Monday, July 15, 2013

What Lurks Inside A Lady Banks Rose? Why, a TV Dish of course!

In the Yadkin Yard, there is a Dish that is no longer connected all the way to the house, but is firmly planted in its spot in the side yard. It wasn't coming down/out nicely, definitely not. Once that was established, and the decision was made to "hide" it instead, we knew immediately exactly which plant we were going to use for that. Hello Lady Banks! Rosa banksiae 'Lutea', the Lady Banks rose, no question. This is a thornless rose, a distinct advantage when you're planning to train its growth habit. It comes in white and in yellow, the yellow being much more prevalent. It blooms once a year in the early spring, clusters of little double blooms all over the plant. Quite a show. We chose a yellow one.


As I said, the Lady Banks is a rose bush without thorns. Abraham Lincoln said “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” A very good point. And yet it's very pleasant to find a rose bush with no thorns! I have had several in the past, at previous houses, at my mother's, and currently at my daughter's house. It has only a slight fragrance if any at all.

The Yadkin Yard is in zone 7a but I initially encountered this rose in Savannah, Georgia, zone 8b. It is referred to as a "vine", which is how we're going to use it, at least to start off, but I think that's deceiving because it's perfectly capable, if not given any support, of growing numerous shoots from the ground and being its own showy separate plant. It wouldn't at that point be a vine along the ground, for example. It's going to shoot up and out. But it does take to having some support quite well. The Dish was just that sort of fine support system. I see it also referred to as a "rambler" or "climber". I would be more comfortable with those descriptions than calling it a "vine". The Lady Banks is not susceptible to the diseases that plague other types of roses. It is all-in-all a very satisfying plant.

Fairly soon after initially planting the new Lady Banks at the foot of the Dish, we noticed it was apparently quite tasty to the neighborhood rabbits. Farmer Lynn quickly encircled it in chicken wire and that was the end of that.

Here it is in mid-November 2012, planted, rabbit-nibbled, and then starting over again to grow, this time with netting around it at rabbit level --

That first year, it established itself, overcame the rabbit munching, and began its climb up the Dish post. I felt the need to train it around the post that first year so that it would go up up up and not fall onto the ground where it could be rabbit food again.

Being an evergreen plant, it still does and will cover its support year-round. This past winter was particularly mild and short, so the Lady Banks had extra Fall and Spring growing time. I am still "training" it around the back of the Dish, but I think that's just me and wouldn't actually be necessary at all.

Here it is mid-April 2013. It had already made it up the post and onto the Dish itself.

Just 3 days later, still in April 2013 --

And four days after that, it's blooming! 


and now in mid-June 2013, it's bush-ing out quite a bit. I don't know that it'll complete its coverage journey this year, but my daughter is still convinced that it will.  If not this year, then definitely next.

My daughter is in zone 7b and her Lady Banks is huge. They've cut it back mercilessly several times and it's still huge. It anchors a corner within their backyard fence and spills over the fence with gusto. And look at these blossoms!


That picture from 2012 wasn't even as big as that rose bush has gotten there. In fact, it is currently quite a bit larger than that.  Here it is from 2010 from inside the fence. See, it doesn't need a structure to grow on. It's its own little rose bush shrub here --

The corresponding plant on the other corner is a Loropetalum, a purple shrub that is also huge. There are a few different types of Loropetalums, including at least one "pixie" variety and one that's not purple, but theirs is the type that is most prevalent and clearly is happy to be in their zone 7b. The two huge plants flanking the far corners of the yard do not seem to be aware that they were designed to stay within the confines of the backyard fence, which is actually a particularly tall fence. Zone 7b must be their perfect location.

Now that Summer is here, the Lady Banks has clearly taken off. It is a very aggressive climber, in this case that's a good thing. She'll make it over and around the Dish this year. We may still be able to see parts of the black support but next year will take care of that also. With one more year's growth, in full bloom, it'll be stunning. And bye-bye, Mister Dish.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Yadkin Yard in Spring 2013

Wow, the Yard really showed off this Spring.  Here are the blooms on the old peach tree.  It blooms really gorgeous, did last year too, a dark pink all over the tree.

  Yes, this is the same peach tree Farmer Lynn put crutches on once last year before the peaches came.

Sadly the peaches, though plentiful were only about the size of a half dollar. Farmer Lynn pruned the "old guy" back last spring, and again this spring.

 Next years peaches will come from the new growth of last year's pruning so we will see if the tree is past its prime and more ornamental now.

Other show-offs
 A Redbud

This is the fancy Weeping Laceleaf Japanese Red Maple. It stays low to the ground. I didn't think I liked it at first but I really do now. It's a pretty little tree. There are actually several varieties of Maples out here.  A Bloodgood Japanese Maple brought from my mother's yard, regular red Maples and green Maples that were already here, this fancy one, and Farmer Lynn has bonsai'd either one or two downstairs.

The adolescent Bloodgood from my mother's yard and one of the bonsai'd ones:

Here's one of the beautiful Encore Azaleas Farmer Lynn brought from the city, just beginning to bloom.  There are several azalea colors -- this pretty creamy purple, red, dark pink....  The previous owner clearly loved azaleas and they're so pretty this time of year. There are a few Rhododendrons also, in the south border.  I didn't notice what color they were last year and they haven't bloomed yet.


Beautiful iris, one of several that are a dark purple on the bottom and golden on the top. Gorgeous. Farmer Lynn had carried these around with him in pots for several years. They finally got back into ground and showed their appreciation for that --

This is tradescantia. This variety has regular green foliage and purple and blue flowers. I have the 'Sweet Kate' variety that I want to transplant from the condo over here and put just to the right of these. 'Sweet Kate' has bright lime foliage and will add nicely to this grouping.

and beautiful daylilies also --


The Yadkin Yard has been a very happy yard this Spring.  We look forward to the Summer now and the garden.