By Deb Pavlosky
About two and a half years ago, I planted a zephirine drouhin climbing rose in the front flower bed of my home. It was touted as being thornless, beautifully scented, rapid climbing and prolific blooming in less than full sun. With my very small front yard and two growing live oak trees shading almost all of it, this sounded like a dream of a rose; especially the part about it being a prolific bloomer. So, I planted it in the late summer and waited for the following spring. This rose did climb quickly and it was thornless, but I only got one bloom that first spring and very few through the whole growing season. It was hardly prolific. I was so disappointed. I considered pulling it out and finding a more sunny location for it. But, as always, time got away from me and I never moved the rose.
The next spring, again, I hoped for lots of blooms that never came. I had a few, and they were beautiful and smelled heavenly, but I did not get enough blooms through the whole blooming season to enjoy. This rose was taking up prime real estate in my small landscape and I couldn’t afford to keep a plant that wasn’t performing well. Again, I contemplated moving this rose to a more sunny location, but I just never got around to it.
This spring, I wasn’t going to hope. I was going to pull the rose out and put something wonderful like a Japanese maple in its place. I began making plans of where to put the rose and picking out what lovely little tree would go in the prized spot in my landscape. I actually had my shovel in my hand when I noticed the buds on my rose. Not just one or two buds, but loads of them. I think I stood there in stunned silence for about five minutes just counting all the buds. I had a little giggle and gave the rose some speech about timing and thankfulness and then I walked away.
Those buds have been opening non-stop for a period of weeks now. My zephirine drouhin is absolutely lovely and in absolutely the perfect place. I am so thankful that life forced my patience and I am now being rewarded with the most beautiful roses.
What we all need to remember in our home gardens is that often our new plantings need time to adjust. They need to grow and spread roots, they need to get used to their surroundings and they mostly need us to be patient for them to get comfortable. And they need loving care – regular watering and good fertilizer. Give them their basic needs and a little time and they will provide.
I’m not sure why, but two years seems to be the magic number at my house. It took two years for my Rangoon creeper to really take hold and bloom well. My gardenias and camellias needed two years to really become showy as well. Two years. I know that seems like a long time, but it’s really just a drop in the bucket.