"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
Lady Banks’ Rose (2 of 2)

Lady Banks’ Rose (2 of 2)

From “Roses of Nature: Origins of the Species” in The Rose: An Illustrated History by Peter Harkness:

“All the roses of the world in their glorious variety descend from wild roses. These naturally occurring species have been recorded in literature and folklore for centuries, but their origins stretch back further beyond written history. Indeed, the very earliest roses known to science are fossils….

“There are at least three different stories explaining how [
R. banksiae] came to Europe. One states that seed of R. banksiae alba-plena sown in Italy in 1869 germinated as R. banksiae normalis and was exhibited in Florence in 1874. Another story holds that the species was recorded in China in 1877 and came to Paris in 1884. There is also the tale that in 1796 a plant was taken from China to Megginch Castle in Scotland. It failed to flower due to a combination of unwise pruning and cold springs, but survived, and in 1905 cuttings were taken to the south of France where they proved to be R. banksiae normalis.

R. banksiae normalis bears sprays of simple white or yellowish white flowers, which appear in great profusion in early summer on stems that can extend 40 feet (13m) or more. The flowers carry the scent of violets, and the effect is such that in its native China it is known as the ‘wood smoke’ rose, or ‘Mu-Hsiang’. Its preferred native habitats are valleys and rocky places near a source of water, and in Yunnan it is grown around paddy fields to help stabilise banks and keep livestock away….

“This ‘aristocratic and altogether splendid rose’ (to quote Graham Thomas) proved rather tender for the British climate, but in 1799 it was sent to the President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, who was a keen rose fancier. It was so well suited to the dry south-east states that it became a serious environmental problem there. In Bermuda, where it also suckers freely, it is known as ‘the fried egg’, and the Bermuda Rose Society has issued a special warning to its members: ‘Think twice before planting!!'”


This is the second of two posts featuring photos of Lady Banks’ Rose from Oakland Cemetery’s gardens. The first post is Lady Banks’ Rose (1 of 2).

If you’d like to read more than I included in the quotation above about Lady Banks’ and other roses at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation, see this article: The China (Rose Revolution) from the Thomas Jefferson Foundation’s Monticello web site.

Thanks for taking a look!


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