This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The readers of the Monthly will most likely see reports of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society's June exhibition before these "Notes," are laid before them. But such a magnificent display as was then made will bear reporting very many times.
Besides, no two persons see exactly alike, as is evidenced by the contradictory descriptions given of roses. I have a theory that the great majority of catalogueers are color-blind. I see no other way of accounting for the different colors a given rose has, after running the gauntlet of half a dozen catalogues. If, therefore, rose shows had no other excuse for being, this would be enough, the bringing of them face to face with the people who can then select their roses according to their own ideas of color, and be reasonably sure of knowing what their rose-bed will look like.
For instance, the new H. P. Alfred K. Williams, is represented as carmine and magenta. It is much too dark for either of those shades - at least the specimens I saw were. It is a very splendid dark rose - as dark as the Pierre Not-tings which were near it most - and of large size and fine form. I do not think this rose has been praised enough. I am in ignorance as to its free-flowering qualities, but I put it unhesitatingly at the head of my list of future roses.
I had never seen Jean Soupert before, and although Mr. Ellwanger says it is a shy autumn bloomer, that went down next. It is, without exception, the richest in color and shading of any rose I ever saw. The tints of plum, maroon and crimson were so finely blended and the size and form were so excellent that I think it deserves to stay at the head of the list of very dark roses; and next it, and for some reasons preferable (notably freedom of bloom) is the old Louis Van Houtte. There were some fine specimens of this rose on exhibition, and its rich, velvety maroon contrasted beautifully with the fiery vermilion of the Duke of Edinburgh, the superb carmine red of Etienne Levet and the exquisite pale pink of M'lle Eugenie Verdier. This last is the most beautiful pale pink rose in my eyes of any shown, though many might prefer Baroness Rothschild. Madam Gabriel Luizet is a lovely shade of rosy pink, and of fine cupped form. Mabel Morrison is the nearest perfect white I have yet seen. It is of good size and cupped form.
Marchioness of Exeter is another fine new sort, rosy-red in color, and very attractive. Boil-deau I do not like. It is of the expanded, flat form and has a coarse look, and is not a pretty shade. Grand Duke Nicholas and Dr. Sewell were shown, but I failed to see their superiority over many of the older sorts of the same color. For bright, deep pink, Countess of Oxford and Marquise de Castillene were as fine as anything shown.
I had hoped to see some of Bennett's new hybrid Teas, but none were exhibited. Possibly the exhibitors thought it best not to give us a surfeit of sweets. As it was, it was by far the grandest exhibition ever given by this society, and worth going a long way to see.
Before closing this rose gossip, I wish to recommend the new hybrid Tea, Reine Marie Henriette, or as it is sometimes called Climbing Tea. Through the generous courtesy of Messrs. Ellwanger & Barry, I received a young plant of this new rose in the spring. It has grown vigorously and borne (even as early as the 28th of June) some of the loveliest roses I ever saw. The shade of color is a beautiful tint of cherry, with a shade of violet at first and then a suggestion of glowing orange as it catches the sun. The form is peculiar and charming, and mine measured four and one-half inches across. For a brilliant-colored and showy rose, I do not know its equal. Does anyone know anything about its hardiness? A hybrid between Jacqueminot and one of the Gloire de Dijon race ought to be hardy. But hardy or tender, it is the most distinct new rose, and one of the most satisfactory that I have seen.
At the risk of tiring both editor and reader I venture to mention the exhibit made at the June show by V. H. Hallock, Son & Thorpe, Queens, L. I., N. Y., of fine Irises. I had never seen the new Iris Kaempferi before; neither, I think, had many of the visitors, judging by the expression of admiration I heard They are so unlike our old garden sorts that one has to see them to realize their great beauty. They are of a flat, or nearly so, expanded form, and the collection embraced a great variety of shades, some of them exceedingly rich and effective They deserve to be much more widely known than they are.