This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
"Dec 8th, 1848. On this day I gathered a fine bouquet of fragrant Roses from plants growing in the open air." Such is the entry in my journal of remarkable horticultural events for the year above mentioned.
My attention was now, however, more particularly directed to the bed of Hoses from whence I gathered my bouquet. The plants were full of green leaves and bright flowers, but other plants of the same kind were nearly leafless and flowerless. How was this brought about? and why should they be thus verdant in so proverbially dreary a month? were questions that immediately pressed upon my mind. I soon, however, recollected that these plants had been removed late in spring, had been planted in a richly manured soil, and had been cut-in very closely. This accident in culture reminded me of The Florist and its readers; and I resolved to make a little article on the subject, so that all lovers of Roses may, if they please, prolong the enjoyment of their beauties.
The Roses which I gathered were all Hybrid Perpetuals, and of the following varieties: Baronne Prevost, Mrs. Elliott, Robin Hood, Geant des Batailles, La Reine, Comte de Montalivet, Dr. Marx, Duchess of Sutherland, Marquise Boccella, Madame Laffay, Com-tesse Duchatel, Rivers, Sidonie, and some others. Now, working out a system from the above accident, I should recommend that a bed in every Rose-garden be appropriated to these winter Roses, proceeding thus: - Presuming that plants one, or two, or three years old are convenient, or that a bed of Hybrid Perpetuals can be appropriated, the plants should be taken up in February, their long roots shortened to about half their length, the fibrous roots left untouched, and their heads left unpruned. They should then be planted thickly under a north wall, or fence, and remain there till the end of April. They may then be taken up; their heads closely pruned, as annexed figure, which is that of a dwarf Standard Rose pruned for late flowering.
A bed must be prepared for them, which cannot be manured too bountifully. A coat, four or six inches thick, of any kind of manure in a half-decomposed state, well mixed with the soil, to a depth of eighteen inches or two feet, will give them all the necessary vigour, if the weather is dry and warm. The roots of the plants may be "puddled," i. e. dipped in a thick mixture of loam or clay and water with much advantage; and water should be poured into each hole before it is filled in, and the loose surface-mould placed in it, giving it a very gentle pressure with the foot. Rose-trees treated in this manner will last for several years, and their annual treatment may be exactly as above given. It will, however, be advisable not to plant them more than two seasons in the same bed, unless the Rose-garden is confined to a small space; for Roses like fresh soil, and manure, however thickly applied, will not compensate for it. In con fined gardens, if the site for the winter Rose-border or clump cannot be changed, it should be excavated to a depth of eighteen inches, and fresh loamy soil brought in. Hybrid Perpetual Roses thus treated will give their first blooms towards the end of July; there are then plenty of Roses of every degree.
Have mercy, therefore, on your winter Roses. Do not suffer them to exhaust themselves with their liberal efforts to give you pleasure. Pinch off one-half, or two-thirds, of their flower-buds as soon as they are perceptible, and your reward will be Roses in November.
Sawbridgeworth. T. Rivers.