Do you remember when you were a child and couldn’t wait to grow up?  First it was learning how to walk before you could run.  Then learning how to ride a bike without training wheels.  Later you become impatient, waiting until you are old enough to get your driver’s license, although that is often scary for the parents.


Well, this is not a story about a child impatient to grow up.  Rather, it is a story of a rose bush that is in too much of a hurry to flower.


Back in January, we reintroduced roses into our garden.  We purchased 3 David Austin roses – Abraham Darby, Graham Thomas and William Shakespeare.  My children were so excited the day we received the roses in the mail.


We prepared the holes using bone meal, bagged compost, blood meal and aged steer manure according to the directions from the rose grower.  


Once we planted them, they were so small, it was hard to even see them.

Only two months later, we saw the beginning of a single rose bud growing on our Abraham Darby rose, which belongs to my third oldest daughter, Ruthie.  We were all so excited and it seemed like it took forever for it to bloom.


It was well worth the wait.  I love the light pink of the petals and the fragrance was just intoxicating.

Well, not wanting to be outdone by it’s neighbor, Abraham Darby….Graham Thomas decided that he would outdo Abraham.
Almost all at once, he started to grow not just one rose bud, but 10!


Now normally, I would be absolutely thrilled.


I mean, who wouldn’t love all of these beautiful roses perfuming the air.  But, there was just one problem.  You can see part of the problem in the photo above.


Graham had not grown big enough stems to support all the new roses, not to mention even one rose.

And so, we had beautiful roses laying on the ground….


Hopefully, Graham will think twice about growing roses before he has big enough stems.  

Interestingly, our William Shakespeare rose is quite patient.  He is rather puny and only formed his first rose bud a week ago.  But, the stem should be able to support the rose (hopefully).

And so the moral of the story is, do not flower until you have grown big enough to support them.   I hope Mr. Graham Thomas has learned his lesson….
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

20 replies
  1. Darla
    Darla says:

    It's best to grow up slow….I do find some beauty in the resting blooms though. Almost as the rush to grow up and bloom tired them out..lol

    Reply
  2. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    Great choices Noelle! I love all three of those. They are performing phenomenally too. I've never seen such a small bush with so many flowers. It's all that great amending you did before planting I bet!

    Reply
  3. Meredith
    Meredith says:

    What a cute moral to the story! Graham Thomas is one of my favorite roses — but I'm a sucker for yellow roses. I say cut off those long, weak stems and make a spectacular indoor arrangement, and meanwhile let Mr. Thomas grow some more stems, and perhaps made of stronger stuff, for a repeat bloom. 🙂

    Reply
  4. gloria
    gloria says:

    I love David Austin's roses. If I had to do it again I would have more than 2! who knows maybe I will take some out and add more David Austin Roses. The fragrance and beauty. You picked well! I love your blogs look – Gloria

    Reply
  5. gippslandgardener
    gippslandgardener says:

    Oh Noelle! That Graham Thomas has a beautiful bloom…maybe I can find room for just one more rose 🙂 He really has knocked himself out trying to outgrow his neighbor hasn't he?! He might be a bit little to support himself, but he is clearly very happy.

    I wonder if your Abraham Darby will follow the same pattern as mine, soft pink in the first flush, then increasingly apricot over the season. I love it in all of it's stages!

    Reply
  6. Ami
    Ami says:

    Your kids sure growing very beautiful roses there! I love both colors. Maybe you can stake them to support the Graham Thomas a little??

    Reply
  7. Rosie  leavesnbloom
    Rosie leavesnbloom says:

    He's an english rose – he's just resting in the heat of the desert lol.

    I'm sure the kids were delighted to see so many blooms and there must be lots of scent wafting in the breeze in your garden just now Noelle.

    He's just showing you his flowering potential – he's going to be a winner in your garden thats for sure

    Reply
  8. Brittney
    Brittney says:

    I loved this one! Who does Mr. Graham Thomas belong to? Does his impatience mirror his owner? Will it hurt him if he grows roses before he can support them or will it turn out alright eventually?

    Reply
  9. azplantlady
    azplantlady says:

    Hello and thank you so much for your comments. Mr. Graham Thomas belongs to my youngest daughter, Gracie, who is not in the least bit competitive. Ironically, the slow growing William Shakespeare belongs the my youngest son, who is VERY competitive. The rose will turn out fine and is starting to grow stronger stems.

    Reply
  10. camissonia
    camissonia says:

    Noelle, I've grown all three (also purchased from Heirloom Roses in Oregon) at my previous home in LA, and have the following comments: 1. They all smell magnificent, but my fav of these (for number of petals and intensity of fragrance) is Abraham Darby. 2. Graham Thomas is extremely floriferous and will quickly grow to 5' tall before you know it, so the ground-hugging blooms will soon be a thing of the past. 3. William Shakespeare is a gem and indeed slower to flower, but the fuchsia-magenta colored blooms are worth the wait.

    My all-time favorite David Austin English rose is Gertrude Jekyll, which is exceptionally fragrant and a vigorous grower. If you don't mind the thorns, it's definitely worth a try.

    Reply
  11. ryan
    ryan says:

    That's great you have the kids gardening. They seem to share quite a bit of your interest in plants. I myself would not have been interested in roses at that age.

    Reply

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