This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The location selected next in order is the form of the beds and their arrangement. Allusion has previously been made to the bad taste of planting roses singly on grass: A decidedly better and more proper way is to plant them snugly in beds, large or small, as suits the means and taste of the grower. For a small collection, one good size bed, circular in form, with the four sides scolloped towards the center, is the most convenient shape. By this arrangement the cultivator has all the plants within reach without having to step on the bed. The cultivator should also make himself acquainted with the different habits of the various varieties he intends planting. This can be learned by consulting the catalogues of the commercial growers. Those marked vigorous should be planted in the center, distributing the smaller sorts around the larger, thus forming a compact and regular outline, at once symmetrical and beautiful. For large collections a number of beds would be needed, and a variety of forms could be used.
Each form should comprise a complete part of a general plan, each part being complete in itself, a perfect whole would be the result.
In garden decoration the climbing and pillar roses are very useful; neatly trained to posts for the center of the rose bed, and dis-. tributed throughout a well cultivated shrubbery they are very ornamental, and when blooming above and among the dark green foliage of well arranged masses of shrubs, they are seen to advantage.
Pruning - The following few remarks under this title contains all that is necessary to be said on the subject. Long treatises have been written on it, describing in detail different modes applicable to different classes of roses, and confusing the rose grower by unnecessary and perplexing particulars.
One principle will cover most of the ground. Strong and robust growing kinds require little pruning. On the other hand, weakly growing roses should be pruned severely.
In shortening the shoots of the majority of hybrid perpetuals, four or five eyes should be left; but those of robust and luxuriant growth, such as Madame La Baronne de Rothschild and others of like nature, should be only shortened to about half their length. With the more vigorous summer-blooming varieties, cut off about one-third of their entire length only. Keep the center of the plant well thinned, and prune moderate, anything like short pruning with such subjects being productive of abundant rank wood and scanty blossom.
In the short growing hybrid perpetuals and bourbons, two or three eyes or buds are sufficient to be left. In the more tender tea-scented and chinas, all weak and useless should be removed; and the operation must be done with care. And as in many varieties the eyes or buds are far apart, the knife must be sparingly used, or failure may be the result. Much, however, depends on the object or the aim of the cultivator. If a profusion of bloom is required, or a constant supply of buds is necessary, without regard to the size or the perfection of the flowers, then very little pruning is required other than merely thinning out all weak and superfluous shoots, and shortening the ends of the main branches.
Climbing roses, such as Noisettes, Bour-saults and the Prairies, and some of the vigorous summer roses, are the strongest growers, and require little pruning; first, because of their vigorous growth, and secondly, because profusion of bloom rather than quality is required. The old and dry wood should be wholly cut away leaving the strong and young shoots of one and two years growth to take its place, with no other pruning than the shortening of the ends of all side or lateral branches, and the thinning out of all useless shoots. In all cases it is the well ripened, plump looking wood that bears the best flowers. Old enfeebled and soft unripe wood should, in all cases, be removed.
Half pruning in the autumn is very important to lessen the weight that has to stand i against the wind, and to prevent undue exhaustion from severe cold, dry weather. The final pruning may be done in March or the early part in April. The exact time depends very much on the season being late or early.
The object of pruning is threefold: first, to give the plant shape and proportion; secondly, to improve the size and beauty of the flowers; thirdly, to invigorate the plant. The first object is a very important one, as the future shape and health of the plant depend on the first training it receives. No two shoots should be allowed to crowd each other: a mass of thick foliage is both injurious and unsightly. Sun and air should have free access to every part of the plant.
Pruning in summer, when the plant is in active growth, has the contrary effect to that of pruning in winter, when the plant is in a dormant state, the process is weakening rather than invigorating. It deprives the plant of a portion of its leaves just at the time when they are most needed, and cannot in all cases be recommended. It is, however, often desirable, and frequently saves much trouble, and may be effected to a great extent by cutting the blossoms with long stems when wanted for decoration or otherwise, and by removing all decaying and faded flower-stalks. Many of the kinds by this treatment, and by reducing their main branches to one-half their length in June, are much more certain to give autumnal blossoms, besides the general appearance of the plants will be much improved.
To produce the best effect with roses, con-tinous blooms should only be used; such as Hybrid perpetuals,Teas, Bourbons and Chinas. Summer roses that bloom once in a season and no more, are useless except for exhibition purposes. If you desire to have summer roses - and none and more beautiful when in bloom - let them have a place by themselves. Never let them mar the effect of the others, by planting among them sparse blooming kinds, when by a judicious selection of monthly blooms a complete succession can be had of beautiful buds and blossoms, and the rose garden kept in perpetual and ever increasing beauty.