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 time approaches for planting Roses; with some of our readers it is at hand. A word as to their culture is, however, always in season. If the ground is light, it will be necessary to mix good strong loam with it, for they do not grow well in light soil. Loam, therefore, is as essential as dung. They always grow best on strong land; take care, therefore, to supply strength by mixing loam as well as dung wherever you are going to plant them. Presuming, then, that you are beginning, send to a respectable gardener, and as soon as they are ready to take up they will be forwarded. Supposing they are standards, take a sharp knife, and wherever the ends of the roots have been broken or chopped off, cut the rough end or bruised part away. Then dig your hole where the ground is prepared, and plant it with the collar of the root just below the surface, for, if deeper, they will not flourish, and will sometimes dwindle and die. Thrust a strong stake down of such a length as shall just reach the head, and to this stake fasten the tree in an upright position. Water, to settle the earth about the root, and tread the earth firm. If there be any very long shoots to the head, shorten them a little, because the wind has great power, and might break them.
But pruning should be deferred until the spring, which we will suppose to have arrived. Now, with a sharp knife, out off all weakly shoots close to the base, and shorten all the ripe wood to two or three eyes, taking care that the top eye left shall point outwards or downwards. When the shoots push, rub off any that grow inwards. The tree will bloom freely unless attacked by the maggot, which is generated in the very heart of the bud; but when the first buds have been destroyed by the maggot, it is only the first bloom that is lost; the tree will recover. When the autumn comes, you may just shorten some of the longest branches, to lighten the head a little, and, in spring, properly prune them again. Now, you may study the form of the tree in your pruning, bearing in mind that all the shoots which grow inwards where you have omitted to rub them off must be cut clean away, except where you leave them longer for the sake of forming the head. The head ought to be formed by several branches growing outwards, equally divided as it were, and if two are close together, let one be removed. In pruning, therefore, some regard should be had to an equal growth all round.
As it is desirable to get the head of the tree as good in form as possible, as soon as we can, we have to bear in mind, when we prune, that a top eye is sure to grow strong; the second may grow, and sometimes the third will start. This ought to give us a good idea of what the tree will be at the end of the season, and may induce us to cut in more or less, as will best assist the form of the head. It ought, however, never to be forgotten that weakly shoots are useless and mischievous, and so, also, is every branch that grows inwards, and helps* to fill up the interior of the head. The stocks of tree Roses will every now and then send out branches, which not only deprive the heads of great nourishment, but they are also in the way. They should therefore be removed at once - the instant they are discovered; whether they come from the root or the stem, they must not be allowed to grow.
Roses on their own roots want the same kind of soil, mixed with peat or sand to lighten ft, as their fibres and roots are not so robust as those of the brier, and especially some of the more delicate varieties. If the small sorts are intended for a bed, it is worth while to make up the soil on purpose all over the bed. If they are isolated plants, straggling about here and there, a circle of one or two feet may be enough for each plant, but this is supposing the soil too light. If, however, it is good, strong, kitchen garden soil, or like it, a little dung forked into the ground will do all that is wanted. If intended to climb on a wall, or front of a house, or on poles or arches, we must calculate on their growing for years, and therefore provide more fitting soil to ramble in; at the same time, we may bear in mind that good, strong loam naturally forming the ground can hardly be improved for Roses that are to stand for years. Fruit-trees do well on natural loam, and so will everything else, and, when we are making a plantation of Roses, we may look at the productions around us, and if the trees', shrubs, and flowers, are growing strong and well, we need trouble our heads very little about a change.
Some persons plant all the dwarf fancy kinds of Roses in good soil, about a foot apart, and then cover the surface with large flint stones, building, as we may call it, close up to the stems. The appearance of these Roses, blooming over the flat stones, is very curious, but no one can dispute that they are pretty. They keep on flowering till the frost settles their affairs for the season, and the roots are so protected by the stones that they survive even a hard winter. They are cut down to the surface of the stones, and, in the spring, they come out stronger than in the previous year, and spread all over the flints. But this mode is only adapted for the small dwarf-growing sorts, of the nature of the Crimson China, of which, however, there are now several varieties.
Climbing Roses will often remain without a fair start the first season; if so, cat them down tolerably close before they begin to grow in the spring. There will be no mistake the second season; they will throw up from the ground very strong shoots, and you have only to direct and fasten them where they are to remain. The weak shoots that come up or out of the wood, being useless, should be taken away. The side branches of the long shoots should be spurred in to one or two eyes, and, when the space intended to be covered is once complete, you have only to out in the summer's growth to the last two or three eyes. If you have any reason to suppose that the roots have at all exhausted the soil, the most easy way of supplying the deficiency is to make a bank round the root, and apply liquid manure, a spadeful of rotten dung stirred into five gallons of water, two or three days, and then water with the clear liquor till it has all soaked to the roots.
Roses for show must be fastened, to prevent their being frayed by their own leaves, and shaded from the broiling sun, for you will scarcely find a perfect bloom in a hundred when left to the mercies of wind, dust, and midday rays. A Rose bloom must not be touched by a leaf, for the slightest rub bruises and spoils it. Let the bloom be tied, to prevent it moving to and fro, and the leaves and branches that could be blown against it must be tied back. An oiled paper-cap over it, like an umbrella, will keep off the sun and rain. - Midland Florist.
People now begin to be their own rose makers. A few stocks set them up. These are to be procured, at the right season, at any of the nurseries, and when their roots are nicely pruned, and they are planted in the ground, the same as established trees would be, they have nothing to do but keep them watered now and then, until they grow, when all the Bide shoots down the stem must be rubbed off, except the strongest two near the top, or the strongest near the top of the growing part; and having selected the one that is strongest, cut down the stock to an inch above it, that all the strength may be thrown into that and the nearest one below it; for it is on this one strong shoot that we must bud, and that will be ready about the beginning of July. If we have any roses in the garden that are inferior, and we wish to change them for better sorts, all the head should be cut away, but two or three of the strongest shoots, close to the stock. These will grow, by the end of July, strong enough to bud upon, and may be treated just the same as a stock would be treated; but let no side shoots, nor any other shoots grow at all, and when the new growth shows for bloom, pull off the buds, and let none go to flower. - Midland Florist.