This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
A few words may be devoted to this popular genus, although as a rule its members require but little skilful attention after they have once been properly planted. But, like most other things, a little extra care in the different operations connected with their culture will be amply repaid by healthy free-blooming plants. Generally speaking, Roses may be said to flourish in any tolerably good garden soil, provided it be free and well drained. Deep tillage and generous applications of farm-yard manure are indispensable to obtain strong growth and fine blossoms. Liquid manure may be frequently given in summer with advantage.
The site for a rosary should be open, airy, and light, for Roses languish, and produce but little flower in a partially shaded and confined place. Dwarf, thick hedges, or other shelter at a moderate distance from the beds are necessary in exposed situations, especially for protection against the south-west gales, during the flowering season. A rich, deep, loamy soil is the best for all purposes, and where the soil is naturally poor, the addition of good rotten dung will be sufficient to produce the most satisfactory results. Roses delight in newly-broken-up pasture land, where the turf is turned in; and for a season or two very little manure is necessary. They are now grown in various forms, according to the taste of the cultivator, or the exigencies of the locality. Leaving climbing and tender species out of the question, we have dwarf bushy plants, either on their own roots, or budded, or grafted on some other form close to the ground; and those with stems, varying from a few inches to several feet in height, and termed half-standard or standard. No rules can be given to guide intending growers in selecting any particular form, further than to remark that the situation and associations should be studied. In very bleak localities tall standards should be avoided in favour of dwarf bushes. As a rule, the finest blooms are obtained from dwarf plants, especially when on their own roots, and most of the vigorous-growing kinds will succeed in this way. Standard plants are suited for mixing in with dwarf shrubs or Roses, and also in some situations as single specimens in the centre of a bed; but groups of standard Roses have a very stiff and unpleasing effect. And, moreover, those budded on tall stems are much more liable to early decay. However, all of the different methods have their advantages, and properly utilised are desirable. The Tea, Noisette, and other tender Roses are better suited for covering dwarf walls, or grown as dwarf bushes where they can be protected; a light, warm, well-drained soil being indispensable to success. Besides those varieties specially employed for planting in beds or borders, either as standards or dwarfs, there are many climbing varieties adapted for clothing pillars, walls, banks, stems of trees, or festooning. Descriptions and other information will be found in the first part of this work.
To obtain abundance of flower, attention to pruning in accordance with the conditions of the different varieties is requisite. Nothing would seem more natural to the inexperienced grower than to prune freely where there is plenty of wood to cut away, and to spare the growth of the less vigorous; but this is just contrary to the teachings of practice. In a general way we may say that the strong, vigorous-growing varieties should be sparingly pruned, whilst the weaker-growing kinds should be cut back almost close every season. The time for pruning is late autumn or winter; but tender varieties, when grown in the open garden, should not be cut back till the severity of winter is past. The best time for planting is November or December, though with a little care Roses may be transplanted up to the end of March, or later. There are various ways of propagating them, but the great majority of cultivated varieties are budded on stems of the Dog-Kose for standard trees, or on the Manetti for dwarf bushes. Climbing varieties may be raised from cuttings in the open ground, and even many of the Hybrid Perpetual class will succeed in the same way. To raise new varieties crossing is resorted to, and the seeds resulting therefrom are sown. The seedling plants would be several years as a rule before they produced flowers, and consequently as soon as the wood is large enough they are budded on the Dog-Rose or Manetti, by which treatment blooms are usually secured the following, if not the same, season.