Buy More Than One, Part One

"Buy More Than One" is my new rule, for a couple of reasons.

The first reason "Buy More Than One" is my new rule is illustrated by two copies of 'Lady Emma Hamilton', a beautiful Austin rose. It's a warm tangerine color. The backs of the petals are a golden yellow, and the buds a rich red. These warm colors contrast with foliage that has a bluish cast. This variety has also got a strong sweet citrus fragrance--imagine 'Meyer' Lemon pound cake warm from the oven. Lots to love. I bought two plants in January 2009.

Here's my first copy of 'Lady Emma Hamilton', photographed yesterday:

Pathetic. Small, spindly, hardly grew at all, produced just a couple of flowers. Based on this plant, I would have said LEH is a disaster!

And here's my second copy, also photographed yesterday:

A little different, don't you think? This copy grew quickly, bloomed constantly, and was in every way a great addition to my garden. If I'd just gotten the first plant, I would have thought LEH was the worst rose Austin has released in quite a while. If I had just gotten the second, I would have thought LEH was the best rose Austin has released in quite a while.

Which is true? The first, underachieving plant was placed in good soil with its own drip supply of water. The second, healthy plant was placed in not-quite-as-good soil with its own drip supply of water. What happened? As it turned out, the first plant's drip supply became clogged, and I didn't see the problem for quite a while. One was desperate for water, while the other was getting plenty. Conclusion: a good rose--if given a reasonable amount of water. If the underachiever improves--I moved it to a better spot--then I'll be really sure it's a worthy variety. I'll have learned much more from my two copies than I would have from one. And I am very greedy for more of those fabulous blooms.

So that's my first reason for "Buy More Than One". My "Buy One Of Everything" phase is officially over. It is a risky strategy--what if both were duds? What if I bought five and they were all duds? Oh, but if you don't risk, you don't really garden.


  1. I always take David Austin's advice and plant them in groups of three. That way there are lots of rose blooms for full, lush bouquets in the house!

  2. Sheila I think you are right! A good strategy.

    In my climate, though, we must watch for mature size. The Austins can get huge here. I do adore them.


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