This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A friend kindly says: "Again I am in receipt of the grand old Gardener's Monthly, which is such a mine of botanical treasures that I do not see how any can do without it, even if they care nothing for plants or fruit; for as a periodical of general literature it certainly is superior to all the American publications of the day. I never feel as though I was competent to write anything for the Monthly, but in looking over the pages to-day I find a few things I would like to say, to complete or answer some notes. First I would say in the Botanical Index is a short article on "Rosa polyantha" (March number, page 31), from Jean Sisley, which is more complete than the one published in the Garden, and your correspondent " Bergen" could procure, eithe direct or through some of our importing florists, some of the hybrids that promise to be a superior article and indeed seem to be the stock of a new race of roses."
Case's Botanical Index is a quarterly, so cheap and so useful that we should hope most of our readers who can afford it, subscribe for it. In this case, we should not want to repeat in our pages what they already see. But in view of the probable importance of this new class of roses, we transfer what Mr. Sisley says of it:
"This species* is originally from Japan, from where it was imported to France about fifteen years ago by Robert Fortune, with several others. It is a very handsome shrub, with slender branches of a light and glossy green, with few and slight prickles, attaining about the height of six feet in one year. The leaves are small, bright green, very pretty, and last very late in autumn. It is very hardy, has resisted since its introduction our most severe winters without any protection. The flowers are of a pure white, small and single like those of Rubus, and bloom in panicles like those of the Lilac, appear very early in spring, last very long, but bloom but once. It requires no pruning, and does better without any. It seeds abundantly, and produces scarcely any suckers.
"In Japan it is to be found on the hills, near the seashore. It has until lately produced no varieties in Japan, except one with semi-double flowers, of the size of single ones, which most likely does not proceed from seed, but by accident. I was one of the first to possess it very soon after its introduction, but paid very little attention to it for several years. But five years ago I gathered a great quantity of seed and distributed it to several of the Rosareans around me. From it a great number of varieties were produced the year following, and but very few like the type, but principally a great number with double flowers like those of the Multifiora, and a few very similar to Rosa Canina; and that without artificial fecundation. This first generation was already very remarkable, as it could not be ascertained whether it was produced by the change of climate, by the fecundation by insects or by the natural law of variation.
"But what was more wonderful and consequently exceedingly interesting for the observer, is that from the seeds of the double varieties of this first generation were produced at the same time in different places dwarf plants and perpetual bloomers, completely different from the original type except by their leaves. The first was obtained by Guillot fils and sent out by him three years ago under the name of Polyantha Paquerette. This was considered a great event "This variety is very pretty, very dwarf, and nearly like the Lawrenceana. It is a profuse bloomer. The flowers are pure white, very double and well shaped, and larger than those of the single type, but smaller than those of the parent.
* I Bay species, because it is a conventional term.
"The second was raised by Phillippe Ram-baux, also from a double variety of the first generation, and sent out by his widow, last year, under the name of Polyantha Anne Marie de Montravel. It is not as dwarf as Paquerette, but the flowers are larger and more numerous on each truss I have counted on one flower stalk sixty blooms. They are also white, very full and well shaped, and are produced in great number all the year round.
"The third variety of this class, also a seedling from a double variety of the first generation, has been obtained by Mad. Venne Ducher, also of Lyons, and advertised this autumn under the name of Polyantha Cecile Brunner. The plant is in growth intermediate between the first and second, and also a perpetual bloomer. The flowers are double and of a good size for such a dwarf plant, but differ in color from its predecessors. They are bright pink, with a yellowish centre; and it also differs from the two others, as it is the production by artificial fecundation of a Polyantha by a tea, Souvenir d'un Ami', of which it has the fragrance. It is thus a precious acquisition.
"These three varieties will certainly make very good plants for forcing and cut flowers. Several other varieties of this new class have been raised in Lyons and are now in propagation, and will most likely be sent out next year in autumn."
"Bergen," of New York, says: - "Will you be kind enough to give me through the columns of the Monthly some information about Rosa polyantha as to hardiness and blooming qualities. I have seen the description of a new variety by Jean Sisley, both in the Garden - 1880, and by a party offering it in this country, and would like to try it if hardy?"
[We know of no one in America who has had the rose long enough to answer this question. If there be, we should be glad of the information." - Ed. G. M.]