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.
A correspondent from Michigan asks: "Why is it that some of your Rochester pomologists so set up the Clinton Grape!" adding, that it is hardy and prolific; and that is all he can say in its favor. To say that a moderately good Grape is hardy in all of our northern States, is what can not be truthfully said of any of the most noted sorts - the Catawba or Isabella, for instance. It can be said of the Clinton; and because it is very comfortable to have the second best when the best fails, the Rochester pomologists, or the Michigan pomologists, may well recommend the Clinton. During ten years observation of the habits of this Grape, I have several times seen large vines of the Isabella nearly killed to the ground by autumnal frosts, while the Clinton remained quite uninjured. The latter has never failed to produce large crops. There is something foxy in its flavor, especially if not thoroughly ripe; but it has much less pulp than the Isabella, and is wanting in that peculiar slimy coating that envelopes its pulp.
The Catawba is seldom ripened here on trellises. In this latitude it should always be grown upon close walls with a southern exposure. I am so thoroughly convinced of the superiority of this mode of culture, that I will have no more training on arbors or trellises. Grapes trained on the walls of my buildings are quite two weeks in advance of my neighbors' upon trellises. The Alexander is so much better when cultivated in this way, that a noted pomologist failed to recognize the fruit, although he had long been accustomed to see it cultivated in the best wine region of the States. Notwithstanding the past winter was a very trying one, not three inches of the extremities of the large vines growing upon the sides of the barn were affected.
This has been a hard season for Roses. The June bloom was a good one, but the Perpetuate have suffered from long drouth; and now, while they should be making a good display, are almost roseless. Among a not very large variety - say twenty kinds - I have found quite a diversity of good qualities. For several years the Prirvce Albert has played treacherous in its June flowering. It has shot out its plumn buds early numerous and full of promise but while my expectations were fully awakened in view of the plump, healthy Rose just at hand, the partially-developed bloom either refuses to go further or blasts; - not one really good Rose on eight or ten standards. But later, when June Roses are gone - when the Prince has lost all his plebian companions - he deigns to put on full costume. Through July, imperfect specimens of this Rose have been as difficult to find as the perfect were in June. In a season usually moist it has continued to bloom faithfully until severe frosts. In the smallest collection of Roses it should be one. The Madame Laffay has bloomed better early, but not so well late in the season as the Prince Albert. La Heine, though large and very showy, has not been a reliable bloomer.
A large, bright, double, cherry-colored Rose, which I suppose to be Duchess of Sutherland, is a great favorite with us all. It is a free and continuous bloomer, and in most respects better than the Laffay. The Marquis Boccella is a good Rose of its color - quite pale pink - and does very Well to make variety of color with the darker Roses, say with Prince Albert and Oeant des Batailles. I have not had uniformly well-developed Roses of the Boccella. Among the semi-hardy Perpetuals, I could poorly dispense with the Sol/atare and Amie ViberU Among all the Perpetuals, none have bloomed so profusely, during many years, as the latter. From the beginning of the Rose season to cold weather, it often bears as many as fifteen or twenty Roses at one time, on its long, forked stems. The Amie Vibert should have a good background of green, as it lacks leaves. The Solfatare is somewhat more tender here. It is the best of the cream-colored family of Roses, and certainly one of the best of all Rosea, A thick covering of evergreen boughs is all the winter protection it ordinarily requires.
Two years ago last winter, I nearly smothered my best bush with covering; last winter being more trying, I had nearly lost it by following the opposite practice.
With two or three exceptions, my Roses are budded. Several years' experience in Rose-culture has given me no inclination to resort to varieties on their own roots. Nurserymen have repeatedly warned me of the danger of budding, and especially of its want of permanence. In a moderate amateur collection, like mine, budded Roses have many advantages. Usually the Rose roots sent out by nurserymen are rather puny affairs; and, while some of them never get large enough to make much display, others are long enough about it to quite weary one's patience. There is little difficulty in finding stocks of the common Blush Rose to bud upon; often quite strong ones may be got. It is often quite an object to get a bloom the first year; and if the season is at all propitious, it may be attained by budding late in June, and heading down so soon as the inserted bud shows signs of bursting. During the last ten years I have cultivated a variety of the best Perpetuals upon such stocks, and have not yet found one to fail, either in health or vigor of growth. With slight attention in providing one good stake to support the bush, there is little danger of the top parting from the stock. And this provision must be made, too, for the Rose on its own roots, if the Roses are to show well.
It is objected that the standards so got do not last well. I can show budded standards, some of ten and some of twelve years from the bud, apparently quite healthy yet; and I hope to keep them so much longer, by proper attention.
For the sides of a building, the Multifiora makes a reliable stock for all the hardy Roses. What more beautiful than the display that may easily be made by a variety of choice Roses on a veranda, or under the roof of the cottage. Of course a climber of such dimensions, if made to depart from its constitutional habit of once-bearing, can not be induced to bloom perpetually without high feeding. When the barn is so placed as to warrant it, it affords an excellent position for a climber of Perpetual Roses. The roots running under its floors will find abundant nutriment.