This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Early one morning in July (and the morning, as Mr. Paul says, is "the fittest time for these rambles") I paid a visit to Mr. Willison's Rose-Nursery, which is situated ahout a mile to the eastward of Whitby, and known by the name of "New Gardens," in which we have another instance, among many, of the impropriety of designating any place by the term new. These Gardens are now nearly 200 years old, as appears from the following inscription on a stone originally built in the wall:
"I SR Hvgh Cholmeley Kt and Barronet and Elizabeth my Deare Wife (Davghter to Sr Will: Twisden of Great Peckham in ye Covnty of Kent Kt and Barronet) bvilt this Wall and planted this Orchard Anno Domini 1652".
Under these lines is a shield bearing the arms of both families empaled, with the word Cholmeley near the Chomeley arms on the dexter side, and the word Twisden near the Twisden arms on the sinister side. Beneath the shield are these two lines:
"Our handy worke like to ye frutefull tree Bless thou, O Lord; let it not blasted bee".
The garden was cultivated almost exclusively for vegetables and horticultural produce until the year 1812, when a part of the ground was appropriated and converted into a Botanic Garden, Mr. Alexander Willison, the present lessee, being appointed the curator. The collection of botanical plants was never considerable, but included several very rare specimens. About the year 1828, the botanical department was discontinued for lack of support. Shortly afterwards, Mr. William Willison, the son of the lessee, began to cultivate Roses, and paid considerable attention to the raising of seedlings. At this time it was the only Rose-nursery in the north; in fact, 1 believe this was the only nursery in England where Roses were cultivated for sale to any extent, unless it was Mr. Rivers, who began some time about the same period.
The soil is of alluvial loam, tolerably stiff, and of considerable depth. There are about 700 varieties in cultivation at this nursery, comprising all the newest and best Roses grown, besides a great number of very fine seedlings. The Roses appear to thrive the best here cultivated as "pillar Roses," trained to tall pillars, and when in full bloom have a very fine effect. There are very few standard Roses in the nursery, except those cultivated for sale.
A great number of the China, Noisette, and other fine Roses do not bloom well in this locality except under glass; the bloom-buds rarely expand. I will therefore enumerate a few good Roses that appeared to bloom here in perfection.
Ayrshire: Ruga, flesh; Queen Victoria (Willison's), rosy lilac, blooming in graceful clusters. Multiflora: Model (Willison), purple, a beautiful Ranunculus-like flower. Hybrid Sweet Briers: A great number of double and semi-double varieties. Moss Roses:
Celina, crimson; Curled Crested (Willison), fine red. French: CEillet parfait, striped; Queen (Willison), dark-shaded maroon; Prince of Wales (Burgess); George Glenny (Burgess). There were several other fine Roses of Burgess's, but the above were of superior character. Boula de Nanteuil, crimson-purple, superb. Hybrid China: General Kleber, deep crimson; Comtesse de Lacepede, pale blush; Triomphe de la Guerre, lilac rose, fine, a splendid pillar Rose, and blooms profusely here. Alba: Madame Legras, fine white. Hybrid Bourbon: Mottled Great Western (Willison), very fine, and more double than Great Western; Mrs. Ellis, fine pink; Paul Perras, shaded rose; Coupe d'Hebe, bright rose; Belle de St. Cyr, bright rose. Hybrid Perpetuals: these were not so finely in bloom as I have seen them; - the most striking were, Baron Pre-vost, pale rose; Geant des Batailles, brilliant crimson, - this is an excellent rose for the north, it is a free bloomer, and opens well; Robin Hood, cherry-red, and Comtesse Duchatel. Bourbon: Aci-dalie, the finest blush white; Paul Joseph, crimson purple, inconstant in this locality; Souvenir de la Malmaison, pale flesh, and superb, but this Rose pushes rather too early in spring for this locality, and consequently often gets much cut with the cold north-east winds to which we are subject; Souchet, crimson; Madame Angelina, rich cream, fawn centre.
China: Mrs. Bosanquet, pale flesh; Mar-jolin du Luxembourg, deep crimson; Milk-maid (Willison), blush, fine wax-like bud. Tea-scented: Vicomtesse de Cazes, deep yellow, ex.; Devoniensis, creamy white, fine; Elise Sauvage, yellow buff centre, appeared to bloom very freely against the wall in these gardens; Niphetos, pure white. Noisette: Hardy, fine; Solfaterre, bright sulphur: very few Noisettes bloom well here; Cloth of Gold and Lamarque were tolerably fine against a wall with a south aspect; also several beautiful plants in fine bloom of Smith's Yellow, or rather, as I understood, a freak of that variety, which always blooms full in the centre, the original variety generally presenting a gawky centre in this locality.
There were several seedlings of Mr. Willison's of considerable merit, which have not yet been let out; among which I particularly noticed, La Exquisite, d.p., a nice full flower, of tolerable size; Ephraim Holding, a very compact flower, but I scarce know to which class it most properly belongs. Margaret Jane, h.c.: fine pinky Rose, a beautiful full and compact flower, the most perfect gem in these gardens; Victory, h.p., a nice full globular rose, but we have many of the same style of flower; Globosa, h.b., crimson purple, very fragrant, and a profuse bloomer; Marchioness of Nor-manby, h.p., fine pink, and a very perfect flower.
There is nothing very striking in the management of these gardens, having been designed more for the convenience of propagating and cultivating the Roses for sale than mere effect.
Several of Mr. Willison's seedlings have been sent to the Worton-Cottage Meetings; but were so much injured in the transit, as to render the blooms unfit to report upon.