“How lovely yellow is! It stands for the sun.”  

I’ve always admired the soft yellow flowers of a climbing plant that I see covering archways, fences and pergolas as I drive into our local rural town. They are always a welcome sight at the end of winter. The words in the quote of Vincent Van Gogh above could easily have described this charming climber’s soft sunny flowers. I did not realise until I came across the plant more closely a few years ago on a trip to Rutherglen Victoria that this abundantly flowering climber is, in fact, a rose.

Yellow roses are a welcome addition to any garden – their colouring seeming to denote happiness and sunshine.

David Austin
Lady Banksia planted 2020

The Banksia Rose or Rosa banksia is sometimes referred to as The Lady Banks Rose because it is named after the wife of famous botanist Sir Joseph Banks. I had planned to order this rose in the bare root rose season earlier this year, but before adding it to my order, I found one in a supermarket for $5 and thought I’d give it a try. An old tree stump provides the perfect stable frame for this almost thornless abundant flowering climber that is already on its way to cover the old stump.

 “She turned to the sunlight; And shook her yellow head, And whispered to her neighbor: ‘Winter is dead.’”

A A Milne

Rosa banksia is said to have been grown in the gardens of China for hundreds of years. It was introduced to Europe by William Kerr, who Sir Joseph Banks had sent on a plant hunting expedition. William Kerr bought the first Lady Banks’ Rose which was white from the famous Fa Tee nursery in China in 1807. Subsequently, the yellow Lady Banks’ rose was brought to Europe in 1824 by J. D. Parks.

Rutherglen Victoria

It is a perfect thornless rose with trailing growth that is easy to grow and, when established, is sensational both visually and its fragrance. Although I don’t usually grow many roses that only flower once a season, I’ve now made an exception with Lady Banksia.


Few roses can boast such attributes as evergreen, thornless, disease-resistance yet at the same time be so dramatically prolific, beautiful, hardy and fragrant. All Lady Banks’ roses smell of violets, so you can imagine how perfumed an entire large pergola of Lady Banksia will be.

“We find from experience that yellow excites a warm and agreeable impression … The eye is gladdened, the heart expanded and cheered, a glow seems at once to breathe toward us.”

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The flowers are miniature, double blooms in a stunning softest yellow, and the tiny buds are so delightful sitting along the branches like pearls. It may only flower once a year but it is spectacular. If you grow this rose it is best according to the experts, to prune after flowering rather than at the end of Summer.

Just be aware that although the rose is easy to train, do not grow this rose in your garden bed. There is no way it will stop once it gets going. Best to grow it up and over an old tree or log, over an old shed, water tank or along a fence. The Banksia Rose will grow into an enormous plant given the right conditions. There is a Banksia rose in Texas said to be the largest rose plant and is 132 years old. It covers an area of 840 square metres and 3.7 m circumference of the trunk

I wonder how long mine will take to cover the large tree stump? It has only had one season and was planted out as a tiny pot plant, and now it is flowering and moving upwards every day, so it may not be very long.

All Content Di Baker 2021

Images Di Baker in the garden 2021

Title quote Vincent Van Gogh


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