Rambling Rose Returns
Lady Banks is a species rose, an old wild rose first discovered growing in western China, transported to India for cultivation before being brought to England by the Royal Horticultural Society. The yellow rose rambled to America in the 1800s where it has been a favorite in southern gardens as a thornless disease–free evergreen.
The vigorous fast growing rambling rose can reach 30 feet, so it needs room to roam. In the Midlands, you see single specimens mounded in the middle of lawns or at the edge of driveways. Lady Banks makes an excellent ground cover especially on slopes. The long stems can be trained on sturdy arbors, trellises and pergola. If planted near a tree the rose will soon scale its way to the top and cascade down. In rural areas, the rose smothers abandoned cottages, sheds, and garages. In China, the rose is used as a fence to border crop fields. Here it can be used as a privacy fence.
To obtain the best floral show, plant Lady Banks in full sun. Soil should be humus– rich and well drained but many Midlands Lady Banks tolerate a range of soil conditions without blinking a blossom. Lady Banks blooms only once in spring for a period of 3–4 weeks. The rose needs pruning only after the bloom cycle and only to remove dead wood or to keep the stems under control.
Local garden centers carry Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea,’ the most common doubleflowered yellow unscented subspecies. The yellow pompom flowers appear in clusters.
The rose is propagated from seed, cuttings and layering.
Who was Lady Banks? The rose was named for Lady Dorothea Banks, wife of British botanist, president of the Royal Horticultural Society, director of Kew Gardens, and financier of many plant hunting expeditions, Joseph Banks. He was an influential figure in reshaping the look of England’s gardens.
The thornless rambling rose Lady Banks ‘Lutea’ with its disease and drought resistance, longevity, and minimal care will coax you to reconsider species roses when reshaping your garden.