This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Cheshunt is a quiet agricultural village thirteen miles from London on the high road to Hertford and Ware.
Half an hour's ride from London by the Eastern Counties Railway-brings us to the Waltham or Cheshunt stations: the Nurseries of Messrs. Paul and Son, to inspect which was the object of our visit, are distant two miles from the former, and one mile from the latter.
The first object that strikes one on entering this "Garden of Roses," for so it may be called, is a wall of considerable length, with a north aspect, covered with Ayrshire, Sempervirens, and Boursault Roses. Notwithstanding the unfavourable aspect and position in which these Roses are placed - for the soil over their roots is paved with oyster-shells, and covered with cinder-ashes to a considerable depth - they grow most luxuriantly, and produce myriads of flowers. Indeed, the wall was one sheet of bloom when we saw it.
Thinking it might prove useful to those who may have similar situations to plant, we have copied the names of the leading varieties, which were, Ayrshire: Ruga; Multiflora: Laura Davoust, very fine; Sempervirens: Leopoldine d'Orleans, Felicite perpetuelle; Noisette: Cadot, Cerise, Grandiflora; Boursault: Gracilis, Elegans, Amadis, and Mermis. Under this wall is a choice collection of Alpine and herbaceous plants, arranged alphabetically, and kept constantly in pots. Turning from this department, we enter a broad gravel-walk, leading from the gate through the centre of the Nursery. On the right-hand side are several plant-houses, one devoted to Camellias exclusively, one to Geraniums, one to miscellaneous plants, and three to Roses. In front of the plant-houses are three ranges of pits, and an additional range, many feet long, heated on the tank system.
On either side of the main walk is a narrow border filled with herbaceous plants and Roses; of the latter, one only of a sort is kept here, being intended as specimens. Some of these Rose-trees are of prodigious size, the heads measuring from fourteen to twenty-five feet in circumference, and the quantity of bloom they produce is past all calculation. Of these fine trees, Hybrid Chinese: Fulgens, Coccinea superba, Blairii, and Belle Thurette; Alba: New Blush Hip; Ayrshire: Ruga; and French: Due d' Orleans, were most conspicuous. The girth of the stem of the last mentioned was 12 1/2 inches at three feet from the ground. But stay! we are moving amongst sundry beds of dwarf autumnal Roses growing on their own roots, and these must not escape our attention. We see two or three beds, six feet wide, devoted to each family, and a row of each of the leading varieties, containing three plants of a sort, is planted there; and fine specimens they are. The top bed is formed of Noisettes; the best of which seem to be, Solfaterre, Le Pactole, Bouton Nankin, Clara Wendel, Eclair de Jupiter, Comtesse de Tolosante, and Pamila alba.
The next two beds are occupied with Bourbons, and how splendidly! Theresita, George Cuvier, Proserpine, Paul Joseph, Souchet, Souvenir de la Malmaison, La Gracieuse, and Comte de Rambuteau, are in bloom. Then follow two beds of hybrid Perpetuals; among which our choice falls upon Aubernon, Baronne Prevost, Edward Jesse, Duchess of Sutherland, Dr. Marx, Madame Laffay, Augustine Mouchelet, Laurence de Montmorency, Lady A. Peel, Com-tesse Duchatel, Coquette de Montmorency, Comte d'Eu, and Lalle-doyere. The tea-scented come next in order; and Comte de Paris, Eliza Sauvage, La Renommee, Josephine Malton, Nisida, Devonien-sis, Eugenie Dergaches, Madame Roussell, Delice de Plantier, Madame de St. Joseph, Narcisse, and Moiret, are of first-rate merit. The series is finished by two beds of Chinese, which are the gayest of the whole; and, where hardy enough, the very best for grouping. The following are invaluable: Ducbess of Kent, Belle Isadore, Carmin d'Yeebles, Eugene Beauharnais, Madame Chavent, Madame de Rohan, Fabvier, Mrs. Bosanquet, Madame Breon, and Cels mul-tiflora.
Moving onward, we ascend a gentle slope, and find ourselves on a slightly raised terrace, with a row of pillar Roses on either hand. Some have attained the height of fourteen feet, and yet are clothed with foliage and flowers from their summit to the ground. These pillar Roses are exceedingly handsome, and worthy of general cultivation.
A few steps more lead us to the Rosarium, where one plant of a kind of the gems of the collection are planted, and which, of course, form an interesting spot to the Rose amateur, as the plants are so arranged that he may see not only the individual, but the comparative merits of each of his favourites. About 600 kinds are selected from nearly 2,000 sorts which the collection comprises, and planted in three long beds; the tallest plants being in the centre, the walks winding gracefully among them, the outer ones being of grass. It were useless to mention the old and well-known kinds which we saw here; we were rather seeking after novelty, though not. novelty unless identified with intrinsic merit. Of such character, in our opinion, are the following: - Hybrid Perpetuals: General Negrier, Geant des Batailles, Duchesse de Galliera, Joan of Arc, Vieomtesse de Belleval, Madame Trudeaux, Duchesse de Praslin, Etendard de Marengo, Comte de Montalivet, Dr. Arnal, Madame Pepin, and Soleil d'Austerlitz. Bourbons: Menoux, Vicomte de Cussy, Marquis de Moyria, Le Florifere, Angelina Bucelle, Julie de Fontenelle, and Madame Angelina. Noisette: Caroline Marniesse. Tea-scented: Madame de St. Joseph, Vieomtesse de Cazes, and Souvenir d'un Ami. Passing forward, we next entered the fields of Roses where plants for sale are cultivated by thousands.
The scene was indeed gay; here and there a group of white, or brilliant-coloured Roses rising among the less decided tints, produced a striking effect. The soil is a deep alluvial loam, twelve feet deep, below which is gravel; hence, it will appear, vegetation is not affected here by any unfavourable season.
But quitting the Rose-grounds we passed to a second Nursery of twenty acres, devoted almost exclusively to the culture of fruit and ornamental trees. Then we reached a third Nursery, three acres in extent; - but here we must not wait. Let us return to the Rose-grounds, to view a collection of hardy ornamental trees collected in a spot adjoining the Rosetum. They had before met our view, but cur attention was drawn from them through the seductive influence of the Roses.
Passing through beds of Conifers, among which Cedrus Libani, Pinus excelsa, Abies Khutrow, Abies Deodara, Araucaria imbricata, Juniperus chinensis, and Taxus brevifolia, were most plentiful, we found ourselves in the midst of the collection of hardy trees. The specimens are not large, yet sufficiently so to be interesting. Among weeping trees, we found the weeping purple Beech, the weeping Holly, the new weeping Elm, the weeping variegated Elm, the new weeping Birch, the Pyrus salicifolia, the weeping Yew, the weeping Oak, weeping silver Fir, and weeping red Cedar. Among Conifers were good specimens of Abies Deodara, A. clanbrasiliana; Pinus taurica, P. insignis; Cryptomeria japonica; Taxodium sem-pervirens; Juniperus excelsa, J. oblonga pendula; and small specimens of Pinus Hartwegii, P. Russelliana, P. cembroides, P. Lam-bertiana, P. monticolor, P. Ayacahuite; Picea amabilis, P. nobilis, P. grandis; Juniperus Bedfordiana; Cupressus Lambertiana; Abies Brunoniana, and the golden spruce Fir. Contiguous to this ground are the pot-Roses - the specimens grown for exhibition.
They were plunged in an open spot, and the surface of the soil was covered with stable-manure.
Such is some account of one of the finest Rose Nurseries of Hertfordshire - a county famed for its Roses. Next month we purpose paying a visit to Messrs. Lane's establishment at Great Berk-hampstead.