This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
By the time I became settled in life, I had succeeded in propagating a large stock of Roses, embracing upwards of one hundred varieties. With these I have decorated my house and lawns, not only to my own gratification, but, whilst they are in bloom, to the admiration of visitors and passers-by. I am convinced that parents cannot do better than supply their growing-up families with such works as The Florist, and also to encourage them in growing any class of flowers for which they may have a partiality. I persevered in growing the Rose amidst many discouragements; in fact, my straight sticks for stocks were the butt of all my friends and neighbours; but as soon as they began to put on their rosy heads, one of those who made the most sport planted some stocks himself.
It is my opinion that "the trade" would do well to assist and encourage young amateurs in their endeavours to cultivate and propagate the different florists' flowers, as I believe an amateur who could successfully propagate as well as grow flowers would be inclined to purchase to a larger extent than an unsuccessful cultivator; at least, it is the case with myself, for ever since I have cultivated the Rose satisfactorily, I have spent more pounds than I should shillings in flowers had I been less successful. In regard to the varieties of Roses to be grown, the various characteristics of the different divisions or families, and the varieties in each family, I cannot do better than refer the amateur to the Rose Amateur's Guide, by Rivers, or Paul's Rose Garden, as a larger work, in conjunction with the catalogues published annually by Mr. Rivers and other eminent Rose-growers. I will now proceed to make a few observations on planting.
In passing through the country, I am often sorry to see neat cottages, villas, and even mansions, with some half-dozen or more stunted standard Rose-trees planted in the turf, neither dead nor alive, forming no ornament; whereas had more care and attention been bestowed on them when they were planted, the case would have been quite the reverse. Their owners have no notion of the true cause of their failure, but cast all blame upon the nurseryman from whom the plants were obtained. I have seen young plants just taken from the nursery, where they had been attended with the greatest care, planted in a hole scarcely large enough to contain their roots in a very poor lawn, with the turf laid close up to their stems, and without any manure. How, therefore, can they be expected to thrive? Should you venture to give a hint to a person who is planting in this manner, it is more than probable your remark would be answered by, "I don't understand it myself; but I believe my man (a kind of nondescript between a gardener and groom) does.'" Such a person under the skilful direction of a master or mistress would be useful; but when the operation of transplanting is entirely left to his discretion, it is too often performed in an improper, slovenly manner, and the beauty, health, and even life of the plants are sacrificed.
Where it is desirable to plant Standard Roses singly in grass lawns (and what can be more ornamental than a well-grown healthy plant covered with bloom?), a circle of turf should be removed not less than five or six feet in diameter. If the first spit of soil be moderately rich, it may be placed on one side, and the whole of the subsoil, to the depth of three feet, entirely removed, and replaced with a mixture of good rich loam, good strong stable manure, or old night-soil, and the top spit next the turf well mixed with them. If the top soil is rather light, a good proportion of the subsoil, if heavy, may be added to it, in order to make the compost heavier, as I find Roses budded on stocks of the Dog-Rose flourish best in a moderately heavy soil. Tread the mixture in the hole, to prevent it from sinking, till nearly full, place the plant in the centre, spreading the roots and fibres in an horizontal direction, and cover them with rich garden-mould. Especially avoid planting too deeply. On the top spread a layer of subsoil, poor sand, or road earth, one or two inches thick, to prevent the turf from growing more luxuriantly than the rest of the lawn. In replacing the turf, leave a circle not less than eighteen inches or two feet in diameter around the stem.
This should be filled, instead of subsoil or poor sand, with a rich compost, which will be washed down to the roots by the rain. To ensure the future health and vigour of the plants, one or two gallons of good liquid manure should be poured on this circle two or three times every succeeding winter.
The same remarks are applicable to Roses in beds or borders; but the whole of the beds or borders should be dug three feet deep, mixing the top soil, the subsoil, and a good quantity of manure together; and each winter succeeding the planting, a layer of manure may be spread on the surface of the beds or borders, to be washed down to the roots by the rains: in order to obviate its unsightly appearance, cover with a little earth. Amateurs who neglected to provide themselves with stocks (for budding during the ensuing summer) in October and November, should do so without delay, and plant them in an airy, open situation, but sheltered from the wind. Strong healthy stocks should be obtained about the thickness of a man's thumb; the common Dog-Rose can be taken up from the hedges; and I suppose the Boursault, or any other stock preferred, may be obtained from any nurseryman. They should be cut off, with a clean slanting cut, just above an eye or bud, any height the grower wishes to have his plants; but if worked much above four feet, the wind has a very powerful effect on them when they have large heads.
As the young shoots, in which to insert the buds, generally break from where the side-shoots have been cut, the latter should be removed close to the stock, smoothly and nicely, but not too close: at this season of the year they will present the appearance of straight sticks stuck in the ground.
January 15. 'Poon.