Since the American Beauty has been grown in such quantity there are much fewer of the hybrid perpetual roses grown for their flowers, but they are wanted in pots, and such sorts as Jacqueminot, Brunner, Magna Charta, Anna de Diesbach, Baroness Rothschild and Mme. Gabriel Luizet force well, and if properly prepared make fine pot plants, or their blooms can be cut. The fall importations of these roses are not satisfactory for this purpose. The long journey and the length of time is a poor preparation for spring forcing, so strong plants with good stems should be obtained of our American nurserymen.
You will receive these home-grown plants from your nurseryman in the first part of November, and should get them into their pots without delay. If the roots are dried it is a good plan to puddle them. This is a nurseryman's word and practice, which is dipping the roots in a tub of water to which has been added enough loam or clay to make what may be called liquid mud. This covers every particle of root and fibre and keeps them moist for a long time or till you can surround the roots with moist ground.
Unless the growths of the roses when received are long and straggling they should not be pruned at the time of potting. The pruning will come later. The ends of the roots if mutilated or long and spindling can be cut back with advantage. A good, strong rose will need a 6-inch pot, a few may go into a 5-inch and extra strong into a 7-inch. Such soil as described for the beds would be ideal, but any good loam with a fourth of manure will do. Pot quite firmly so that every root is firmly surrounded with soil. When all are potted give them enough water to penetrate every particle of soil, and when that is soaked away and the soil in the pots is moderately firm, choose a level piece of ground in the garden where surface water will never stand. Begin at one end of what we will call the bed and lay on their sides a row of the roses with their tops lying flat on the ground. Then behind the first row of pots place another row with their pots as close as convenient to the first row, with their tops over the first row, and so on till you have filled the space allotted. Now if the ground on which these roses are laid is a friable or sandy loam all that is to be done is to dig up enough from each side of the bed to cover the roses four inches deep. Cover pots and tops thoroughly. If you should be in a latitude where the whole mass will freeze up tight it would make the getting out of the roses awkward and might crack many of the pots, so we have to cover with strawy manure or leaves after an inch or two of frost has penetrated the beds, to keep out severe freezing. In bringing these plants in you will find the wood fresh and plump, and in much better order than had they been in a coldframe subject to great changes of temperature and neglect.
The time to bring in these roses to begin forcing will, of course, depend on the time you want them in flower. In another place I have mentioned why these freshly potted roses cannot be forced satisfactorily before Easter, so the date of Easter will be your guide. The latter half of January will be time. One thing is sure, a hybrid perpetual rose that is brought along in a temperature of 55 degrees is much superior in every quality to one that is hurried for two or three weeks at 65 degrees. Within a day or so of their being in the greenhouse is the time for doing the all-important pruning. Sometimes the first two or three eyes from the base of the plant would make a leaf growth, but no flower. Then again if you cut the stems a foot high from the pots you would have bare stems, which are very unsightly in a pot rose, so it is impossible to make an arbitrary rule. You must have two or three eyes that you are pretty sure will give you flowering shoots, and each individual plant will differ. Here is where no written instructions can teach, but experience and good gardening sense comes in. An average of six inches will be found a satisfactory length to leave a fairly strong cane or growth.
Like any plant that is suddenly brought from dormancy into a growing temperature, the start must be slow; 40 degrees at night will be high enough for the first two weeks, then the eyes will swell and prepare to burst into leaf, and 5 degrees higher will be needed. Slowly you will reach the flowering temperature, and as remarked above, 55 degrees at night will leave the growth strong and the blossoms at their best. From their start indoors till they are in full bloom they should be sprayed daily, and during the period when the eyes are swelling, a light syringing two or three times a day will be of great benefit. When in full leaf the daily syringing will keep down red spider, and the common aphis is all that will trouble you; you know how to destroy that.
I may observe that there are few plants that will sell as easily as a well-flowered rose, or are in more demand than a nice well flowered rose. There are many more gay and showy plants than the rose, but young and old, rich and poor, have the inherent love of the rose. Yet how seldom you see them in decent shape. Mostly long, bare stems with a few short-stemmed flowers, or overforced plants with the flowers hanging their heads in shame that they have been so misunderstood.
We have seen and read much of the grand bushes of these roses that are grown in Europe, and flowered as early as New Year's. To accomplish this would be impossible with a plant lifted from the open ground only a few weeks, and plants that can be forced this early must have been established in pots the previous summer. I shall go but very briefly into the methods followed with these plants, because it would not pay here, and is not likely to become commercially popular. Plants for this purpose could have the same treatment as our Easter roses, but instead of a flower a strong growth would be the object, and during summer one or two shiftings and feeding, solely to produce fine strong growths. In early fall they would be prematurely rested to ripen the wood and the pots being filled with roots, they could be started again in growth in October. One whole year is occupied in producing growth that will flower the succeeding year, therefore however charming a rose bush may be at Christmas, it is too expensive to be popular or profitable in our expensive country.