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.
This was produced by Mr. Henry Bennett, the successful "pedigree rose grower" at his nurseries at Shepperton, Walton-on-the-Thames, London, England. Mr. Bennett hybridizes roses on strictly scientific principles, and has given us a number of fine results. He has however produced no rose which has given him the same satisfaction as the Wm. Francis Bennett. He speaks of it as "a marvel among roses," and truly it is. During a long correspondence with this gentleman prior to the purchase of this rose, I felt that probably his praises might be overdrawn; that being a plant of his own creation, he might possibly regard it as a foolishly indulgent father would a favorite child. During my visit to Mr. Bennett's greenhouses last summer, however, I quickly saw that in no way had the description surpassed the true merits of the rose.
It is the custom of Mr. Bennett to remove his plants from the greenhouse in the spring and place them in frames in the open air. It was my privilege and delight to see them at six o'clock in the morning, previous to any cutting having been made, and truly a more beautiful sight had never met my eyes. Hundreds of glowing crimson buds, backed by the beautiful green foliage for which the plant is so noted, glistening with dew and illuminated by the rays of the early morning sun, made a picture to gladden the eyes, and one, too, long to be remembered.
Do you wonder that I longed to transport this beautiful rose to our own land? Where can you find a nation more appreciative of the beautiful than our own. Rose lovers are so plentiful with us and so ardent in their devotion to this queen of flowers, that I foresaw the treat I should have in presenting a new rose to them so worthy of their admiration, and fully have my expectations been realized. I would like to tell you of the peculiar merits of this rose.
First, its color as you see is a beautiful glowing crimson, probably a shade lighter than our favorite "Gen'l Jacqueminot," although many specimens have shown themselves fully as dark as this rose. In fragrance it disputes the prominent place so long held by the "La France," but this quality speaks for itself. I hope our friends will test for themselves, from the few specimens I have brought here this evening.
I never have seen a plant so quick to respond to judicious pruning, nor indeed have I ever seen one better entitled to the term "ever-blooming" than this. To quote from an English paper, "the Wm. F. Bennett is the most persistent of winter bloomers. As with Wellington's soldiers at Waterloo, so with this rose; when one bud is cut off another quickly takes its place." I have seen no tendency whatever to mildew; in two houses filled with these plants I have seen no sign of it. Its growth is remarkably vigorous and its foliage resembles greatly that of roses of the Hybrid Remontant class.
In Europe this rose has taken premiums and first-class certificates wherever exhibited. Since its arrival here it has been awarded a premium and certificate at two flower shows in New York.
[Mr. Evans exhibited some charming specimens of this rose at the February meeting of the Ger-mantown Horticultural Society, and was called on to make a few remarks, which we give as above.-Ed. G. M].