - We are always being taught that lesson of patience, aren't we? I'm getting tired of it! LOL I never give up on a plant as long as it's alive. That's the only reason I still have James!

    Lona - I do love the blooms, too. And it is a very pretty color. It's a very warm pink, so it goes well with a lot of complimentary planting colors.

    Tufa Girl - I just keep on trying until the plant either makes it or it dies! I guess instead of getting rid of a rose, I just complain about it instead!

    Marcia - I bet they were so excited to have you playing along - and what a great lesson for them. Music is for all ages.

    Marguerite - haha Well, I'm glad your lily bulbs came up beautifully. Sometimes with plants we just have no idea what went wrong, or what went right!

  8. Holley,

    That is one beautiful rose! Does it have much/what sort of fragrance? I am still waiting for my chance to fill some serious space with DA roses.

    And sometimes it is the best plants that teach us patience... but oh, it is hard to wait!!!

    The verdict is still out for me on the dwarf russian sage P. 'Little Spire'. But it started to look better as soon as I dared criticize it in August!

  9. Your rose is indeed fabulous! Such beautiful and delicate petals. It just needed some time to turn from an ugly duckling to a gorgeous swan.

  10. Lovely, lovely rose. I have one rose that I'm not sure WHAT it is! :) I'm glad you kept it around. I don't know that I've come around to any plants quite yet, but there are a few that I can grudgingly admit work well!

  11. The patient trait was never very big amongst gardeners but boy oh boy the pay off is awesome when we do wait-forced to or not. James is most lovely and the roses do look huge!

  12. Wife, Mother, Gardener - I don't have the best nose for scent, and it smells somewhat, but the scent is quite understated. Smells rosy to me. :) I can't wait to hear more about your plans for a DA rose garden! How fabulous!

    Olga - Your description is so right! From an ugly duckling to a swan! :) I have always loved its little petals, and now I'm glad the blooms have finally grown up!

    Hanni - Having plants that work well are the best plants of all! I'm a planner, but when things change, I will plop wherever it suits me best at the time. That's how this one got so many homes!

    tina - I think that's why an old garden has such charm that new ones lack. Just the charm of plants growing into their own potential. This rose is quite tall. Even though I cut it down every summer, it is still almost 10 ft. tall!

  13. Very nice... We have roses sometimes which start out 'ugly' (if a rose can ever be ugly) --and then turn out to be beautiful!!!!!

    My hubby brings a new bloom into the house for me to enjoy almost every day.. I'm spoiled!!!!! BUT--I love it.

  14. They are absolutely lovely! I'm amazed that they do so well despite the very hot weather.

  15. Funny how things go that way. A few disparaging words and there it goes against the odds.

  16. I'm glad James pulled through for you! My last garden had entirely too many David Austin English roses. I was indecisive about which rose I wanted to grow. I only ever grew one that I ultimately felt did so poorly that it needed to be removed (Winchester Cathedral), and that was because it was a total rust magnet. Most all of the others though did very well, especially after their second year, even in challenging conditions, where the summer temperatures frequently danced around 110F! 'Kathryn Morley' was the star of that garden, and I still miss her, but if I grew roses here they'd simply be deer fodder. You're lucky you can grow them!

  17. Beautiful just beautiful! Glad you didn't give up on them...funny how plants surprise us!

  18. Oh, it is just a beautiful blush color. Does it smell as divine as it looks? I'm glad you kept it ;) XOL

  19. A prime example on how sometimes patience is all you need :) A lovely rose!

  20. Beautiful! I love the color of the blooms against the brick. I have a climber that I keep trying to persuade to climb sideways along the fence and not into our new porch. Somewhat listens to me. I have moved my oakleaf hydrangea twice now. I vow to let it be. Just look at James!

  21. Betsy - What a wonderful thing to have a new bloom every day! Oh, I need to start doing that!

    One - Most roses do o.k. in our heat, but they quit blooming if it's too hot. The cooler weather has brought them all into bloom now.

    GWGT - Most things are like that, aren't they? I seem I'm always eating my words!

    Curbstone Valley - I didn't think any garden could have too many Austin roses! ;) Thanks for the tip on Kathryn Morley - I'll look into her! Our door are most interested in our vegetable garden. I hope they never start eating my roses. So far, so good, but I'm venturing out farther and farther from the house with my plans, so that may become a problem some day.

    My Garden Diaries - It is funny how this one turned so beautiful. I had decided just to never look at it! :)

    Happy Homemake UK - It does have a nice scent, as all Austin roses do, but it's not strong. I wish the scent were stronger. I love to have a rose perfume an entire room!

    Mark and Gaz - And sometimes patience is the hardest lesson to learn. We know those plants will get bigger, and sometimes better, but it's hard to wait.

    Violet Fern - I have a few climbers that like to do their own thing, too. Sometimes they just don't know how to read the plans! ;) I bet your oakleaf hydrangea will fill out beautifully in a year or two.

  22. Some roses just take a while to settle in. Good for Mr. Galway you are patient! Ha Lovely rose....

  23. redneckrosarian - He is lucky I'm not much on shovel pruning!


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