The Cottage Gardener 112-113 (Nov 20, 1851)

Noisette Roses
Donald Beaton

It is in this section that we must look for climbing roses to plant against the front of dwelling-houses with a south aspect, including also southeast and south-west. A west aspect, in a sheltered situation, will suit some of them, and some, with high titles, are not worth planting at all—Solfaterre, for instance. I have grown this useless rose for some years under the most favourable circumstances; in a border as rich as it could be made, twenty inches deep, five feet wide, and as dry at the bottom as would suit a Muscat of Alexandria; a wall due south, or nearly so, kept warm with hot water pipes in winter, and covered with good glass from the beginning of October to the middle of May, with power to give it as much air as if it were on an open wall; yet in five years I only got one really good flower from it, and that was a good one certainly. It generally flowers early and late, in May and again in October, but not very freely. I consider it altogether unfit for our climate ; nevertheless, if others have found it to answer well under other circumstances, and will send us accounts with the proper names of the places and writers, we shall publish them and cancel my verdict; but if we cannot establish a good character for it, the best way is to scratch it out of the lists. The celebrated Cloth of Gold is a Noisette, and one of the best if it was a certain bloomer, which it certainly is not;— I believe the fault is not altogether in our climate, but that it is partial to particular soils, like the Old double-yellow Rose; for I have known it to bloom tolerably well without any particular indulgence, and I have seen it fail under very good management. A friend of mine blooms it most beautifully trained in a cool, airy conservatory. Unless its roots are well confined it should not be much pruned. Established plants of it, which refuse to bloom freely, should be root-pruned about the end of August, in order to check its late growth, and so ripen the young wood before winter.

There are four good White Noisettes; the best of them is Lamarque, a strong pillar Rose; the next best is La Biche, another pillar Rose, which runs much farther than Lamarque, and does not bloom so late. The next two whites are dwarf—Aimee Vibert and Miss Glegg. The latter is the best bedder of the two, on account of its growing more freely, and its better scent. The scent of Aimée Vibert is very bad indeed: it should never be put in a nosegay. Jaune Desprez is one of the best of this class to plant against a house with a south or west aspect. It covers a large space in a few years, and is remarkably sweet after the manner of the tea-scented ones, but it is not a safe one to bud other Roses on, as a hard winter is apt to injure the bark and young wood. I had a very fine specimen of this a few years since against my house, and, being close at hand, I used to bud every new Rose I could get on it; but, with the exception of La Biche, they all died or dwindled away on it in three or four years. The Tyrian Purple Noisette (Pourpre de Tyre) is a most beautiful pillar Rose, and a good one to fill up the bottom of a rose-wall when the strong-growing ones get naked. It is the best half-climbing Rose we have of that colour—a purplish crimson. It only flowered with me at the end of strong shoots. If older plants of it made small side-shoots, and flowered on them like Gloire de Rosamene, it would be a charming Rose; but I fear the habit of it will not allow of that style of free-flowering. A cross between this and the Crimson Boursault would give us such a climber as one of our correspondents asked last summer—a perpetual evergreen, dark-flowered climber. Fellenberg is well spoken of as another high-coloured Noisette, but I never saw it in flower myself; considering, however, the small number of dark Roses in this class, I admit it into this selection. To have flowers of these two shades of dark Noisettes in October and November for mixing with the Gloire de Rosamene in nosegays, all of tbem with the buds half open only, it will be necessary to begin pruning, or rather stopping their second growth, as soon as the shoots are six inches long, and to keep on stopping to the end of August, without letting them flower at the end of June. This will throw them into close bushes, which will begin to bloom by the end of September, or early in October, when they would need a strong dose or two of rich liquid manure, and would well pay for all this attention for two months or more. I am not so sure about the Noisettes keeping in bloom very late without some glass protection, but I have often seen the Rosamene in good bud at Christmas. All the strong Bourbon Roses which flower only on the top of long rambling shoots would be much prettier in beds if they were stopped in the same way; that is, between the summer and autumn bloom; at any rate it would be a good plan to have some of the best under this treatment in the reserve ground, so as to have many varieties to cut for glasses and nosegays very late in the season, and when we shall have rose-houses on Mr. River's orchard-house plan, that will be the proper plan to follow for having flowers all the winter, and to have no winter-pruning at all, merely to stop any shoot which comes up too strong. Then all the pruning will be from the end of June to the middle of September, and not only that, but I am convinced that in a few years we shall find out the whole of the Noisette Bourbons and Hybrid Perpetuals—that is, all Roses which bloom in the autumn may be reduced to this kind of treatment, whether we have glass houses for them or not, and that winter-pruning will be confined to the June flowers only. Perhaps, too, we may find out that the strong Hybrid Chinas and Bourbons will do better, or, at least, as well as they do at present, if they are not pruned in winter. In that case we shall always gain ten days or a fortnight in May, as I found the case with the unpruned perpetuals last May.

