This section is from the book "Beautiful Gardens - How To Make Them And Maintain Them", by Walter P. Wright. Also available from Amazon: Beautiful Gardens: How To Make And Maintain Them.
Wire arches are not so becoming as rustic ones for supporting Roses, but near towns they are generally employed, on account of their cheapness, and the ease with which they can be procured at any ironmonger's. If necessity compels their use, specially strong plants should be chosen, so that the wire may be clothed as quickly as possible.
Rustic arches are procurable ready made, and if a well-finished one is procured it looks very well. It may cost a little more than a wire arch, but it will give more pleasure.
In country districts the Rose grower will probably make his own arches. The best material he can get for small poles is Larch, as it is straight, but excellent poles of Ash are often procurable. Either material should have the lower part, which is to be buried in the ground, pickled in cold creosote for three or four days. In order to economise the creosote, it is well to procure poles which have been cut a year, as green wood is very absorbent. Cold creosote is preferable to hot, because it does not impair the fibre. Larch and Ash poles varying in thickness at the base from 2 to 4 inches, and in length from 10 to 20 feet, will range in price from threepence to ninepence each. Excellent arches can be made out of this type of material, and the cost is small. Such poles as those described will also be useful for pillars. It is best to set a triangle of three, about 2 feet apart. If one strong plant is put within, and the principal canes are trained to the poles, the latter will be completely clothed before the summer is far advanced. Such pillars, placed in selected positions, are not only beautiful objects in themselves, but greatly aid in breaking up the formality of a garden.
Stumps are equally as valuable as pillars and arches, but, except when tree-felling is being done, the material is not so easily provided. Various parts of a tree may be brought into use - the fangy stump, a piece of bole with two or three short forks, a four- or five-pronged fork from the upper branches. An entirely different effect is produced with these than that secured with either pillars or arches, and assuredly it is not less pleasing. Sprayey, free-blooming semi-climbers like Alister Stella Gray will wreathe a fork in foliage and bloom for the greater part of the year.
Fig. A Pretty Rosery, With A Combination Of Arches, Pillars, And Beds.
f, octagon in grass; g, archways at entrance to octagon; h, squares, forming continuation of passage, arches across indicated by dotted lines; i, beds; j, pillars. (Scale, 1 inch equals 12 feet.)
Stumps and forks may either stand in isolated positions, or be worked into large beds. One plan that may be suggested (and which has been adopted with splendid effect in the author's own garden) is to have a tall pillar in the centre of a large bed, and have a fork 3 to 4 feet high near each end. This gives the framework of a really beautiful and original bed, which can be completed with such lovely and uncommon things as Salpiglossises, Nicotiana Sanderae, bush Sweet Peas, Kochia scoparia, and (near the front) Cupid Sweet Peas or Violas. Bulbs will brighten the bed in spring.
Fig. Roses And Clematises On An Old Fence. A narrow mixed border, with a stone edge, is arranged in front. This plan might be adopted in many small gardens.
From what has been said it will be gathered that, in the author's opinion, new and better ideas should animate Rose-lovers than the mere cultivation of these magnificent flowers under exhibition conditions in rectangular beds. The mind that has been trained to show work, and nothing else, may find pabulum enough in a noteworthy example of any particular variety, but lovers of garden beauty will not be satisfied with perfection of form in a few individual flowers; and when they have seen a 7-feet hedge of Penzance Briers tossing its jewelled and perfumed head in the summer breeze, gazed on a fleecy column of Felicité Perpétue, surveyed a glowing pillar of Ards Rover, seen an outhouse or arch completely hidden in the luxuriant foliage and noble trusses of the best Ramblers, and looked down on a bank swathed in the glossy leaves and fiery blossoms of the exquisite Wichuraiana rubra, they will rightly claim that their minds have become attuned to better things.
A complete Rose garden need not be without its beds, but an endeavour should be made to group them into some harmonious design. To avoid formality, the ends of the principal walks might be arched, and the beds should encircle an interesting central object, such as a small fountain, a pond of Water Lilies, or a rustic house covered with Ramblers. It will be wise to exercise rigorous care in choosing varieties. It is better to plant each bed with one good variety, such as Madame Abel Chatenay, Grüss an Teplitz, Madame Jules Grolez, Augustine Guinoisseau, Frau Karl Druschki, and other strong varieties than to mingle sorts of all degrees of vigour.
Fig. A Clump (two plants only) of the beautiful White Rose Frau Karl Druschki.
A less restrictive system of pruning will be needed than is required to secure exhibition flowers. The most vigorous Teas and Hybrid Teas may be quite lightly pruned - say to ten or twelve eyes instead of the show grower's three or four. The objective, it will be understood, is not a very limited number of shoots with one or two flowers on each, but a free growth of sturdy branches, each well clothed with flowers. Little disbudding need be done, but the flowers should be persistently cut for house decoration. If the plants have a couple of feet of good soil beneath them they will be truly "perpetual," flowering, not in spasms, like the so-called Hybrid Perpetuais of the exhibitor, but continuously throughout the summer and autumn.
There is breadth, freedom, dignity, in this view of Rose growing. It lifts a great flower out of the narrow groove of the specialist, and makes it what indeed it should be - the sovereign flower of a sovereign people.