ROSES have been identified with England since belt, fore the time of gardens, and in that damp and rather sunless isle they flourish exceedingly, claiming more attention than any other flower, and blooming profusely for five months in the year. An Englishman uses Roses everywhere; to him they are emblems, and the chief delight of the countryside where he passes the better part of his life. He trains them over his house and porch, and upon the high walls with which he delights to surround himself, and arches them over the garden paths-he makes hedges of them and colonizes them by themselves in Rose gardens, where he spends much of his time studying their habits or watching them grow, revelling finally in their luxurious bloom. Unfortunately in the neighbourhood of New York and to the northward, we are limited in the use of Roses; there are comparatively few varieties that do well under ordinary garden conditions, and that can be brought into satisfactory bloom without the services of a skilled gardener.
Although a Rosebush is a thing of the most exquisite beauty when in flower, its foliage is so susceptible to mildew and rust and the ravages of insects, that by the time the bloom has passed the plant presents a bedraggled appearance, and grows more shabby as the season progresses, so that it detracts from the freshness of its surroundings and casts a sort of blight over the other flowers. If for no better reason space in the garden should be given to but few Roses, and they ought to be so placed that by the end of June they will be overgrown by the other plants, and their shabbi-ness covered up. The principal features of a small garden should be its freshness and vigour, and freedom from any suggestion of disease among the flowers which it contains. The long canes that roses throw out quickly after blooming and that should be allowed to grow uncut to develop the bushes properly, are most ungraceful, and give a ragged, neglected aspect to the grounds. The Roses that are used should be arranged so that this awkwardness will be swallowed up by the growth and bloom of the other flowers.
Garden Path; Wraxhall Manor.
In the Rose family the one variety that seems to be entirely immune from the attacks of insects is Rugosa, the Japanese Rose that grows quickly into a bush five or six feet high, thickly clothed with dark green foliage that appears early in the Spring. It bears single white, or reddish pink flowers, with a delicate Rose perfume, in May. The haws, or seed pods, are large and bright red, and are quite decorative, for they are conspicuous amid the healthy green foliage. If Rugosa is pruned a little through the Summer it will bloom abundantly until Autumn. This Rose should have a place in the garden, in a corner or somewhere near a path where its perfume will not be entirely lost; its freedom from disease makes it ever welcome to the eye. It is also good along a walk in the yard, and will blossom and thrive in partial shade. It is well to remember that the red variety is more vigorous than the white, and will grow into a larger bush. There are hybrids of Rugosa, but they are not as satisfactory as the parent. Blanche Double de Coubert, which bears a double white blossom of much fragrance, is considered the best.
Hybrids of this sort have never had much attraction for me; the chief interest and beauty of the original Rugosa is its large single blossom so charmingly borne - then somebody comes along and hybridizes it into an Allegheny Hollyhock! Satan certainly finds much mischief for idle hands to do.
For the sake of association there are several Roses that should be represented somewhere on a small place, and notable among these is the Provence, or Cabbage Rose (Rosa centifolia). Its scent is the typical Rose scent that one associates with the odour of Box; it is the most fragrant of all Roses. Our grandmothers dried the petals and put them in jars, to which they turned for refreshment during the Winter when the garden was odourless.
Old English Dove Cote.
The Moss Rose is a variety of Provence that has a distinct scent of its own, more aromatic than that of the Cabbage; and a feathery growth around the calyx that got it its folk name. The best Moss Roses are:
Common Moss; pale pink in colour; most useful as a bud.
White Bath; white, tinged with pink; about the best.
Crested Moss; with mossy bud and crest; very fragrant.
Blanche Moreau; a beautiful, large rose of good shape; produced in clusters.
Moss Roses are all perfectly hardy, but with the exception of Crested Moss are not easy to grow on account of their extreme susceptibility to mildew and rust. They should be vigorously pruned, for their growth is wild; and kept out of the flower garden.
York and Lancaster (Rosa Gallica) is a red and white striped Rose of ancient origin. They had it in England in the sixteenth century, and Shakespeare mentions it as one "nor red, nor white, had stol'n of both." It used to be a favourite in the old gardens of America, and in the Van Cortland garden, at Croton, New York, there is a specimen which Mrs. Earle estimates to be over a century old; it is still quite vigorous and bears many blossoms every year. York and Lancaster may be had of modern growers, and should be placed in the rose garden, or near a front yard path.
Rosa Lucida is a Rose of American origin which Miss Jekyl, the noted English amateur, says is one of the commonest Roses in old English gardens. She complains that a Rose which has for so long been popular in England has never received an English name. Its nomenclature is derived from the glossy green of its leaves. The flowers are large and single and borne in clusters; they come into bloom in July and last several weeks. This Rose can be supplied by nurserymen, and could be used with good effect for naturalizing in the neighbourhood of the garden.