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Unexpected Bansiae!

Posted by NewGirlinNorCal 9b (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 16:30

I'm feeling terribly smug right now- I proved the naysayers wrong and found a feral R Banksiae lutea growing along the I-5 here in Sacramento where the freeway follows the river. Of course there was only one naysayer and she was me, but I don't care! It's super exciting. There are Kerria japonica planted all along I-5 here and if you squint and are going fast enough it looks an awful lot like a Lady Banks.

I've seen this blooming for the last two springs but it took me until today before I figured out how to get to the darn thing for a closer look. I'm happy to say that the trip was about 95% legal and along the lovely paved river walk.

I just can't help but wonder how on earth it got there! I think it's unlikely someone planted it as the fence it's up against isn't strong enough for a Banksia which means it might be a seedling of one of the plants in the Old City Cemetery! The spot is about a mile "as the crow flies" from the cemetery so I guess it's possible.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Unexpected Bansiae!

I realize that responding to myself is terribly bad form, but I wanted to include the close-up picture I got of the flowers. The other R Banksiae lutea plants I've seen in the city are only just starting to bloom, so I find it very interesting that this one is in full swing already while the others aren't quite ready to go yet.


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RE: Unexpected Bansiae!

  • Posted by seil z6b MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 19:08

Wow, you have eagle eyes! And you're very intrepid and determined, lol. It might just be in a warm spot and that's why it's bloomed earlier. It's lovely!


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RE: Unexpected Bansiae!

I don't know if the doubles can result from single seed or not as I've not raised enough of them from seed to determine that yet, but my lutescens (single yellow) sets copious self set hips and the seed will germinate by itself. The double forms don't set seed, though some hips can be formed. That one is flowering early because it has received more heat than the laggards. You can easily tell where it's warmer by how much earlier the once flowering roses begin flowering. If you have forsythia, it can also be your "canary". Kim


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RE: Unexpected Bansiae!

Thanks Seil- I really can only spot two things, flowers and cats, but those are my favorite things so it works out. :)

Roseseek- I was wondering about that! I bet it does get extra heat from the freeway and again from the protection of the slope just behind it. To be honest it's not impossible that someone planted it there, just unlikely. I admit I spent the walk back looking at all the old trees and imagining them with their own garland of Lady Banks. Guerilla gardening anyone?


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RE: Unexpected Bansiae!

Dropped pruning cutting, windblown, partly buried, rooted? That would be the most delightful coincidence, if not the most likely.


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RE: Unexpected Bansiae!

Your "guerilla gardening " comment brought back some very dear memories, NewGirlinNorCal. Ralph Moore, the Father of the American Miniature Rose, was a very dear friend for over twenty-five years. He was very much a guerilla gardener, particularly in his later years. When you live and operate a business in your home community in the same location for seventy-plus years, you have many opportunities for such "adventures".

Two stories he told me over the years come to mind. First, an oak seedling had germinated across Noble Ave. from his home. He watched and tended that seedling for a long time, making sure it wasn't molested. Noble Ave is the frontage road which runs along Hwy 99 in front of the nursery and his home. CalTrans, the California Dept of Transportation, decided to spray the sides of the freeway with herbicide to eliminate the weeds. He waited until they had left, then hurried over the clip all of the foliage off the tree and washed it down with water to save it. The tree grew for many years, perhaps may even still be there.

Second...he came up with a large quantity of a pink California Poppy he felt would be beautiful growing on the freeway banks. How to get fine poppy seeds along the freeway was the problem. He began experimenting with mud balls to determine exactly what consistency would be needed for the seeds to adhere to the balls and allow them to shatter cleanly when thrown, dispersing the seeds over the widest area. He finally hit on the right consistency of mud, generated his "poppy bombs" and set off driving up and down Hwy 99 through Visalia, "bombing" the freeway with the poppy seeds. Of course, as he related the story, I stood there laughing myself sick thinking of the newspaper headlines ..."Prominent, long-time Visalia businessman arrested for mud-bomb littering of highway!" We shared a hearty laugh over that story. That was one of his many charms..he could easily laugh at himself and his "exploits". Thank you for bringing it to mind with "guerilla gardening"! Kim


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RE: Unexpected Bansiae!

Another possibility is there was fill dirt used in that area. Fill is supposed to be clean, but sometimes plant material gets "hidden" in the fill rather than removed.

Or that the plant is left from yesteryears. If you drive on hwy 101 in Santa Barbara this time of year, by the La Cumbre overpass you can see wistera from a long gone dairy


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RE: Unexpected Bansiae!

  • Posted by luxrosa richmond,california (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 10, 14 at 19:21

I was delighted to read your posting of a feral Banksia, we have dozens of the double yellow Banksia on Richmond Parkway, between Canal Street and a few blocks beyond Macdonald street. I thought at first they were on railroad land.
They are quite drought tolerant and receive no watering at all through our annual 3-4 months of summer drought. They started blooming this year c. March 3rd and are almost peaking in their bloom cycle.

Love,
Lux.


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RE: Unexpected Bansiae!

