Friday, April 16, 2010

Look Mom, No Thorns!!

I'm the first to admit that I don't know much about roses. But I know this---one rose that should be in everyone's garden is the Lady Banks.  I was lucky enough to 'inherit' one when I bought my house---for the last five years it has given such joy every spring.  This year it has been simply spectacular.

About a month ago I noticed the buds.  There were bud clusters all along the canes. 

The Lady Banks is a species rose, not a hybrid. And like so many of the plants we have all come to love, it originated in China.

Buds taking shape!

It is named after the wife of Sir Joseph Banks, who was the head of the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain.

Making progress!!!!

Besides the fact that the Lady Banks has no thorns, it also requires little or no attention! Considered very disease-resistant, it's very rare to see either blackspot or powdery mildew.

Lady Banks (Rosa banksiae normalis) has been in cultivation since 1796! Isn't that amazing!   My rose, the double-yellow, was discovered in 1824.  It's hard to imagine that centuries have gone by since this beauty was cultivated.

Technicallly, it's called Rosa banksiae lutescens.

If you like a fragrant rose, then look elsewhere.  The yellow Lady Banks has minimal fragrance; there is a white-flowered form with more fragrance, although I have not seen one.

Lady Banks only blooms once a year, in the spring.  So any pruning should be done after blooming is finished. 

Lady Banks basically takes care of itself.  The joy it brings, even if once a year, is well worth the wait!

The largest Lady Banks rose is in Tombstone, Arizona. A white rose, it covers more than 8,000 square feet. And the Lady Banks has a long life-span. The one in Tombstone was planted in 1855!

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