This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
"What vivid colours flush yon blooming Rose, Whose fragrance floats upon the balmy gale!"
A warm sunny morning early in July found us at Euston Station awaiting the time when the train should start, to take a trip on the Birmingham Railway to view Messrs. Lane's Roses. The time in the carriage passed speedily and merrily enough; for, between the sharp witticisms of a happy jocular companion, occasional glimpses at fine bold scenery as we "sped along," and thoughts of the rich treat which awaited us, we were in the best possible humour with every thing and every body around us. A ride of about an hour and a quarter brought us to our journey's end, and we alighted from the train in sight of the Rose-gardens we were in search of, and towards which we bent our eager steps, with the lines of our great poet upon our lips:
"And of pure now purer air Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires Vernal delight and joy, able to drive All sadness but despair. Now gentle gales, Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole Those balmy spoils".
Mr. Lane's house is situated at the north-west end of the town, in the centre of the home nursery, which lies on one side of a valley, extending from its bottom to the top of the hill. Above the house are beds of Roses on grass; and higher up, Standard Roses in fair and beautiful profusion. Among them was Geant des Batailles in perfection, itself a glorious sight: if no other Rose had been in flower, this would have amply repaid our visit, for it is certainly one of the very best and most glowing Perpetuals which we possess. All the finer old Roses, as Baron Prevost, Du Petit Thouars, Robin Hood, Duchess of Sutherland, etc. were assembled here, and also many new ones, among which we remarked Cymedor, which has been well described in a previous paper by Mr. Rivers. Pillar Roses of the Ayrshire and Sempervirens kinds skirted a portion of this extensive plantation, then came ranges of pits and the public road, which passes through the centre of the nursery, immediately in front of Mr. Lane's house, more glasshouses, another field of Roses; and now we are near the hollow of the valley - for we came down faster than we went up - and turned westward to another division of the nursery, covered with large breadths of the "Queen of flowers," here and there separated by long grass walks, whose sides were ornamented with "drooping Standard" Roses. This is a mode of managing this fine flower which only needs to be seen to be adopted; fashioned in this way, they produce a truly striking effect; it was these which first caught our eye on approaching the nursery.
The varieties treated in this manner were, Ruga, Thoresbyana, Garland, Crimson Boursault, Banksieeflora, Myrianthes, Princess Louise, Donna Maria, and Laure Davoust. This latter is, however, somewhat tender; it succeeds best against a wall. These weeping Roses are never touched with the knife.
Among novelties were, Standard of Marengo, brilliant scarlet; Madame Pepin, blush; Dr. Arnal, crimson; Pauline Bonaparte, white perpetual; Paul Ricaut, brilliant hybrid Bourbon and many others.
By referring to our reports of the great metropolitan shows, it will be seen that Mr. Lane has been a very successful competitor in pot Roses; some of our readers may therefore like to have an account of the Rose-house in which he grew so many fine specimens. It is span-roofed, with a bed in its centre, in which the Roses are plunged in saw-dust, and heated by means of a common brick flue running round it immediately within the walls. The bed is not warmed. It will thus be seen that the successful cultivation of the Rose in pots is attended with little expense, as far as the house and heating apparatus is concerned.
Satisfied with our inspection of the home nursery, Mr. Lane drove us on to Great Berkhampstead Common, where he has also large plantations, ay, we may say fields, of Roses, which shews the rank this flower still holds, and must continue to hold, in public estimation. Here we saw Moss Rose Lanei in great perfection, and a most beautiful dark moss it is, when well blown; still we must hold to the opinion expressed in one of our early Numbers, that it is not so well mossed as could be desired.
Many entertain the idea that our great Rose nurserymen grow nothing but Roses; but this is a mistake: Mr. Rivers has his fields of Roses, but then he has also his fields of fruit-trees, and of general nursery stock. Mr. Paul, it will be seen from our last, also cultivates general nursery stock, and so does Mr. Lane. The latter has many nice specimens of Conifers, a very interesting collection of weeping trees, many of our old favourite herbaceous plants, which have been so unwisely driven from our flower-gardens of late years, to make room for what is called "the bedding system," and, what may be of advantage to such of our readers as are far removed from peat, Rhododendrons and Kalmias growing, and thriving too, in loam.
As we returned to the railway station, we had an extensive view of the country, which is undulating and picturesque, and altogether we came away highly gratified with our visit; and we are sure all who spend a long summer's day among Messrs. Lane's Roses (and it takes a long summer's day to inspect them,) would derive equal pleasure.