Volumes have been devoted to the rose. It is known as the queen of flowers. Whole books have dealt with merely the diseases of the rose. A great church dignitary of England gives all his leisure • time to telling funny stories and studying his favorite love, the rose. In this country Mr. H. B. Ell-wanger, and others, have published volumes on the rose. And for centuries the literature of the rose has been pouring out in a steady stream.
The production of the plants and flowers has made a fortune for a few, a competency for hundreds and daily bread for thousands. There is no longer a sanguinary war between the roses of York and Lancaster, in which thousands perished and a fair island was laid waste, but strange to say in one city, most famous for peace and brotherly love, there still exists a Duke of York whose pride it is not to exterminate his countryman who grows white roses, but to produce such grand red roses with stems of such a length as his lordship the Earl of Lancaster never dreamed of.
The rose is not only queen to all those who admire a beautiful flower - and they are low in the animal scale who do not - but is the most important by far in our commercial horticulture. If we happen not to be extensive growers, then seventy-five per cent of our bills with the commission man are for roses. Although I believe that orchids are bound to become great favorites with the wealthier flower buyers, yet they nor any other flowers can displace the ro3e as queen of all of Flora's gifts. It is the perfection and grace of form, the beautiful leaves, the fine stem and the sweetness of the flower that place it preeminently above all other flowers.
In Europe the rose has been fostered by any number of rose societies, and we have a rose society here, an auxiliary of our national S. A. F. So far it has been a rose society only in name, but at Detroit it took a new lease of life and now bids fair to start off with the enthusiasm that belongs to the carnation society. It is sincerely wished that it may, and if so what magnificent displays may we expect at its annual conventions and exhibitions!
Space forbids me to more than mention the literature of the rose. Among the books devoted to the rose may be mentioned Shirley Hibbard's "Rose Book for Amateurs," and "A Book About Roses," by Rev. • Dean S. E. Hole. Both of these gentlemen are charming writers and ardent students of the rose. There you will find the history of the rose, almost from the dawn of our own history, as well as its present day beauties and associations. This is far more edifying literature than campaign speeches, murders, shipwrecks, or the latest movements of the popular vaudeville actresses.
Soupert Roses in a Raffia Hamper.
Of American authors, besides Mr. Ellwanger's book, we have "Parsons on the Rose," by S. B. Parsons, a noted horticulturist; and "The Secrets of Rose Culture," by W. J. Hatton, a practical florist. One more foreign book is that by William Paul, "The Rose Garden." It is an expensive but magnificently illustrated volume, and Mr. Paul, as a raiser and cultivator, is perhaps the foremost rosarian of the world.
The rose has been emblematic of no end of things, and I will conclude my preliminary remarks by saying that I have thought many times that I could have improved on that mysterious and ambiguous story of the Garden of Eden had I been the learned Israelite or syndicate of Israelites who by tradition handed down or scratched on tablets of stone or burnt clay the stories of their forefathers whose dreams included serpents, fig leaves, forbidden fruit and murder. Strange that these evil agencies surround us yet, and encompass a man most fatally if he steps far off the virtuous path. I hope I won't be considered presumptuous, but I would have made Miss Innocent Eve tempt Mr. Frank Adam to present her with a moss rose bud. The roses were growing in Asia Minor, but no one knows what kind of fruit the forbidden species was. If Eve was a dark-skinned damsel we would say it was a watermelon. The moss rose bud would be far more poetical and has a meaning, for in our early youth we learned that a moss rose bud was an expression of true love, or at least the first true, but in poor Eve's case it would have been a case of necessity. It was first, last and only love. No flirting, no jealousies nor need of western divorce courts, where the sign hangs out: "Divorces granted while you wait."
If you were to ask an American which was the most important class of roses he would probably say the teas. If you asked an Englishman he would say undoubtedly that the so-called hybrid perpetual class was much the most important. The more temperate climate of Western Europe is very favorable to the rose, and in Great Britain the tea and Noisette roses are hardy out of doors. In our northern states the hybrid perpetuals, while being quite entitled to be called hardy, are often injured by the severe winters, and the tea and Noisette sections, unless most thoroughly protected, are entirely unfitted for our winters.
There is nothing that our people crave to have in their garden, let it be in the few acres of the millionaire or the small garden plot of the mechanic, so much as a rose, and in nothing is there so much disappointment. With our detached residences, both big and little, there is always some garden, and too frequently the attempt to grow roses in them is a failure. The soil is often worn out and there is not fresh air enough. The budded stock is purchased from the tree peddler, and in a few years there is a strong growth of the Manetti stock. "But the roses don't flower." The rose is long since dead and only the suckers of the Manetti exist.
I believe that where there is a good expanse of lawn and the soil is fresh and good, the best results can be obtained by planting annually young plants of the tea and hybrid tea varieties. Years ago where now stand buildings we used to plant out every May 3-inch or 4-inch pot plants of the old Bon Silene, Safrano, Isabella Sprunt and Duchess de Brabant, and from June on till the middle of November we cut thousands of handsome buds, which I know would more than gratify any of our customers. For such is the love for and pride to produce roses that occasionally we have the busy business man call in during fall just to say that he "cut one fine rose this morning," and he is as proud of it as if it was a baby arrived during the wee sma' hours, the unearthly time at which Providence has usually ordained these interesting domestic events to occur.
Roses on the Wooded Island, Jackson Park, Chicago.
This summer in an open field far removed from the refreshing influence of the hose and also the "madding crowd," on a piece of good light loam, we have had a row of Perle des Jar-dins, President Carnot and La France. They have flowered continually and will till 10 degrees of frost destroys their tender growth.
Before I enter on the two classes of roses that are the main objects of this article, as well as the plants of greatest importance to the florist, I want to say a word about the uses of some other classes that we occasionally have to supply.
The rose is spread over the entire northern temperate regions of the world, not so numerous in species in North America as in Asia and Europe. In this country they are found as far south as Mexico. Over 200 species of roses have been described, but there are probably fifty species well defined, and of varieties and hybrids of these many species there are thousands. The cultivator has done marvelous things with the rose, and some of our cultivated varieties are as far removed from the original type as any deviation from nature in the vegetable kingdom. Yet a few of the original species are in cultivation and are most useful plants.