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Ursula's Dream

Updated on October 28, 2017

Or How I Made Friends with a Rose

I don't know the first thing about roses. I never imagined having one in my garden.

So what am I doing taking up rose-growing at this stage of my life? That's easy to answer, I had a special get-acquainted chance to find out about this lovely bloom, a chance to remember some happier, innocent days of my childhood.

So I now have a rose.

But this is not just any rose, this is Ursula's Dream.

Ursula's Dream

The rose was specially commissioned to mark the 115th anniversary of the establishment of St Columba's College, my old school. I don't know how much the nuns enjoyed teaching me, but I certainly enjoyed my eight years there and I can say, quite truthfully, that those days were some of the happiest in my life.

The first principal was Mother Ursula, who had a dream of setting up a college for young women. That's her in the 19th century photo, looking calm and very much in charge of herself. My teachers had that same air about them.

Originally from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Ursula Bruton brought an unmistakable Irish touch with her and it lasted right through my own school years. Apart from the excellent education, I picked up a powerful sense of social justice, a wild love of language and a certain fondness for Columba, scholar, saint and irascible rogue.

So here I am, 50 years later, with a rose in memory of Ursula's Dream.

How will I ever learn to care for a rose?

How about a Pot?

During the 13 long years of drought in Melbourne, I abandoned my garden. All of my pretty borders and decorative bushes were left to care for themselves and, frankly, they couldn't do it! Plants died but others appeared as passing birds left me treasures.

I spent any gardening energy I had on a few herbs in pots and carried buckets of water from the washing machine to these survivors.

Pots! That's the answer. I'll put my rose in a pot and, later, when it's established itself, I'll just place the whole thing in the ground. Even better, I'll organise my son to dig into my clay and he can do the rest. Easy solution..

Yes! I can plant a potted rose

Luckily, I have Lisa

My friend Lisa knows about roses.

Not that she has any in her garden, that space is completely dedicated to growing food, but she still knows about roses. She's always ready to give me a helping hand too!

We spent a happy hour or so putting Ursula's Dream into pots. At least, Lisa did the heavy work, I watched from the sidelines and made encouraging noises.

In goes the Potting Mix

The containers get filled to about halfway with potting mix from the local nursery.

The rose is carefully placed

Lisa poured in the potting mix to about half the size of the pot, piling up a small mound in the centre.

She then carefully placed the roots down and outwards over the mound. Like a little seat for the plant and absolutely no stress for Ursula's Dream. Lisa made sure that any longer roots were dug in around the edges of the mound so that they weren't twisted or bent to the side.

I even got my own hands dirty here by patting in more soil as Lisa held the plant firmly.

A good soak

A nice big soak, then more of the potting mix around the rose. Lisa pushed that soil down hard so that no air would be trapped around the roots. More of the mix, then another good soak.

Now, all I have to do is wait till Spring!

I'll let you know how my rose gets along.

By Spring I should have photos to show the progress of my very own Ursula's Dream

Have you ever grown a rose?

Are you an expert on roses or a novice like me?

See results

© 2013 Susanna Duffy

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    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 

      4 years ago from California

      What a nice story and remembrance. I hope the rose is thriving.

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 

      4 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      Ursula's Dream looks like a beautiful yellow rose. Good idea to put it in a pot first until it can be put savely in bare ground. Don't forget to water it thoug in the summer season.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      A lovely story about a rose - and about yourself

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I hope this special rose grows for you strongly and sweetly. I'm sure it will!

    • SusannaDuffy profile imageAUTHOR

      Susanna Duffy 

      5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      @lesliesinclair: Thanks for the advice. They'll be in the pots for 3- 5 weeks, to be planted out when the ground has wamed up

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      5 years ago

      It's a gorgeous rose and I like the story, knowing that it's very meaningful to you. One caution though, roses really need to be planted in the ground and I'm not sure it's a good idea to try to grow a rose in a pot even for one year.

    • TwilightLurker profile image


      5 years ago

      This looks like a really relaxing hobby that has the potential to bloom into something beautiful. There's obvious effort involved, like with everything else in life, but I imagine it's really satisfying to see healthy roses rich in color come to life!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I WISH I could grow roses! I have tried and tried and they just die. Thanks for giving me some ideas and the confidence to try again

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      You are lucky to have the opportunity to grow these beauties.

    • linfcor profile image

      Linda F Correa 

      5 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      I have several rose bushes and planning to plant more. The pleasure of these amazing flowers will bring you joy !~They are well worth the effort

    • amosvee profile image


      5 years ago

      Some day, try Joseph's Coat. It's stunning.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      Best of luck with your rose. I look forward to some photos of it thriving and blooming.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      This is a wonderful story of how you came to have Ursula in your garden. Roses are wonderful, and even grow here in the desert where I live. They are more hardy than people realize, but do need some care. Beautiful lens and story.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thank you for the wonderful story! Many of my grade school and high school classes were taught by nuns. I feel I received a better education than my public school friends. Congratulations on your Purple Star!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      5 years ago from Colorado

      May Ursula's dream grow on and on. I expect she will be a lovely, thriving plant. And plants do dream deeply. I have one lovely yellow rose bush, a wild and wooly thing, that blooms abundantly in May and June. It's a hardy rose plant, given that this is a harsh climate in the high desert. Yellow roses have always been my favorite. Congrats on your Purple Star! Beautiful.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Beautiful rose! Beautiful story!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Your rose is a beauty in its sunny yellow color. Ursula's Dram is sure to grow and bloom many wonderful memories for you.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      I don't know anything about roses either. Good thing you have Lisa to help you and Ursula.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      On another note - as much as I dislike the whole concept of private/religious schools, many of them were started for girls by women who probably didn't consider themselves feminists, but nevertheless were champions of education for girls and women with a view to giving them independence. They weren't all about creating/perpetuating privilege.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      We have grown roses in the past and my favorite was the Tropicana. Now, we have the Knock Out Roses and they are so easy and pretty. Good luck and enjoy your roses

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 

      5 years ago from London

      Wishing You and Ursula well.

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 

      5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Great tips on planting roses, You will get so much joy watching this special rose grow and flower though the seasons.


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