Savannah Garden Diary

April 6, 2006

Lady Banks Rose

Filed under: Design, In bloom now, Patio, Vines — Tags: , , — karen @ 9:32 am
Lady Banks Rose

Here is the Lady Banks rose on the pergola one year after it was planted as a scraggly little plant that had never flowered. This has to be absolutely the best shade vine for this part of the world. What’s not to love? It is a thornless, evergreen rose with gorgeous flowers. Admittedly, it flowers only once a year and you have to prune occasionally to keep it from dripping and drooping all over the place. (The largest tree in the world is believed to be a Lady Banks in Arizona that covers about an acre of land.)

Culture is easy in this climate. She needs full sun (as I discovered with one partly under a live oak at Walthour Road which did not flower as well as its neighbor 6 feet closer to full sun). Not fussy about water or fertilizer. (Which means I have never watered or fertilized a Lady Banks more than 6 months old.)

The book says that outdoor ceilings should be higher than indoor ceilings not to feel claustrophobic and I believe it, so the pergola “roof” is almost 12 feet from the ground. This presents a problem when pruning and painting. The pruning problem I have solved with a truly excellent pruning shear-like gadget with a sliding trigger supplemented by a rope. It is powerful enough to prune the bougainvillea, so it makes light work of the Lady Banks.

March 25, 2005

Patio: More Plants


It’s now so late in the season that getting plants in the ground is more important than finishing the paving. On the right is the Yoshino cherry in flower with the ‘Nelly Stephens’ holly looking very tiny on its left.


This trellis (left) hides the mess around the back door from the patio. I decided it was unrealistic to think the back door’s surrounds would ever be attractive. It is where everyone washes paint brushes, and drops pipes, hoses, junk when coming in for a meal or escaping from the rain. Better to hide it than hope to tidy it up. The main vine on it is Bignonia ‘Shalimar Red.’


In retrospect, this was a mistake. Crossvine is native, and gets much larger than I realized until I saw one climbing 3 stories up the naked concrete wall of the parking lot at the South Carolina Aquarium. Two years later, I am still hacking it back twice a year to prevent it taking the roof off the house. Why does it grow toward the house instead of our toward the sun as I’d hoped? I need to replace it with something more manageable. I also stuck in some morning glories for a little rapid cover.

To the right is the planting area by the breakfast room steps. (I have already started tiling the steps.) It contains the Lady Banks rose (Rosa bansksiae), which has languished in the front bed for two years because it gets no sun, as well as Gelsemium Rankinii, (swamp jessamine, from Secret Garden).

This is native, but less common and larger-flowered than the Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine or jasmine) which scrambles all over our pine trees in February and March. As its name suggests, it is supposed to like lots of water, which it won’t get here.

The little boxwood on the right hides the outlet from the a/c system.

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