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.
Perhaps there is no other branch of nursery business in Great Britain in which there is such a general interest taken as in propagating and cultivating the Rose. Thousands are grown annually, and thousands are killed by those fell destroyers, soil and climate, both of which are seldom found suitable in the same garden. Reference need hardly be made to the soil best adapted to the cultivation of the Rose, but there is one important operation which should receive attention in the early autumn - viz., thinning the shoots something after the way we thin out Raspberry plantations, and expose a limited number of shoots both to sun and light, - and mulching the surface of the beds can hardly be said to be of secondary consideration. In light soils, especially, which are soon drained of moisture, mulching is of the first importance. Although we must not grumble about moisture this season - we have had enough and to spare - still the operations alluded to are just as necessary this year, on account of the influence that sudden transitions of temperature have upon plants: no roots will venture near the surface where every particle of moisture is licked up by evaporation at short intervals.
We must therefore, if we wish to keep roots out of a hungry subsoil, bring them to the surface and feed them there with such rich stimulating manures as are most convenient to hand.
With regard to thinning the shoots, the principle is in no way different from that employed in fruit-growing.
Take a Rose-tree with from a dozen to eighteen shoots in different stages of growth, perhaps with several of the limbs barely alive - these are supported and maintained from the same source as the healthy shoots, - cut away all the weakly portions and diseased limbs early in the autumn, and you take out a new lease of life for the portion of the bush that remains. The work is simply one of concentration. The number of growths being reduced, they shoot along with increased vigour, and form large plump eyes, solid and matured by generous treatment at the root, and thoroughly ripened by the action of the weather. W. Hinds.