Honestly, I’d walked by this little bank of roses at the end of a neighbor’s fence for years and never thought much about it. Sweet, but nothing to write home about, right?
But then an elderly woman down the street, whose gardening knowledge I’ve come to respect and rely upon, motioned casually to a large spread of small yellow roses that apparently was in the process of taking over a small tree in the back of her garden, spilling over a fence and into an adjacent garden. Given that I live with a trumpet vine that long ago took over a pittosporum tree in the back yard, I still was not duly impressed.
Until I visited a nursery at the far end of town and this caught my eye.
“What’s underneath?” I asked Christine, the woman who owns the nursery.
She laughs. “See that metal frame just next to it? One of those large poles is underneath that mound of roses. It took it down!”
Wow. Truly a plant to be reckoned with! Now it has my attention.
Christine recommended that I go north down a street not far from where I live to see the awesome possibilities of a Lady Banks Rose. Next to a meandering creek, full of flowing water from the recent rains, I found this towering testimony to what a determined Lady Banks Rose can do! (Would love to know more about the woman after whom it’s named. I hope she was a dynamite lady! And I hope she traveled a lot!)
I am now fully engaged, and I’m itching to put one in the ground and bear witness to it as it does its marvelous thing. This will require some serious responsible planning, as clearly it could not care less what it eats in its path in its endeavor to be itself. As one who has written extensively about the metaphorical value of the lessons learned in the garden, Lady Banks Roses would have required an entire chapter devoted to it. As close as I came in Plant Whatever Brings You Joy is “Allow ample space for the breadth of your vision”, but also, succinctly, “Never underestimate the power of one tiny seed!”
I have a fence in mind that could use some beautifying, and I think there are no trees within its reach. OK, I just looked. Maybe a privet might get courted, but I don’t see that as necessarily a bad thing. 😉
Researching what I need to know about Lady Banks Roses to successfully grow one is heartening. I have learned they have been regarded as quite trouble free for generations. Good. And Christine has already assured me I need not bother, really, with pruning. (How would one do that on a thirty foot tree anyway?) It is found in yellow or white, though I believe yellow is more common. And it is found in both a single and double blossom.
Here’s what you can anticipate up close:
Lady Banks Roses come originally from China. They are named after the wife of the man who brought them to our sphere. Their proper name is Rosa banksiae. They bloom once a year.
Poking around on the Internets, I found this lovely tribute from a woman’s garden long ago. So charming…
Meanwhile, back to Christine’s nursery, Whispering Winds Nursery, I inquired if I might come sometime and do a small book event and she was, happily, delighted! So please take note if you are in Marin, Sonoma or Mendocino Counties (all of which I call Home) please consider coming up or over Friday, April 15th. From 1:00-4:00PM I will be sitting under a tree greeting folks, signing and selling copies of Plant Whatever Brings You Joy! And guess what? Christine and Jim have kindly offered to extend a 10% discount on any plants purchased with a purchase of my book! I found this enormously kind and generous. And be advised they have an excellent abundant choice of flowers and plants you will not be likely to find elsewhere. It’s a lovely setting. I would love to see you! And maybe afterward we could find a small cafe and sit and chat!
Warm garden love and blessings,