This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
In this whirlpool of rank, fashion, and sentiment, the poor novitiate Rose-hunter is likely enough to be quite wrecked; and instead of looking out for a perfect Rose, it is a thousand to one that he finds himself confused amid the names of princes, princesses, and lovely duchesses, a vivid picture of whose charms rises to his imagination as he reads the brief words, " pale flesh, wax-like, superb," or "large, perfect form, beautiful," or " pale blush, very pretty;" so that it is ten to one that duchesses, not Roses, are ail the while at the bottom of his imagination !
Now, the only way to help the Rose-novices out of this difficulty is, for all the initiated to confess their favourites. No doubt it will be a hard task for those who have had butterfly fancies, coquetting first with one family and then with another. But we trust these horticultural flirts are rare among the more experienced of our gardening readers - persons of sense who have laid aside such follies, as only becoming to youthful and inexperienced amateurs. We give our own list of favourites, as follows:
First of all Roses, then, in our estimation, stand the Bourbons (the only branch of the family not repudiated by republicans). The most perpetual of all perpetuals, the most lovely in form, of all colours, and many of them of the richest fragrance; and, for us northerners, most of all, hardy and easily cultivated, we cannot but give them the first rank. Let us, then, say:
Souvenir de Malmaison, pale flesh-colour. Paul Joseph, purplish crimson. Hermosa, deep rose.
Queen, delicate fawn-colour. Dupetit Thouars, changeable carmine. Acidalie, white.
Souvenir de Malmaison is, take it altogether - its constant blooming habit, its large size, hardiness, beautiful form, exquisite colour, and charming fragrance, our favourite Rose; the Rose which, if we should be condemned to that hard penance of cultivating but one variety, our choice would immediately settle upon. Its beauty suggests a blending of the finest sculpture and the loveliest feminine complexion.
Second to the Bourbons we rank the Remontantes, as the French term them; a better name than the English one - Perpetuals; for they are by no means perpetual in their blooming habit when compared with the Bourbons, China, or Tea Roses. They are, in fact, June Roses, that bloom two or three times in the season, whenever strong new shoots spring up; hence no name so appropriate as Remontante, - sending up new flower-shoots. We think this class of Roses has been a little overrated by Rose-growers. Its great merit is the true old-fashioned Rose character of the blossoms - large and fragrant as a Damask or Provence Rose. But in this climate Remontantes cannot be depended on for a constant supply of flowers like Bourbon Roses. Here are our favourite.
La Reine, deep rose, very large. Duchess of Sutherland, pale rose. Crimson Perpetual, light crimson.
Aubernon, brilliant crimson. Lady Alice Peel, fine deep pink. Madame Dameme, dark crimson.
Next to these come the China Roses, less fragrant, but everlastingly in bloom, and with very bright and rich colours.
Mrs. Bosanquet, exquisite pale flesh-colour. Madame Breon, rose. Eugene Beauharnais, bright crimson.
Clara Sylvain, pure white. Cramoisie Superieure, brilliant crimson. Virginale, blush.
The Tea Roses, most refined of all Roses, unluckily, require considerable shelter and care in winter in this climate; but they so richly repay all, that no Rose-lover can grudge them this trouble. Tea Roses are, indeed, to the common garden varieties, what the finest porcelain is to vulgar crockery-ware.
Safrano, the buds rich deep fawn. Souvenir d'un Ami, salmon, shaded with rose. Goubault,bright rose, large andfragrant.
Devoniensis, creamy white. Bougere, glossy bronze. Josephine Malton, beautiful shaded white.
We thought to give Noisettes the go-by; but the saucy rampant little beauties climb up and thrust their clusters of bright blossoms into our face, and will be heard. So here they are:
Solfaterre, bright sulphur, large. Jaune Desprez, large bright fawn. Aimee Vibert, pure white, very free bloomer.
Cloth of Gold, pure yellow, fine. Fellenberg, brilliant crimson. Joan of Arc, pure white.
"Girdle of Venus! does he call this a select list?" exclaims some leveller, who expected us to compress all Rose perfections into half a dozen sorts; when here we find, on looking back, that we have thirty, and even then there is not a single Moss Rose, Climbing Rose, Provence Rose, Damask Rose, to say nothing of " Musk Roses," "Microphylla Roses," and half a dozen other divisions that we boldly shut our eyes upon! Well, if the truth must come out, we confess it boldly, that we are worshippers of the everblooming Roses. Compared with them, beautiful as all other Roses may be and are (we can't deny it), they have little chance of favour with those that we have named, which are a perpetual garland of sweetness. It is the difference between a smile once a year and a golden temper, always sweetness and sunshine. Why, the everblooming Roses make a garden of themselves! Not a day without rich colours, delicious perfume, luxuriant foliage. No, take the lists as they are - too small by half; for we cannot cut a name out of them.
And yet there are a few other Roses that ought to be in the smallest collection. That finest of all Rose gems, the Old Red Moss, still at the head of all Moss Roses, and its curious cousin, the Crested Moss, must have their place. Those fine hardy climbers, that in northern gardens will grow in any exposure, and cover the highest walls or trellises with garlands of beauty, the Queen of the Prairies and Baltimore Belle (or, for southern gardens, say, Laure Davoust and Gre-ville and Ruga Ayrshire); that finest and richest of all yellow Roses, the double Persian Yellow, and half a dozen of the gems among the hybrid Roses, such as Chenedole, George the Fourth, Village Maid, Great Western, Fulgens Blanchefleur; we should try at least to make room for these also.
If we were to have but three Roses for our own personal gratification, they would be, Souvenir de Malmaison, Old Red Moss, General Dubourg.
The latter is a Bourbon Rose, which, because it is an old variety, and not very double, has gone out of fashion. We, however, shall cultivate it as long as we enjoy the blessing of olfactory nerves; for it gives us all the season an abundance of flowers, with the most perfect rose-scent that we have ever yet found; in fact, the true attar of Rose.
There are few secrets in the cultivation of the Rose. First of all, make the soil deep; and, if the subsoil is not quite dry, let it be well drained. Then remember that what the Rose delights to grow in is loam and rotten manure. Enrich your soil, therefore, every year with well-decomposed stable-manure; and if it is too sandy, mix fresh loam from an old pasture-field; if it is too clayey, mix river or pit-sand with it. The most perfect specific stimulus that we have ever tried in the culture of the Rose is what Mr. Rivers calls roasted turf, which is easily made by paring sods from the lane sides, and half charring them. It acts like magic upon the little spongioles of the Rose, making new buds and fine fresh foliage start out very speedily, and then a succession of superb and richly-coloured flowers. We commend it especially to all those who cultivate Roses in old gardens, where the soil is more or less worn out.
And now, like the Persians, with the hope that our fair readers "may sleep upon Roses, and the dew that falls may turn into rose-water," we must end this rather prolix chapter upon Roses.