I shall bother you with no more details, but simply say that from the end of June, and lasting a full month, these beds were a sight that I hardly expect ever to see again. As a pleasant recollection and evidence that they were a great success, I must be pardoned for recalling an incident that occurred about July 1, 1901. I was proudly showing some New York florist these beds and was standing near a bed of 500 Brun-ners, when a venerable old gentleman hobbled across the grass and on finding that I was the man he was looking for, he gave me a paternal slap on the shoulder and said: " Mr. S., these are the grandest rose beds I ever saw." It was Mr. Ellwanger, of Rochester, N. Y., who had supplied 2,000 of the roses. What more praise did I need! None. It is such words that make you thankful you are here. Now all this may seem formidable to read, yet it is very simple if a few rules are remembered.
First, don't expect to pick roses the first summer from plants, nor the following summer if planted in the fall. Always give them a fresh soil, and especially avoid one that has already grown roses. Roses are seen growing in very different qualities and textures of soil, and while the heavy loam is most assuredly the best suited for these hardy plants, of greater importance is it that it shall not be worn out. No amount of manure will restore what is essential to the rose. A soil that for years has been saturated with animal manure and will grow prize celery or cauliflower, would be a total failure with roses. The remaining important thing is the use of the shears. Without pruning low down, without a vigorous growth the first summer, you cannot expect fine roses. The second year of their flowering and the third and every succeeding year there may be less need of protection or perhaps artificial watering, but the same pruning must be done every spring. That is just as necessary as the first year they flowered. This will be best understood by saying that if a strong shoot has borne a flower, the following spring cut it back to within three eyes of the previous year's growth.
In concluding these reminiscences I will add that the roses offered by our American nurserymen are to be preferred to the imported stock. They are almost always budded lower and should be much fresher, which means a better chance of living.
Don't think the date quoted, first days of June, is the time to plant. That only proves how you can overcome a poor start. As soon as the ground is dry in April or early May is the time to plant hardy roses, as it is for any deciduous shrub or tree. In these 4,000 plants there were many fine varieties. All hybrid perpetual roses are beautiful if treated as they deserve.
After a rose is well established there is not much use in strawing up the tops (you need to cut them quite -severely every year if you want good flowers), but four or five inches of stable manure laid around the roots is a great help to them, and it need not be done till the end of November.
Among the hybrid perpetual roses that do well on their own roots are: Gen. Jacqueminot, crimson; Ulrich Brunner, deep pink; Mme. Laffay, red; Alfred Colomb, cherry red; Anna Alexieff, rose; Baron de Bonstettin, very dark crimson; Clio, blush; Countess of Oxford, carmine; Duke of Edinburgh, crimson maroon; John Hopper, bright rose; Mme. Gabriel Luizet, fine pink; Marshall P. Wilder, cherry rose; Mrs. Laxton, velvety red; President Thiers, large red; Roger Lambe-lin, crimson, edges of petals white; Sir Garnet Wolsley, bright red. There are many other fine varieties but this list contains some splendid sorts.
Among the finest of those that do better when budded on the Manetti or briar stocks are: Baroness Rothschild, a beautiful light pink; Captain Christy, flesh pink; Fisher Holmes, dark crimson; Mabel Morrison, fine white; Margaret Dickson, white with pale pink center; Marie Baumann, crimson; Magna Charta, dark pink, very fine; Paul Neyron, dark pink, immense size; Prince Camille de Rohan, crimson maroon. In this short list will be found some of the finest roses in cultivation.
Hybrid perpetual roses can be propagated as follows, and this includes the hardy climbers or any of the deciduous kinds. When the current year's growth is about in that condition that the flower is fully developed it is called about half ripe. This is usually about the middle of June. Prepare a frame in which you have trodden in eighteen inches or two feet of stable manure; in fact make a mild hotbed with the slope facing north. Put three inches of soil on the manure and on that two inches of sand, and insert your cuttings. Two eyes are enough, one above and one below the surface of the sand. Keep the sand moist and as cool as possible by shading, letting in only air enough to prevent too much moisture. By degrees they will endure more air, and in three or four weeks will be well rooted and can be soon potted into 2 1/2 -inch or 3-inch pots and stood in a coldframe, but they must be carefully watered and shaded till they get hold of the soil. These plants could be planted out the following October, but I would prefer to keep them plunged in a coldframe and planted out the following April, when they Will make fine plants.
Another plan is by using the dormant wood in the fall. Before very hard frost, say in the middle of November, cut off the well-ripened growths of the previous summer and cut them into lengths of two or three eyes. Tie them in bunches of twenty-five or fifty, wrap some moist sphagnum around the ends, and store these bunches away in flats under a bench in a cool house. In two months the ends will be well calloused, and then they can be placed in a few inches of sand that is a little warmer than the house, and 50 degrees for the house will do well. They will soon root and can be potted off and grown on to be planted out in April or May. Always remember that although these roses are hardy, any growth that is made under glass is tender and will not stand a frost, so they should not go out till danger of frost is past. This is the simplest and surest way of propagating any of the deciduous roses.