These are the roses that are mostly planted to make a permanent bed. Many thousands of the budded stock are annually sold. Our department stores are now selling the imported stock at ten plants for a dollar. There can't be a great margin for the department store or a great profit to the grower, but the popular price catches the men and women who are looking for bargains, and they are numerous. They get well dried out before they get into the purchaser's garden, and we haven't heard how they thrive. It is to be hoped they give one final " department" flower and then die, which the majority must.
Whenever you can get roses on their own roots do so. They will be far more satisfactory to your customers. But some of the finest sorts, the Baroness Rothschild type for one, do not grow well on their own roots, and of those you must rely on the budded plants. If you import the budded stock it should be unpacked and laid in trenches in a coldframe during winter, and when filling your orders in the spring see that they are carefully planted, and insist on their being cut down to within six inches of the ground.
If you handle but a few hundred they can be potted when received in the fall; a pot that will just hold the roots is large enough. These plants will come along slowly in April and be well rooted by about May 1, and if lots of ventilation has been given, or better still the sashes removed, they must be satisfactory to your customers, as you should not lose one. But you want more than the department store price for them; you should get at least $6 per dozen.
If you have land of your own you should propagate during fall and winter all the hybrid perpetual roses that do well on their own roots. Small plants put out in May will be most satisfactory plants for your customers by the following spring, or even the first fall if they have had good soil, but it is safer to plant in the spring. Tell your customers about the Manetti stock, and teach them to distinguish between the suckers of the stock and the rose. But when on their own roots danger of that trouble is impossible.
The so-called tree roses are not to be recommended for our climate. They are called standard roses in Great Britain, and in that form countless thousands are grown. Here they look very charming the first season perhaps, and perhaps the next, but the third usually finishes them. They are budded on the wild briar. The briar stalks are collected from the hedgerows and thickets, and are sold to the nurseryman tied up in bundles like an English tourist transports his walking sticks; and there is little more apparent life about them than a bundle of golf sticks, yet they grow, and on a side shoot near the top the bud is inserted the following June or July, and in another year they are sold. But don't buy them if you live north of Washington, D. C, unless you live in the northern Pacific states, where many plants flourish that won't in our eastern states. The dwarf or bush roses are much better for us.
Since the above was written I have had some very gratifying experience with hybrid perpetual roses, some experience that I am justified in looking back upon with pride and most happy memories, yet success or failure all hinged on a few very simple conditions of treatment, as is often the case. I am certain that the great disappointments that ensue with many of our patrons when they make a bed of roses is the impatience to have roses the first year. It can't be done, and your patrons should be given a lecture and convinced. To return to our story. We received in the spring of 1900 about 4,000 hybrid perpetual roses from two firms of nurserymen. It was about June 8 when they were received. They were plants that had been dug the previous fall and were left over after their spring sales, so by the time they reached us they were badly in need of more congenial environment. They were duly planted with care and science, and well do we remember on the scorching days of June planting these dried-up roses with but a forlorn hope of any good results. Work is unpleasant unless you have confidence that your work will be fruitful. A good gardener or florist, when he sows a seed or puts in a cutting or plants an apple-tree, should see in his mind's eye the seed develop into a flowering plant, the cutting grow into a strong plant and the tree bearing fruit, and then he should be happy - if not he is in the dark and working in a fog.
I must say here that the soil of the beds for these roses was about the ideal, and perhaps their great success should be principally attributed to the splendid soil. It was a heavy clay loam, cut the previous fall off a pasture, about four inches thick, and piled up and added to it was one-fourth of cow manure chopped down in early spring. Of such material, at least a foot deep, were the rose beds formed. The roses had been pruned rather low when they arrived, so we planted them without further pruning. In two weeks many showed no signs of breaking into growth, so the shears were again brought into use and two or three inches more were taken off.
This left them very like the Crimson Ramber, difficult to locate, but it saved their lives and very soon they were bursting into growth all over the stems. As soon as the little plants started to grow we spread two or three inches of rotted manure over the entire surface of the beds. This may have been a stimulant to the feeding roots, but it was put on more as a mulch to keep the beds from getting parched on the surface. With a heavy watering every week if there was an absence of rain, by September these roses had made five or six shoots or canes and three to five feet high. Varieties differ greatly in strength of growth, but I remember many growths of Ulrich Brunner fully five feet and as thick as your little finger. Now this great growth was rather soft and not well ripened, and protection was needed, so after there was an inch of frost in the ground we covered the beds with eight inches of strawy manure and leaves, of which we had an abundance. This was evenly spread over the beds and well up around each plant. No further attention was given to the tops, because I knew they would be killed whatever we did, and that was not of the slightest consequence. As it happened, during very severe weather we had a steady blanket of eight inches of snow. When the bluebird arrived and the snow melted away we found our leaves and straw had shrunk to three or four inches, and down to the snow line the rose canes were killed back. This was as it should be, for if winter had not killed tue tops we should have cut them down anyway.