It is likely that the banksia was planted by Caltrans. They have planted quite a few banksias in the Sacramento area along the freeway on ramps and off ramps.

If you are near Harbor Blvd, near the Sacramento Weir, look for a HUGE mass planting of bansksias. I took a photo of them a few years ago.

Here is a link that might be useful: banksia hedge near Sac River


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RE: Unexpected Bansiae!

I agree that this rose was probably planted by someone. In my town (San Rafael) there are huge banksias (mostly the yellow double) growing and blooming in trees, along streams, in vacant lots, etc. - mostly ignored or neglected, but very happy. I think all of them were planted at some point. In our climate they are such survivors that, unless someone goes to the trouble to dig them out, they just keep going and going. They are all about half out right now, and I am enjoying seeing them.

When I go for a walk later today I will try and take some pics of them.

Jackie


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Thanks Jan! I think there are some real plant lovers in Cal Trans. I know that some of the people who work there take it very seriously that sometimes most of what a person will see of California is what's along the freeways. (later) Whoa! That's a great photo!!


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RE: Unexpected Bansiae!

  • Posted by seil z6b MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 13, 14 at 12:27

Wow, Jan, that's a great photo! You are all very lucky to have these planted on your freeways. Around here we're lucky if we get scrub bushes instead of just weeds and trash.


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RE: Unexpected Bansiae!

Banksiaes are so bullet proof here in California, you find them everywhere. They're part of the normal "vine" selection at Lowe's and Home Depot. When in flower, you even see them at Walmart. Many landscape companies specify them for larger installations because you pretty much plant them and leave them alone, unless they require being machetteied a couple of times a year to keep them "in bounds". Many municipalities also plant them for the same reason. I tried for the longest time to get the city to also use Mutabilis when I had access to those who made those types of decisions. Banksiae and Iceberg are "the" roses many go to because they are just trouble-free in most situations. Kim


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RE: Unexpected Bansiae!

Yesterday I went for a walk around my neighborhood looking for Yellow Lady Banks roses. I found 6 (not counting the one on my house) within about 10 minutes of my house. I know of about 3 more, but didn't get to them yesterday. The main things they all had in common were:

1) They were all either climbing up old trees, or they were growing as part of really tall (15-25 feet) old hedges which were planted who knows when - sometimes the property they were planted around has morphed from being a large estate to being several smaller lots, but the old huge hedges are still there.

2) They were all only about 1/3rd into their Spring flush, and most of the blooms were at the top of them, so I got a crick in my neck looking for them.

3) None of them appeared to be taken care of - they were just happily blooming away. None of them were groomed or part of formal gardens.

Here is one example - it is typical of the ones I saw. I included the ground in the pic, so you can see how high up the rose has gone. In a couple of weeks it will be solid yellow, but right now just opening.

Jackie


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Another picture I took yesterday which is typical of the old banksia luteas growing around here.

Jackie


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And to think my yellow Lady Banks is growing in a big pot! There's one of the differences between Cal and Portland. A great find, New Girl! You do indeed have an eye for spotting a hidden treasure. I really got a kick out of Kim's stories about Ralph Moore! Rose (and oak and poppy) lovers are such wonderful eccentrics with such delightful senses of beauty. My Lady Banks has thrived in a pot for years but I can't make a Cal Poppy grow here for more than half a summer. Go figure. Maybe I need a mud bomb. Carol


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I'm glad you enjoyed the reminiscences, Carol. It shouldn't surprise you the California Poppies don't last in Portland. You have an over abundance of water, which they don't desire, and you don't really have "heat", which they demand. Here, in my old garden, I had to rough out columbine, California Poppies and Buddleia because they germinated everywhere the seed hit the ground, usually around the crowns of the roses. I made the mistake of planting a ton of glads one year. They not only multiplied but also seeded in the horse manure. It took several years to weed those all out, too. Kim


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Gladiolas growing like weeds! Ahhh, California....


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I just saw an amazing thing which I have to share. My DH and I drove up to Sonoma for a family party. On the way, we passed a grape growing ranch on Hwy 121 in Sonoma county called Circle Bar Ranch.

There were banksia luteas planted right next to each other at the edge of the road for almost a mile without stopping (except for a driveway). They were in full bloom. They were huge mounds - at least 8 feet tall each, and 8 feet wide, but would have been wider, except that they ran into each other. I counted (estimated) over 350 of them!

Those of you who live in No Cal may know about them already, but if you are in the area and have not seen them, it is worth a look.

Jackie


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Oh my Jackie! That would be quite a sight to see!

I thought of everyone when I saw an ad in the Saturday Home & Garden pull-out in the Sacramento Bee: Green Acres has Lady Banks for sale right now which they've described as "a small climbing rose." !!! I'd hate to see what they think a big one is!


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RE: Unexpected Bansiae!

OK, last picture - I couldn't resist. My DH and I went for a bike ride this morning, and the path goes by the College of Marin. Rows of blooming banksias everywhere, pruned into hedges. Here is a pic of some that are not in hedges, also at the college. The white rose climbing up the tree in the background is a white Lady Banks.

Jackie


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