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.
This should be done as early in the month as possible, to get the plants well started before the dry weather. We have felt surprised to find Roses grow and flower so well on our light sandy soil, but there being clay underneath, plants never suffer here from a dry summer so much as on much stiffer soil; and we are never troubled with mildew until the heavy dews in autumn; then if the ground is dry, mildew is sure to appear.
We prefer planting Roses in beds to placing single plants in borders; the plants flourish better and are more under control .
If the best results are expected, the beds require good preparation. In England we used to dig the ground from two to three feet deep, removing the bad soil from the bottom and adding one - third clay marl and one - third rotten manure, mixing the whole thoroughly together, and planting the roses two feet from each other, cutting the plants down to two or three eyes the first season and leave all the strong shoots the second, which were pegged down. These shoots started and flowered from every eye, and each year the old shoots were cut out, also the weak ones, and the strong ones pegged down as before. This made a mass of the largest flowers. This treatment refers to the hybrid perpetual class.
The Bourbon, Teas and Chinas require different management. The beds were mulched with half decayed manure, which was removed in the spring and the plants pruned to near the ground, as usually the unprotected wood was injured, but shoots started from the bottom and the plants flowered very fine; in some instances from thirty to forty buds on a shoot of Souvenir de la Malmaison.
Previous to the winter of 1860 and '61, most of the roses, even dwarf, were worked on the briar, but that winter made a clean sweep of all the budded plants in many places; we had more than ten thousand killed, and the growers in the trade in some cases lost nearly all their stock; but, strange to say, several plants of worked Grloire de Dijon escaped with little injury. This learnt us a lesson, not to plant worked roses if they were to be obtained on their own roots. In that case, if the tops were injured, the plants would start from the bottom, and there was no trouble with briar suckers coming up all over the bed; that trouble has sometimes been avoided by taking up and cutting away all suckers and replanting the beds every second year, whioh gave the opportunity of stirring the beds to the bottom and adding-more manure. With care the plants were not checked in the least.