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.
I have read in a contemporary an article under the heading of "Roses for Hedges." This is a good idea - one I, as an old Rose cultivator, have long believed in and practised. The month of November, into which we are just entering, is a busy time for me as a grower of Roses, as during that month I put in my cuttings, and plant Brier and Manetti stocks for budding. With regard to cuttings, it is of the greatest importance to get them all planted before severe frosts set in and the ground gets too cold. Although both the dog-Rose and Manetti are hardy, they are apt to suffer from the effect of frost if exposed to it after they are taken up, and weak shoots, instead of strong healthy growth, results.
In any place where there is a great demand for cut Roses, every exertion should be made to keep up a sufficient supply. I always make it a rule here to supply the table with cut Roses during eight months out of the twelve: in March and April I get blooms from plants forced in pots; in May from walls; and from that time till the autumn has begun to strip the trees of their emerald tresses, the blooms come from various sources - some from plants budded on the Brier, some on the Manetti stock, and others from plants on their own roots. To obtain a good supply of Roses, three classes are principally grown - namely, Noisettes, which are mostly grown on walls, and protected with branches of evergreens during winter; Tea-Roses, which are grown and protected the same way as the Noisettes - both of which I find to bloom earlier and finer from the protection they get, as the blooming wood is preserved intact, instead of being killed back, as is frequently the case; and the Perpetuals, which form the largest class grown here. A great many of these are on their own roots, and these I obtain in a very simple manner. I first trench a piece of ground in the kitchen-garden, two spits deep, and mix plenty of rotten dung with the soil as the work proceeds.
The cuttings I prepare in the following manner: I select the strongest growers of the Perpetual class, and cut up the wood into lengths of about 6 inches, and take out all the eyes but the three top ones. The ground should be trodden firm at planting time, and I always select for this a day dry enough to prevent the soil sticking to one's feet. A line is put across the ground, and the soil chopped away from the line by the spade just deep enough to take the cuttings, leaving the eyes out of the ground; they are placed from 4 to 6 inches apart, and the soil trodden firmly about them. And so I plant a piece of ground, leaving a space between the rows of fully 2 feet. I find the cuttings strike more readily in a sandy soil, and generally place some road-grit about them previously to treading the earth firmly against them. Here the cuttings remain for two years. At the end of the first year the growth of that season is cut back to about four or six buds from the ground, and by the end of the second year they form fine healthy plants.
These I use for the formation of Rose-hedges, the front row of a Rose-border, for potting, for forcing purposes, or to form a bed of Roses on their own roots. The ten varieties of Perpetuals now to be named are very fine plants from cuttings struck this way three years ago, and they are all strong growers and constant bloomers - viz., General Jacqueminot, John Hopper, Jules Margottin, Anna Alexieti', Duchesse d'Orleans, Auguste Mie, Anna des Diesbach, Charles Lefeb-vre, Mademoiselle Louise Carigue, and Madame Alfred de Rougemont.
There are two hardy Tea-Scented Roses growing with the above that stood the severe frost of last winter without any protection - namely Gloire de Dijon, and L'Enfant Trouve, a beautiful yellow flowering kind.
If I were to form a Rose-hedge of one particular flower, it would be Jules Margottin, an old but very free-blooming Rose, that is a great favourite with me, and, I doubt not, many more.
William Plester. Elsenham Hall Gardens.