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I'd absolutely love to have a double white lady banks rose on my back wall (a rosa banksiae alba plena), but am hesitant because it can become so large.
Does anyone know if this rose can be pruned back to twice the height of a man and the same for its width? Easily? Is this realistic?
I've not grown this rose, and don't know anyone who has - I think it's too tender for this part of the country - not sure where you are Laura.
My suggestion is that you contact Burncoose Nursery down in Cornwall - I visited them a short while ago and they were very helpful - and ask their advice - they stock the rose and should know it well http://www.burncoose.co.uk/site/plants.cfm?pl_id=3765
..good advice there above... but I may be able to help you a little further from information I have... I've not grown this rose myself but I would doubt very much that you would keep it at that height... I think on another thread I was going to reply to you wanted 8 foot by 8 foot is that right...?
the problem here is that Rosa banksia alba plena flowers best on wood that is 6 or 7 years old, and from side shoots from this wood that is 2 or 3 years old... consequently you would have to let this rose do it's thing - grow tall and wide - to get the full value of it... also, as Dove mentioned above there, it's not reliably hardy although it's grown at Kew and I've seen the yellow version 'Lutea' in Cambridge...
to be perfectly honest, this is not a rose to contain in such a manor as you would want, it's a waste of the rose really... and you will be disappointed by the result I think...
much better alternatives exist for your purposes....
I've been looking on the late Peter Beales' website for something similar to the rose you want - I've come up with this one, Long John Silver http://www.classicroses.co.uk/products/roses/long-john-silver/ which looks gorgeous - but there are loads of others - their site has a really good search facilitiy where you can put in the features you're after and they give you loads of suggestions.
I know none of them are the rose you've set your heart on, but if it won't grow successfully in your garden ............... better find one that will
Thank you very much everyone. I am new to gardening and so it appears I have much to learn. I live in Southern California, where we all have very small, cramped yards.
I will continue to research climbers that are doubles and pure white for my area. The Long John Silver is beautiful but not readily available.
...oh goodness I had no idea you were in Southern California Laura... you might like to try the Garden Web forums, they're mostly American and lots of people from your region can advise you on this... there is an Old Garden Rose forum especially to discuss these things and some very experienced rose growers can help you out...
'Blush Noisette' might suit you... if it grows there, I think it does...