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.
One of my New York correspondents wrote to me some time ago, "The much vaunted Tea Etoile de Lyon in now pronounced by all the best American florists as worthless or at least very inferior in all respects to Perle des Jardins. Some of our largest rose flower growers planted it largely and had to throw it out, and in our Pomological Convention, which met in September at Philadelphia-at a meeting of over two dozen of the best florists of that city and New York, the unanimous verdict was, worthless, because it is ragged on the outer petals and an exceedingly shy bloomer".
I was struck by this very severe judgment, expressed by men of notoriety and independent opinions. Shortly after, I had a few very intelligent horticulturists at my table, among whom was Alphonse Aligatiere, and I explained my surprise at the information I had received about Tea Etoile de Lyon, considered here as a splendid acquisition. All were astonished like myself, and Aligatiere said that those who expressed such condemnation do not know how to cultivate that beautiful rose as a pot plant. Since I bought it, when it was sent out in November, 1881, by J. B. Guillot, I have been propagating it very largely and continue to do so with success.
I asked him how he proceeded to have fine pot-plants of it in bloom. He replied: In February I cleft graft it on pieces of roots of Rosa polyantha. The plants thus obtained are planted out in the open ground about April as soon as frost is no more apprehended. They make thus stout plants fit for pot culture. About the end ot September I pot them in six-inch pots, without pruning or even taking off the leaves, and place them against a north wall, protected against sun, and there they are syringed several times a day. When the first frost has made leaves fall, I put them in a two spanned roof house, where I give them as much air as weather permits, and the house is merely heated to keep out frost.
They grow then slowly, but vigorously, and about March or April, not having been pruned, they produce a large number of flower-buds, from twelve to twenty per plant, which all expand very well and produce splendid blooms. Most likely the ill success of American florists is caused because they force roses in hot houses, and it is very likely that other varieties would gain by the treatment Aligatiere has adopted for Etoile de Lyon.
Although the difference of climate must be taken in consideration, it must be interesting to know what is practised on this side of the Atlantic and therefore public intercourse is useful.
Monfilaisir, Lyons, France, Nov. 28th, 1883.