This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
The Ayrshire Roses, which, with the Crimson Boursault, are the earliest of our climbing Roses, are just coming into bloom. They are late; for last year they were gay with flowers even by the end of May. How beautiful they are! and how abundantly they bloom! If you have a wilderness near to the pleasure-ground, plant it with Ayrshire Roses; if a hard, clayey, sterile bank, plant it with Ayrshire Roses; if a rocky dell, plant some Ayrshire Roses in it. They are so luxuriant in their growth, that they even overcome weeds. The battle is often very stubborn, and lasts for a year or two; but the Roses will conquer, and then how they flaunt it over the grave of their enemies! I have been struck to-day with the beauty of a group, in the nursery, of the Rose known as the Dundee Rambler, perhaps some five or ten plants. They have not been pruned or touched with the knife, and have formed an entangled dome-shaped mass of extreme beauty. A group of this kind may be easily formed on the lawn. Mark out a circle some five or six feet in diameter, and plant in it seven or nine Ayrshire Roses. Be particular in planting one exactly in the centre. As they grow, incline their branches towards the central plant, and pinch off now and then the top of a very robust shoot.
A good method is, to place a stout stake to the central plant, and one of moderate size to each of the others, all inclined and fastened to that in the centre. In two or three years these stakes may be removed, and the shoots annually made may be thrust in during the summer with a gloved hand. The hooked pruning scissors will often be required when the plants are of mature growth, to shorten the shoots, so that the mass, although dome-shaped, may not be too compact and formal. The effect of a group of this kind is admirable. The sorts most eligible are, the Dundee Rambler, Jessica, Ruga, Splendens, and Bennet's seedling.
The first hybrid Perpetual Roses of this season made their appearance yesterday; and to-day, Geant des Batailles and Baronne Prevost. Last year the latter was in bloom May 18th. What a magnificent Rose is this 1 its colour is much deeper than I have ever yet seen it; and it is, I think, larger than ever. It is also one of the earliest as well as one of the best of the autumnal Roses; as sweet and even larger than the Cabbage Rose, and blooming till November! What would our grandfathers sav, could they see it! It is quite delightful to find that our glorious Geant is so early in coming into bloom. What a peculiar fruity fragrance it has! and then, what colour! It should have been named Etna, or Vesuvius, or Firebrand, or some such fiery name; for who ever saw any thing among flowers so glowing, so live-coal-like? It will, I think, be found to grow better budded on some strong-growing varieties of the hybrid China Roses than on the Dog-Rose. Here it succeeds admirably on the Rosa Manetti, a hybrid China Rose sent to me many years ago from the banks of the Lago de Como by a friend, who stated that in Italy it was far superior to the Dog-Rose as a stock, and would probably suit our dry soils.
His anticipation is fully borne out.
The hybrid Perpetual Rose Cymedor in fine bloom. This Rose is, however, not so beautiful in the summer as in autumn. Its colour, like that of the common ten-week Stock, has a charming cloudy tint, like a silvery cloud on a summer's sky, which is very evanescent. When its flowers are half expanded, and this tint is upon them, they are really delightful. Soleil d'Austerlitz, almost as brilliant, but of a different shade of crimson to the Geant, is now in full beauty. Commandant Fournier, another of these brilliant light-crimson new autumnal Roses, is equally worthy of note.
What a beautiful and perfect double Rose is Reine des Fleurs! In this we have no novelty in colour, which is rose, rather light than otherwise, but very beautiful; and in the same category as to perfection in shape, with a slight variation in their rosy tints, are Duchesse de Galliera and Duchesse de Montpensier - all most beautiful Roses, of vigorous, yet rather dwarf and compact growth, forming charming bushes. How nice it is to have Rosebushes bearins: frasrrant flowers from June till November!
Comtesse de Rarabuteau is to-day in great beauty. A figure of this Rose was given in The Florist, No. V. It is now exactly like it; but last season it did not at all come up to its character as there given. It has a great fault in being a delicate grower; so that other varieties of equal beauty, but of more robust habits, may be planted with advantage.
The new Rose, Madame Trudeaux, has for the first time opened her beautiful flowers of brilliant light crimson, beautifully shaped, and very double.
L" Inflexible, one of the most full and beautifully shaped of Roses, but tardy in unfolding its beauties, owing to its extreme doubleness, is to-day finely in bloom, - in colour, if my memory serves me well in comparing it, ]ike the peach-blossom. A warm dry climate will probably suit this Pvose; for the north it will not, I think, be suitable.
I must now leave these justly esteemed Roses, the hybrid Perpetuals, and give some other favourites a passing notice. The standard climbing Roses of the Sempervirens family are just in full beauty; two trees of Myrianthes, about six years old, are covered with myriads of their beautiful pale rose-coloured flowers; their branches are weighed to the ground; these are budded on stems barelv five feet high. The most eligible height is from five and a half to six feet; if taller, the wind seems always to have a spite against them, and lays them prostrate, to the great risk of fracture, once or twice a-year. A stout stake of cast iron, heart-of-oak, or larch, forms the best support; and laid cord, dipped in melted tallow, will fasten them to the stake better than any other material, as it does not injure the bark like wire, and will last two years. It must be wound round both stem and stake several times. A fine tree of Sempervirens Rampant, six feet in height, is just now in great beauty. What a snowy mass it forms! And Princesse Marie, of the same group, on a six-feet stem (this is certainly the height), with its deep pink; and Princesse Louise, with its flowers of a lighter pink, or rather flesh-colour: how pretty, how graceful they all are '.
Two trees of the Ayrshire Rose, Bencet's seedling, or Rosa Thoresbyana, are now covered with a multitude of flowers, "pure as unsunned snow," far outnumbering their leaves; they are budded on five-feet stems, and their branches rest on the ground: at night they are remarkably conspicuous, and, to use the expression of a schoolboy who viewed them at the midnight hour, "they look like ghosts" Although ranked among the Ayrshire Roses, this variety differs much in its time of blooming, as it is generally more than a fortnight later; it is a double variety of the Rosa avensis, or "creeping Dog-Rose" of our woods, and was found in Yorkshire.
The Moss Roses are to-day in full beauty. How few among the new varieties of this charming group are really worthy attention! the new dark Moss Roses, Purpurea rubra, Cramoisie, Fonee Vaugelin, andL'Obscurite, are all semi-double, poor meagre varieties. Celina is still the best dark Moss Rose known, and the Luxembourg Moss the next best: for Comtesse de Noe, about equal to Celina. is so delicate that it will scarcely exist even under the best culture. Lanei is in fine bloom, and is certainly the best of the new Moss Roses: its colour is invariably here of a deep rose, - not so crimson in its tint as the figure given in The Florist, No. V. How unapproachable is the quality of the old Moss Rose as compared to the new varieties: that is always globular, perfect, and beautiful: they are all inclined to reflex or throw back their petals, and thus suffer much by comparison with it. We want a Moss Rose like the old Moss in form and fragrance, with the colour of Celina, and a free bloomer in autumn.
The Perpetual Crimson and Perpetual Red Moss Roses are very pretty; but the latter is a most delicate grower, and seems to require some other stock than those hitherto used.
The new hybrid Perpetual Rose, Etendard de Marengo, or, as it will be better to Anglicise it, the Standard of Marengo, raised by the person who raised the Geant des Batailles, and described by him as superior to it, is shewing its beauties; it is really a charming Rose, of a more elegant cuped shape than its rival, and of a beautiful brilliant crimson; but certainly not so brilliant or so glowing as the Geant, neither is it quite so double; still it is an elegant and charming variety.
[To be continued].