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.
An American correspondent of the Belgian Horticultural Review, Mr. Jonathan Evans, writes to the editor an account of the origin of the Noisette Rose, which we may translate from the French as follows: "The Noisette Rose is a daughter of America. She was born one day in the garden of a brave citizen of Charleston, South Carolina, Mr. John Champney. It was obtained by fertilizing a Musk Rose, Rosa Moschata, by pollen from the China or Bengal Rose. Botanists called the new creation Rosa Moschata hybrida, and Rosa champneyana indifferently. But after awhile the name was superseded by that of Rosa Noisettiana in this way: At Charleston there lived a gardener named Philip Noisette, who was of French origin. This man fertilized one of Champney's hybrids, Champney's Pink Cluster, and getting from it another variety sent it in 1814 to Louis Freres, of Paris. The Rose became rapidly famous, and the name of Noisette replaced the first name of Champney, for the new race. It is just as it was when Americus Ves-pucius was given the honors due to Christopher Columbus in the naming of the great continent. The flowers of the Noisette are highly fragrant; they are numerous, double, and charm by the variety and delicacy of their colors.
The following varieties, esteemed in America, are worthy the attention of Europeans: Beauty of Greenmount (1854), Isabella Gray (1854), Dr. Kane (1856), America (1859), Woodland Margaret (1859), Cinderella (1859), Russulda (1860). The Noisette Rose has one delect, the flower fades rapidly; but then what would we have if we had a choice? lam tempted to repeat the pretty verses of Th. Gautier, the French poet, which give pleasure even to a Yankee like me:
"The world is formed strangely! The weak is the strong!
Like shades in a dream, 'tis the vision allures, - 'Tis sorrow, not pleasure, that stays with us long;
The Rose lives an hour, but the Cypress endures".
The progress of Botany during the past quarter of a century has been wonderful. In the early part of the present century the science had a fascination through the labors of Linnaeus and his co-adjutors, and the romances of such writers as the first Darwin, - but very little was really known of plants at that time. The efforts of these pioneers extended very little further than the reducing to something like order the scattered masses of facts about the affinities of plants. It could not be expected that learned and acute as these men were, they could at once reach the perfection of method. Thought, as well as all other departments of nature, walks on, but does not make great leaps. There must be evolution by degrees intellectually as well as in everything else; hence, in the science of botany, as in all things else, its history has to be written over again every few years. In these modern times, instead of taking one or two prominent features of a plant as the chief objects of study, every portion is deemed important.
Its internal structure has to be investigated as well as external appearances, before we feel that we know it; and how it behaves is just as important as a knowledge of its several parts.
If we would know how we have advanced in our knowledge of these things, it will only be necessary to compare Professor Bessey's work with similar ones published, say but ten years ago. The necessity of such a work now will be at once seen and its value fully appreciated. We have read it very carefully through, and can commend it as one well worthy of the times, advanced, indeed, as the times are. It will no doubt become a standard work for study wherever botany is to be intelligently pursued.
If we were disposed to be critical we might refer to some points we think weak. There is so much of original observation going on in these days, and so little, comparatively to what there was in the past, of absolute dependence on the experience of one or two observers, however great they may be, that it cannot be expected that any two close students will be disposed to accept all the conclusions of any author in a branch of science which all acknowledge to be an unfinished one. We will merely content ourselves by saying of this, as we said recently of Dr. Gray's Structural Botany, that we feel that many matters here given as absolute truths, would have been better presented as " prevailing hypotheses." Instead, for instance, of saying that " the peculiar structure of the flowers of Asclepiadacese has recently been shown to be for the purpose of securing the services of insects in the process of pollination," it would have been better to have said, " believed in some quarters to be for the purpose." That pollination is assisted by insects through the peculiar structure is a fact that one may safely teach; but that it was especially designed for this purpose is a disputed hypothesis, which might be well taught as such, but not among the things " shown to be " truths.
However, as we have said, these little weaknesses in a great work do no harm. They rather do good. For in these days, when original personal research is at the bottom of all instruction, slips of this kind strike the student, and lead him on to become wiser than his teacher; and this is a result which the best leaders in botanical progress, like Professor Bessey himself, heartily desire.
We trust this book will have a wide sale. Certainly no one who wishes to keep up with the progress of botanical knowledge, can afford to pass it by.