This important genus of highly ornamental flowering shrubs is widely distributed over the Temperate Zone. It is divided into many sections or groups, these again being divided into numerous varieties. No one of our ornamental flowering plants is more worthy of attention from cultivators or flower-lovers than the Rose. It is well named the Queen of Flowers, and is useful and beautiful in the many positions it is called upon to adorn, provided it is given fair treatment in the way of soil and cultivation. Some of the groups will be found suitable for almost any situation: - covering trellises or arbors, covering walls or verandas, in mixed borders or as bedders. A number of the stronger-growing species (such as the Ramblers, the Cherokees and the Banksias) make grand effects when allowed to grow wildly among the branches of a spreading oak or a tall pine, their showers of white, red or yellow blossoms almost covering their own leaves, as well as those of the tree which gives them support. The Rose is propagated by seeds, cuttings, layers and budding, but by cuttings is without doubt the best system for increasing the great majority of the finer varieties. Roses of nearly all the varieties do well on their own roots, and propagation by cuttings may be carried on during the Summer and Autumn months. The first batch should be put in as soon as the first crop of flowers is over, and half-ripe wood is in condition, which is generally as soon as the flowers drop from the young growth and before the buds on the flowering shoots begin to swell. Cuttings of this wood make excellent material and should be about six inches in length, if taken off with a heel so much the better. The cuttings should be inserted in a cool, shaded border free from draughts, in soil composed of half sand and half leaf-mold. When making the cuttings in the Summer season, the leaves should be carefully preserved. Plant the cuttings in rows about twelve inches apart, and three inches apart in the row.
The tea-scented and most of the Japanese and Chinese species and their varieties root well if the cuttings are taken in September and inserted in prepared soil in a border facing the North or in boxes eight or ten inches deep; the soil should be of a light sandy nature, covered with about one-half inch of pure sand and well-watered. After the cutting-bed has been prepared and the soil watered, take off the cuttings and insert them in the soil at once; then give a good watering to settle the soil about the cuttings.
The Hybrid Perpetuals and other hardy sorts root well if the cuttings, at the time of pruning, which is in November or December, are put in nursery rows in the open ground; use the previous year's wood in about eight-inch lengths, planting the cuttings six inches deep and leaving about two buds above ground; soil of a light sandy nature should be used in the cutting-beds.
Propagation by budding is effected by taking a bud of the variety to be propagated and budding it on the Manetti or some other strong grower, selecting a time when both the stock and the bud are in proper condition, that is when the bark lifts or parts easily from the wood, which is generally in April or May, care being taken that neither the stock nor the bud is bruised during the operation.
Propagation by Seeds is resorted to only when it is desired to raise new varieties. Sow the seeds to the depth of a quarter of an inch, in January, in the open border in a sheltered spot in well-prepared, light sandy loam. The seedlings will appear in Spring or Summer. Should they come up too thickly, thin them out to about one inch apart as soon as they are large enough to be handled, and transplant the thinnings to where they can be shaded till again established. The following Spring, as early as the state of the ground will permit, take up the seedlings and plant them in nursery rows, cutting each of them back to one or two inches; plant them six inches apart in rows one foot apart. When the plants come into bloom, all those with poor flowers should be discarded and the most promising preserved till their true merits are thoroughly tested.
Propagation by layering is not much practised. It is best performed in May or June. Cover the bend with sandy soil and keep moist until rooted. When the layers are well-rooted, sever them from the parent plant and plant them in a sheltered border until a permanent position is prepared for them To grow Roses well, a deep rich soil must be used. The Hybrid Perpetuals require a strong, loamy soil, one and one-half or two feet in depth, well drained. In places where good soil is not found and rose-beds are to be formed, it will be necessary to remove the natural soil and replace it with the loamy soil; when this is done and the soil is satisfactory, it should be well enriched with old manure and the whole trenched to the depth of two feet; the operation should be carried out in the Fall. Before planting the young Rose plants, about February, first dig the ground over, breaking up all the big lumps or clods, then plant out the young plants about three feet apart, selecting a time when the soil is in good order and not wet or sticky. After planting, if the soil is inclined to be dry, give a good watering and mulch the ground with a top-dressing of two inches of half-rotten manure.
Climbing Roses of the Rambler and Banksia, as well as the Cherokee types, also prefer a strong loam and plenty of manure. The tea-scented, the everblooming, and the Chinese types seem to do best and give their finest flowers in soil of a lighter nature, a light sandy soil well-enriched with old manure suiting them admirably.
During dry weather in Summer, while the Rose is making its growth, it should receive a generous supply of water at the roots. At no season should the roots of the plants be allowed to become dry as this weakens the growth, and the young wood does not ripen firmly, while next season's growth starts feebly and the flowers are poor and colorless.