I planted this beautiful rose beside the front door fifteen years ago, following the advice of Saggers nursery in Newport, Essex. Saggers give really good advice. In fact most of the best plants and stunning shrubs in our garden come from them. Being privately owned they are a good bet compared to the more commercial local nursery gardens.
This is Rosa Banksiae ‘Lutea’, a rambling rose that does not drop its leaves in winter in this part of the world. It’s also virtually thornless and the clusters of small double petalled flowers delight us through the month of May.
When to prune
Our specimen is rather wild. We give it a good crew-cut just after flowering as the flowers only appear on last year’s growth. Because this rose romps away all summer, it has several light trims to keep it in shape and always flowers abundantly in the Spring.
As you can see, the weight of the flowers has pulled the branches down over our sitting room window. We are happy to put up with the nightclub lighting for a few weeks as the blossom is so heartening. If a rose only flowers once a year you want to enjoy its moment 100%. In fact with global warming, it flowers in a small way from January, in small bursts.
I visualised that the word Banksiae described a rose that rambled over banks (the grass ones rather than the High Street version). I imagined that Titania would laze on a Banksiae strewn mossy bed.
I discovered this morning that Lady Banks bred this rose in 1825. Her husband was Sir Joseph Banks, a naturalist, who travelled with Captain Cook when he discovered New Zealand. I must admit that this tickled me. His wife was breeding this wonderful rose as he roamed. Over two hundred years later we are still enjoying the blossom. Her rose is spectacular.
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