This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
As the season is come again when plenty of good ripe cuttings are to be had of all sorts of Roses - and generally at the pruning-season a great portion of their heads goes to swell the rubbish-heap in the shape of prunings - prepare a piece of ground, of any light, sandy soil, upon a south border. It does not require to be over rich, as the Roses will remain on it for twelve months to complete their growth; and many of them will make from three to four shoots, and from 2 to 3 feet long. The distance apart may be 12 inches between the rows, and 4 inches from cutting to cutting. In taking off the cuttings, select those with the ripest wood. Get as many with heels as you possibly can, although many will strike equally well by cutting them across at an eye with a sharp knife. The cuttings need not be any longer than from 5 to 6 inches; if made shorter, they are apt to be thrown out with the frost. During winter it is a matter of little consequence whether the leaves are left on or not. I have put in batches of cuttings at pruning-time in the spring, and secured upwards of seventy per cent.
A north aspect behind a hedge is as good as anywhere.
As this sort of cutting takes a long time to heal over, the buds must not be too prominent when the cuttings are taken off. Insert them firmly into the ground with the dibbler, and leave them for the winter. I have never done it, but I believe a mulching of some light material would be beneficial in preventing the frost from heaving them up; at all events, when the severe frosts are all gone, let them be firmly trod with the feet to make all secure. Water, and keep them free from weeds, during the summer months.
This day I have lifted a fine lot of well - rooted plants. A selection will be made for pot purposes, and the rest planted out. Twelve months ago I potted a large quantity from the same ground. I kept them in a cool house until the beginning of February, when they were introduced into a gentle heat, with plenty of light, where their buds came on slowly. I may remark, when they were potted, that the shoots were not pruned as usual, merely coiled round three or four sticks, when, like a young Vine, the buds broke regular the whole length of the shoot. I must admit that they did not flower all alike, but the majority of them had from one to two dozen Roses on each plant, and gave a good succession of flowers from April to the end of May. When they had finished flowering, they received a liberal shift into larger pots, with a good sound loam, road-grit, and some well-decomposed manure, and were finally placed out of doors, to stand upon coal-cinders, to prevent worms working their way into the pots through the hole at the bottom. When they had filled the pots with roots, they had an occasional watering of liquid manure, which increased their growth very much. Part of them are being introduced into gentle heat, to bring them on for another season as required.
The border has been deeply dug again for another batch of cuttings, and they are being put in as time admits. John Miller.