This section is from the book "The Gardener V3", 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 he who can ride exchanges his pony for a cob, and his cob for a hunter, and, having achieved pads and brushes, where hounds are slow, fences are easy, and rivals few, longs for a gallop at racing speed over the pastures and the "Oxers" of High Leicestershire, for a run with Tail by or the Quorn - as every man with a hobby (I never met a man without one) is desirous to ride abroad, and witch the world with noble horsemanship, - so the Rosarian, enlarging his possessions and improving his skill, has yearnings, which no mother, nor sisters, nor people coming to call, can satisfy, for sympathy, for knowledge, for renown. He is tired of charging at the quintain, which he never fails to hit, in the silent courtyard of his home: he will break a lance for his ladye in the crowded lists. And who loves maiden so fair as his? What mean these braggart knights, his neighbours, by praising their Rosas, so pale, so puny, in comparison 1 Their voices to his ear are harsh, irritating; they are as disagreeable as the crowings of contiguous cocks to the ears of the game bantam; and he feels it to be his solemn duty to roll those knights in the dust.
I offer my services as his esquire, and my advice as a veteran how to invert and pulverise his foes. By foes I mean those miserable knights who presume to grow and to show Roses without a careful study of these chapters. Not thinking exactly as we do, they are of course heretical and contumacious. They must be unhorsed. Then, perhaps, lying peacefully on their backs in the sawdust, they may see the error of their ways, and come to a better mind. They may rise up, sorer and wiser men, and, meekly seeking the nearest reformatory, may gradually amend and improve, until at last they become regular subscribers to the 'Gardener,' and respectable subjects of the Queen of Flowers. Be it mine, meanwhile, to teach the virtuous amateur how to buy a charger, and how to ride him, what Roses to show, and how to show them, first reminding him that he must have a good stable, good corn, and good equipments in readiness for his steed - must be armed before he competes with those weapons which I have named before as essential to success, and which I must once more ask leave to commend.
He must have an enthusiastic love of the Rose, not the tepid attachment which drawls its faint encomium, "She's a nicish girl, and a fellow might do worse," but the true devotion, which sighs from its very soul, "I must, I will win thee, my queen, my queen!' He must have a good position, a home meet for his bride. He must have for his Roses a free circulation of air, a healthful, breezy situation, with a surrounding fence, not too high, not too near, which shall break the force of boisterous winds, temper their bitterness ere they enter the fold, and give shelter but not shade to his Roses. He must have a good garden-soil, well drained, well dug, well dunged. And having these indispensable adjuncts, he may order his Show-Roses.
"Thanks, dear professor," here exclaims the enraptured pupil (I am mocking now with a savage satisfaction those dreadful scientific dialogues which vexed our little hearts in childhood); "your instructions are indeed precious - far more so than the richest jam, than ponies, than cricket, or than hide-and-seek; but may we interrupt you for a moment to ask, What is your definition of a Show-Rose?"
"Most gladly, my dear young friends," replies the kind professor (anxiously wishing his dear young friends in bed, that he might work at his new book on beetles), "will I inform a curiosity so honourable, so rare in youth. I propose, therefore - avoiding all prolixity, repetition, tautology, periphrasis, circumlocution, and superfluous verbosity - to divide the subject into forty-seven sections," etc. etc. etc.
Leaving him at it, let us be content to know that a Show-Rose should possess -
1. Beauty of form - petals, abundant and of good substance, regularly and gracefully disposed within a circular symmetrical outline.
2. Beauty of colour - brilliancy, purity, harmony, endurance. And,
3. That the Rose, having both these qualities, must be exhibited in the most perfect phase of its beauty, and in the fullest development to which skill and care can bring it.
The names of the Roses which are more specially adapted for exhibition, from their exquisite proportions and lovely tints, from contour and complexion too, are given in the following list. It has been compiled with much observant care, and it is no exaggeration to say that the compiler has recently travelled more than 1000 miles to make his catalogue complete. With this as my primary object, I have attended the four great Rose-shows of the season - the National, the Crystal Palace, the Hereford, the Birmingham - and, acting as a judge at these exhibitions, I have had the best opportunities of examining, comparing, and discussing the merits of the flowers exhibited, and of selecting the most perfect. Every Rose on the list, if grown and shown in its integrity, has symmetry, colour, and size. Finally, I have submitted my selection to the champion exhibitor* of the year, and having his suggestions and additions, I present it to the amateur as a sure guide. He ought to have every Rose enumerated; he must have those printed in italics. The names with no letter attached are of the Hybrid Perpetual class.
B signifies Bourbon, N Noisette, and T Tea-scented China.