This week I have got an old garden memorandum-book, in manuscript, beginning with 1791, and carried on to 1830 by a great garden amateur; on one page is entered all the plants he bought, and from whom, and the prices; the other page is left blank for future memoranda, among which 1 see as good and rational observations on the cultivation of Roses, in and out of pots, forcing, &c, as is to be met with at the present day; indeed, the very plan I adopted last year with the Hybrid Perpetuals was hinted at in 1799 in this book. The writer said it was of little help to cut down the strong stems which grew directly from the roots, meaning suckers; in two or three years they wearied thenii selves with flowering so much. After that he throws out a hint about allowing root-stems to form a new bush every year, and only cutting such as became weary of flowering; but whether he put this into practice or not, is not said. He took stock every third or fourth year, that is, took down a list of all his plants at stated intervals, and the Golden-leaf Geranium is among them from 1793 to 1814, when he ceased to name his old kinds, and mentions his yearly purchases of them only. This Golden-leaf is our Golden Chain of the present day, and it seems to be the oldest seedling that is preserved from the Cape Scarlet, the oldest in cultivation of that breed, but now supposed to be lost; I had it at Shrubland, however, this very season. When the Golden Chain makes a green shoot, as it sometimes did with me, I believe that to be identical with lnquinans alias Cape Scarlet.

Now for our own times and our Roses. Ophirie is, perhaps, the nearest to a yellow of all the Noisettes that are worth a place against the wall of a house, with the exception of the Cloth of Gold; but a good yellow, free-blowing Noisette is still in expectation only. Mrs. Siddons is a better yellow than the last, but too dwarf for a wall, unless it were to fill up at the bottom; and Clara Wardel is much in the same way. All the Noisettes with red tints I care little about, as we have much better sorts of the same habit, and quite as hardy, in the strongest Bourbons, which, if not strong enough to run over a house, will do very well to be budded on La Biche, or on Felicite Perpetuelle, for that purpose. To save room, I shall not in future repeat my lists as I have done, but when they are finished I shall request, Mr. Editor, to repeat them all in alphabetical order, with names of classes, &c, for ready reference.

Hardy Climbing Roses: Evergreens

The best of all this class is unquestionably Felicite Perpetuelle, or Perpetue, as some call it, because every other free-growing Rose will grow on it by budding. If I had a castle to cover round and round with all manner of Roses, I would guarantee that I could flower the Malmaison Rose on the highest pinnacle of it by means of this one climber, and the way I would go to work would be this: I would plant young plants of this climber at nine, ten, or twelve feet apart, according to the height of the building, and to guard against suckers. I would have the plants from strong cuttings made in October and November, and all the eyes picked out of them except the two top ones,—the cuttings being six inches long, there would be at least four inches of clear stem between the roots and the first branches, and that would be quite sufficient to keep down suckers from where they are most apt to grow. Supposing the two eyes to grow, I would give them their own free will the first year, and perhaps some manure water into the bargain, if the summer was dry. At the end of October I would cut them down to ten inches, leaving three or four buds on each for shoots to begin to bud on. I would bud the strongest sorts near the bottom, and would leave some shoots unbudded every season until the top was reached. On them, and near the top, I would bud the more dwarf sorts. In this way a whole collection of Perpetuals might easily be established, at little cost, on one kind of climber, or on half-a-dozen of them if it was preferred, such as I shall name presently; a shoot here and there of the climbers themselves would be left to make a greater variety of flower; and to guard against the bottom of the wall getting too bare after a few years, I would plant pillar Roses along the bottom, such as Gloire de Rosamene and the Tyrian Purple, &c. Princess Maria is the next best of the evergreen climbers, both for budding on and for tint, being the reddest of them; after that Myrianthes, tinged with pink; Princess Louise, also a little tinged with pink on a white ground; and Rampant, a fine delicate white Rose. All these bloom in immense clusters, but none of them require a wall, unless for the purpose of budding others on, unless it were a north wall which one wanted to cover fast.

Beaton bibliography