This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Of the roses that are forced for the cut flower market.Teas, Safrano, Bon Silene, Isabella Sprunt, Cornelia Cook, Douglas and Niphetos; Noisette, Marechal Neil; Hybrid Perpetual Jacqueminot; Hybrid Tea, Perle des Jardins, are the principal. Others, like Mad. Capricine, Malmaison, La France and PaulNeron, either have not paid the grower for forcing, or for some other cause, had, or will have but a brief existence in the flower market. The others, it is safe to say, will always be forced, especially the first mentioned, viz.: Safrano, Isabella Sprunt and Bon Silene, the subjects of the present articles. Safrano a deep saffron color, Sprunt a pale sulphur yellow and Bon Silene a deep pink.
These three have become a necessity to the florist and cannot well be done without; Safrano and Sprunt being used for ail and every kind of work; in funeral pieces, especially, Safrano being in demand; its rich saffron hue giving a clear relief to the othewise dead white of the design. In Philadelphia, not less than fifteen thousand of these three roses are used daily; in New York and Boston the amount consumed is probably nearly double that quantity, so that in the three cities there can hardly be less than seventy thousand roses used daily. Indeed, it is more than probable that these figures, if an accurate count could be had, would be found to be far below the actual number consumed.
Except, perhaps, Jacqueminot, no rose is "bulled " and "beared" to such an extent as are these three. In New York, during the busy season when the price is naturally high, the writer has known it to vary two and three dollars a hundred inside of twenty-four hours. On one occasion especially, when a great scarcity and demand was expected, the growers by storage bulled the roses to fifteen dollars a hundred, when, in consequence of an overload and an unexpected stand against the price, made by the retail men, the figure broke and the roses sold in the afternoon at all figures, varying from six to eight. This, of course, caused considerable loss and sickness among the growers, who could before the break, readily have disposed of their stock at a slight advance on eight. Such a bulling transaction is not expected again soon. Only once since that did these roses reach fifteen, and that was by a natural rise in the market, the crop having for a long time been short and the demand heavy.
As the prices of these three teas vary so much, rarely being steady for more than two or three days, of course nothing more than a doubtful monthly average can be made. The following table will give it as nearly accurate as it is possible for the writer to make it: -
November, First half, per 100.
" Second half, "
December, First " "
$8.00 to 12 00
........... 3 00
" Second half.....
*If Easter, higher. † If Easter, higher.
Contracts for the whole or certain quantity of the stock are made for the season, viz.: from November to May, at three dollars per 100.
The Boston growers have another system of contracts which is about as follows: Nov. $2, Dec. $5, Jan. $5, Feb. $4, March $3, April $3. The grower in three cases out of four has the best end of the horn on either contract, and retail men are rapidly finding this out and less contracts are made. The best Safrano, Bon Silene and Sprunt roses taking the number of growers, are raised in Boston. The best individual grower in the country is among a community of florists on Union Hill near Jersey City.
Three out of every four buds raised for the Boston market are Bon Silenes, the city from which it had its first vigorous send-off. In fact, Bon Silene is known to-day as the " Boston bud." In Philadelphia, people asking for Tea Roses, generally mean Safrano or Sprunt. The writer has more than once got himself in hot water in the first year of his business career, by sending Bon Silenes with Safranos, when " Teas" were ordered.
It is a curious fact that those who are used to handling large quantities of Tea Roses soon become so accustomed to them as to be able to distinguish the stock of the different leading growers. This is assuming, too, that the stock is all equally fine Oftentimes the reason of this cannot be explained The difference is felt and not describable. Sometimes it is a slight difference in the color of the bud or foliage, or the solidity of the bud Of the growers of Tea Roses there are but few that cut over one thousand in a day, and I very much doubt if there are any that will average that number from November 1st to May 1st. The general average among those who pay attention to them will not exceed three hundred each.