This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
I send you a copy of a letter which explains itself. The author has charge of one of those beautiful estates near Poughkeepsie, N. Y. He is the most successful cultivator of the rose that I ever met with. His plants are one mass of bloom from November until late Spring. He tells a plain, unvarnished tale :
"You ask me how I manage my roses to have them bloom in early Spring. I prefer two year old plants, but use good strong one year old ones, if compelled to do so. I plant my roses out in the garden in the Spring and do not allow them to bloom during the Summer. About the last week of August or the first of September I take them up with all the soil that will hang to them, pot them and place them in a very shady place for about two weeks, out of doors, watering and sprinkling all the time, I now expose them to the sun, until the foliage falls off. All of this time they will be making new roots and the tops be at rest. When the leaves have fallen, prune them. Cut back the young growth a little and then cut out the center. Place them in the greenhouse about the 1st of October. If you use a flue in your house I would place the plants in the middle of the house, but if they are on benches over the pipes, put two inches or more of sand or tan under the pots. Do not attempt to force them too much, but give all the air possible in the day time. Great care should be taken not to sour the soil; syringe often. Soil is very important.
If it be possible get a lot of sods from an old cow pasture, three or four inches thick, put them in a heap and add to them as one to four of cow and horse manure, turn this compost over three or four times during the Summer, breaking up the sod each time. I never screen my soil for roses, nor do I use drainage in the bottom of my pots, but simply the old fibrous roots that I find in the soil at the time of potting. Turn out all of your roses early in the Spring as possible, prune off the long roots and follow directions as above given, and I will insure you abundance of flowers from November until March. I prefer to have my roses too dry rather than too wet.