This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Since reading of Mr. Beecher's troubles with roses it has occured to me that, despite the apparent tramping of the ground, the trouble might arise from its not having properly settled. It takes dirt some months to settle firmly in an excavation two feet deep, and no matter how firmly packed about the roots of the roses the constant settling would make it very difficult for them to "catch on," and I presume if they could have told their own story they would have complained that they "took two steps backward for every one forward".
Then there may have been trouble about his compost, especially if made with horse manure, which is altogether too heating for roses. A friend of mine who paid an enormous price for a quantity of compost last spring and made his beds up the same as Mr. Beecher describes, was disgusted because his roses did not grow right along and thrive and bloom, but on the contrary were in poor condition and covered with mildew in June.
I was requested to examine and account for the trouble, and pronounced it, ground not sufficiently settled, also too much rank horse manure. The remedy was removal of at least twelve inches of the compost and replacing it with good sweet soil; new soil if possible, nothing better than rotted turf from rich loamy soil of an old stump lot; fall planting of vigorous plants, with proper selection of varieties.
Mr. Beecher will probably find next spring that his beds have settled a good deal, and the compost will also be in better condition, and if he will fill up and round up with good soil, as above described, and put out vigorous plants with plenty of "faith and love" I believe he will succeed. I should not look for any trouble from the May beetle grubs during the first year of planting, especially where the old soil was removed, unless they were noticed in quantities in the new soil as it was filled in. They don't like compost at all, but do revel in a rich sweet new soil, just such as the roses like. However, I have never had serious trouble from them. My roses have been a great comfort to me for several years past, and it was a proud and happy day for me last June when my friend, the veteran John J. Thomas, came over from Union Springs to see them, and I hope for the return of many more such annual visits from him.
For nearly a week I was kept almost constantly i in my garden by callers "to see the roses," and it' was a week of great pleasure. I think the.rose that attracted the most attention of any in my collection of about one hundred varieties, was Eugene, which Mr. Thomas pronounced "surpassingly lovely." It certainly is my favorite of all my roses. Next comes Louis Van Houtte, so fragrant and of beautiful form, its rich velvety maroon contrasting so perfectly with the salmon-tinted silvery pink of the former. Then comes Baroness Rothschild, with its grand blooms rustling down in magnificent foliage, and La France, unequaled for fragrance; both rivals of Eugene, but lacking the beautiful shaded effect of the petals. Then Anne de Driesbach, with more carmine tint; then Jean Liabaud, darker and more velvety than Louis Van Houtte, but not of such good form or free-blooming qualities; then Captain Christy, difficult to manage, but magnificent when well grown, almost rivaling Baroness Rothschild; then Francois Michelon, large and of the finest form; then Alfred Colomb and Marie Bau-man - these two comprising all that one really needs among the red roses, although there are dozens of other good ones.
Gen. Jacqueminot and Jules Margottin are valuable for making a great show in the beds, a perfect mass of bloom, but are of no use for cutting in comparison with any of the above. Other valuable and beautiful roses are, Mabel Morrison, the only good white; Marguerite de St. Amande, for perpetual flowering; Prince Camille and Xavier Olibo, beautiful dark roses; J. B. Camm and Ettienne Levet, both very fine; also, Charles Lefebvre, Marquise de Castellane, Marie Rudy, Horace Vernet, Fisher Holmes, Mad. Gabrielle Luizot and Glory of Cheshunt, the latter new and very promising.
The above comprise the best of my Hybrid Perpetual roses. The first eight or ten are real sensational beauties, particularly the first five. Nearly all of them are budded on Manetti, which gives much finer blooms than they would on own roots. Among the Hybrid Teas the only two which I have found valuable are La France and Captain Christy, both mentioned among the Hybrid Per-petuals, where they seem to hold their own very well for hardiness and vigor of growth. Those sent out by Bennett in 1879 I tried faithfully for two years, but was unable to make them grow. Two of the H. Noisettes have given me great satisfaction, viz.: Elise Balle White and Mad. Auguste Persin, pink and with delicious old-fashioned fragrance. Also the new Polyantha, Cecile Bonum, of a salmon tint, not much bigger than a butter-cup, and quite as free blooming. The Moss roses are great favorites of mine and Gracilis is altogether the most beautiful, both in bud and flower. The Crested is unique and beautiful in bud, and the old common Moss, far better than most of the new ones and, so dear to the heart of my childhood, will always find a place in my garden.
Auburn, N. Y.