This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
It was not long after the first importation of M. Niel from France, that its great value to the cut-flower trade was discovered. It became at once the king among the cut roses. Its large size, solid look, rich tea fragrance, rich golden yellow color, and graceful drooping habit, and clear, bright shining leaves, won for itself a permanent place in the hearts of the people.
It is grown principally in the neighborhood of Boston and New York. The grower that is most successful in quantity and quality is in Long Island, and so fine are they, that the buds are called after him, and bring a higher price than any other growers. New York and Boston consume at least ten thousand Niels daily. It has only been within the past two or three years that Niels have been used largely in Philadelphia, but the demand there is increasing largely every season to such an extent that it is safe to say that in a few years it will use nearly, if not quite as many as either of the other two cities.
Niel is used for all purposes in flower work. Combined with Jacqueminot roses or Marie Louise violets and smilax, it forms the most magnificent bouquet that can be imagined.
A bouquet of Niels and Smilax during the opera season is worth from ten to twenty dollars. The buds retail at from twenty to fifty cents each; wholesale, from ten to twenty dollars per hundred. The highest figure reached, wholesale, last year was thirty-five dollars. The lowest five dollars. It is one of the three roses that florists have an interest in keeping the price of up, and so particular are they in this matter that it is seldom that the purchaser can buy one for less than twenty cents, although the wholesale price be only five dollars per hundred and the market glutted.
One reason for this is that it is a true '"crop" rose, and therefore, at times, very plentiful, while at others terribly scarce; and as very few customers can understand that flowers can fluctuate in value, the same as railroad stocks, it is necessary to keep a nearly uniform retail figure, which must of course be high to cover.
A second reason is, that just so long as it remains at a fair rate, Niel will take with a certain class that would not purchase, if they imagined for a moment that it was a "cheap" flower. It is thus that an innocent advantage is taken of human nature, and the old adage of "tricks in all trades but ours," is fully exemplified.
A good Niel plant will produce from a thousand to fifteen hundred blooms in a season, though occasionally a bush will cut two thousand.
The color of the flower is intensified, and the buds larger, and the plant more vigorous, by its being worked on the Banksian Rose.