September 5, 2010

The Bush that Devoured the House

Lady Banks rose blooms
yellow in spring.
April 2010
A vine-covered cottage is such a romantic notion. Cedar shakes. A stone chimney. A garden gate canopy of blooms. I love the look, but is it practical?

All went well for four years. In the fifth year, the Lady Banksia Rose bush (a branching, not climbing rose) had shot up over thirty feet to the top of the gable and was trying to take over the upstairs window and chimney.

One would think a house safe from a non-climbing bush. Not so. The branches were undermining the cedar shakes on the house!

It had to go. The yellow blooms lasted only a few weeks each spring. Not much reward for the flowers, but I like the greenery branching over the top of the gable gate trellis.

My husband and I worked for a few hours to remove the bush. He started upstairs, reaching out the window to try to pull and cut branches that were under the eaves and latched onto the stone chimney. Our ladder doesn't reach those towering heights and a few remnants are still stuck on the house! Hopefully, they'll wither and die and not take root!

This is the second Lady Banks that we've removed in two years. Our landscaper planted one by the front garden gate and this one by the gable gate. Both were too damaging. Besides the cedar shake damage, the roots were pushing the stone corner columns and upsetting the fence and pathways as well.

I don't know if I'll plant another climbing perennial, but I want something to crawl over the top of the trellis above the garden gate in the summer months. Annual vines?

I need a vine that won't grow up under the cedar shakes, but will decorate the once-again bare trellis above the garden gate.

Clematis, but not the large Autumn Clematis, may be practical enough—perennial vines that are cut back each year, rather than evergreen that would climb and attach to the house once again.

Any ideas?

Lady Banks growing up over the window
and reaching for the chimney.
June 2010
Lady Banks gone and the trellis
is bare.
September 2010

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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