This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
It is the universal testimony of those in a position to know the facts in the case, that there is a great and rapidly increasing interest in the cultivation of roses. The magnificent new Hybrid Perpetuala are sufficient excuse for any amount of enthusiasm. But right here, at the very threshold of rose culture, is a "lion in the way".
In the Editorial Notes, page 7, of the January Monthly, I read that the Manetti Rose, once popular as a stock for budding roses on, was practically abandoned something like thirty years ago; or, to use the exact words, " the force of public opinion caused florists to utterly discard it".
Now I open Ellwanger & Barry's Catalogue of Select Roses for 1881 - and a most conscientious and reliable catalogue it is - and I find that these well known and skilled rose-growers say that they grow them in about equal quantities on their own roots and budded on Manetti.
Then I find in Mr. Saul's catalogue the following: "Our Roses are on their own roots, except the newer sorts, and those which, from experience, we find do better budded. These we furnish on Manetti".
Mr. John B. Moore (the "Moore's Early" grape man), of Concord, Mass., makes a specialty of roses. That he grows fine ones, I can bear personal witness, he being one of the chief exhibitors of roses at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society's June shows. The many " first prizes " awarded him by the committee, are a substantial proof of their excellence. Indeed, I was so pleased with his roses last June, that, in the first flush of my enthusiasm, I wrote for his catalogue. I wanted to get them near home, as expressage en small orders from a distance, often exceeds the order itself. I had also seen his roses and believed he knew how to grow rose plants, if he could grow such fine roses. Then I wanted them pot-grown, as everybody knows that roses have strong constitutional objections to being "pulled up by the roots." I opened the catalogue ; everything was all right till I came - O horror! - to this: "Our roses are all budded on Manetti".
Now I submit, is not this thing an outrage on poor, innocent and unoffending amateurs ? How are they to decide when "doctors disagree?"
I confess to a prejudice against budded roses, and yet I had so much confidence in the authorities named, that I was fast settling down into the belief that, possibly, these practical rosarians knew more about it than I! But now comes the Monthly with the assertion that budding roses on Manetti was driven to the wall a great many years ago, by the " force of public opinion".
All my old distrust is up in arms at once. Surely it must have been a dreadfully disreputable practice to have caused such a result. I am all at sea again - who will come to the rescue ? Please, somebody, discuss this matter, pro and con, that amateurs, desiring the best results from their outlay, may no longer be in such a state of lamentable ignorance in regard to the two methods of propagation.
[Almost all - perhaps all roses - grow better and make finer flowers when budded on the Manetti than when grown on their own roots. This is as true as gospel. The trouble is from the suckering. The Manetti rose-leaves and shoots are very much like those of ordinary roses, and they push out from the stock without being observed. If they are not observed, all the graft above the sprouts die. If one has the intelligence to discriminate and the time to watch for, and take care of these suckers as soon as they appear, there will be wonderful success with these grafted roses. But nine out of every ten people do not know, or if they know, neglect it in time, and the result is that in one or two years after planting, when the rose-lover looks for his grand June show of rose flowers, he has nothing but miserable Manetti buds for all his trouble and expense. A quarter of a century ago, before the last craze on Manetti died miserably, it was no uncommon thing to go from garden to garden and find nothing whatever but Manetti plants, where people thought they had choice roses. - Ed. G. M ]
Speaking of the Niphetos rose, Mr. Mansfield Milton, in an essay before the Portage County (Ohio) Horticultural Society, says : "I have often seen the buds of this rose over three inches in length, but is not suitable for planting out of doors. It is a weak grower unless well protected and grown under glass. It makes a splendid rose budded on a good vigorous stock. Roses are often much changed by budding on different stocks. American florists generally advocate the growing of roses on their own roots and use this as a recommendation in favor of their stock. In the neighborhood of Boston, where the best roses in America are grown (thanks to the enterprise of the florists, supported by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society), most of the fine roses exhibited at the exhibitions of that society are grown on budded plants. Roses having strong, vigorous constitutions, are not much improved by budding on the Manetti, but most all those of weak growth - and some of the finest hardy roses grown are weak growers - require before perfect flowers can be got, to be budded on some strong stock.
Such roses therefore as Niphetos, the weak growing Hybrid Perpetuals, and a good many of the Hybrid Teas, are much improved by budding on strong stocks, either Manetti or some other strong grower".