THE ROSE GARDEN.—No. I.
THIS has been, on the whole, an unfavourable season for Roses; the early flowers were scorched by the excessive heat, and the late tempestuous winds have irreparably damaged the buds of all the summer kinds, so that we must look to the autumnal Roses for fine flowers, which calm weather and soft dewy nights will alone bring to perfection.
Among those universal favourites, the Moss-Roses, very few new varieties have bloomed satisfactorily. Tempting descriptions from the French growers induced Rose-amateurs to form high anticipations of the following, which this season at least have not been realised:—Moss Hortensia, Sanguinea, Pompone feu, d'Orleans, à Feuilles pourpres, Mauget and Helena Mauget, seem seedlings from the Luxembourg Moss: all pretty, with bright red and pink-cupped flowers, but too much alike, and all lacking that desirable quality possessed by the common Moss-rose, viz., large and globular form and complete plenitude of flower. Celina, one of the best of the new Moss-roses, is deficient in this desirable quality. It is decidedly an improvement on its parent, the Luxembourg Moss, in colour and size of flower; but it has not that desirable globular form, neither is it double enough to constitute a first-rate variety. This deficiency in shape is the result of crossing with the Rosa Gallica, to procure depth of colour, by which much of the fragrance and form of the genuine Moss-rose is lost.
Among the new Moss-roses, however, one has been introduced peculiarly distinct and beautiful, namely, the Moss Unique, or Mousseue Unique de Provence, exactly like our favourite Unique Rose, in its robust habit and tendency to bloom in large clusters: its flowers are pure white, and abundantly mossy.
A Moss Rose, raised by Mr. Rivers from the Spotted Moss, crossed with the old dark Tuscany Rose, is at present the darkest Moss Rose known; its flowers are of deep crimson purple, mottled with red, but it is not at all double enough for a first-rate variety, having but five or six rows of petals. Its shoots and leaves in spring are of the deepest red, so that before it bloomed, it was anticipated that the great desideratum—a black Moss Rose—was at last obtained. It seems exceedingly difficult to procure a genuine Moss Rose from seed with any depth of colour; seedlings from flowers that have been crossed with dark varieties of Rose Gallica are inclined to lose their moss, as are in fact some of the established varieties. The Luxembourg moss, on its own roots, has this season, in two or three places in rich soils, lost every particle of moss, and cannot be distinguished from a variety of Rosa Gallica.
Moss Roses, particularly the White, Lancel, de Meta, &c. &c., when budded on the Dog-Rose, are in many soils short-lived, or have but a languid existence after the first year or two. The best stock for them is the old hybrid Bourbon Rose, Celine, which has large semidouble flowers, and blooms in immense clusters. This is a most vigorous grower, and strikes readily from cuttings, if planted in the open border in October. For the White Moss, in particular, this will be a most eligible stock— making this shy and delicate Rose grow freely and bloom abundantly.
THE ROSE GARDEN.—No. II.
Among the fashionable Roses of the day are those Hybrid Chinese Roses which continue to bloom till Autumn, whence called "Hybrid Perpetual Roses." They seem to bid fair to supersede those perpetual Roses derived from the old Four-seasons; as they grow and bloom more freely, and also strike readily from cuttings. The Hybrid Perpetuals grow well in the driest and most unfavourable Rose-soils, when cultivated on their own roots; and it is to be regretted that at present but few of them possess that powerful and agreeable fragrance, so remarkable in the old perpetual Roses, which have for their type the Damask Rose. The Crimson Perpetual, Bernard, Josephine Antoinette, Royal, Grand et Belle, &c. &c., are not yet rivalled in this respect, as their perfume, like that of the old Cabbage Rose, seems to please every one, however indifferent to the odours of the flower-garden. This new race of Roses has one fault, common to most flowers originated with facility from seed—they are too much alike. Thus, Princesse Heléne, Fulgorie, Comte de Paris, Marshal Soult, Queen Victoria, Augustine Monchelet, Melanie Cornu, Louis Buonaparte, Edward Jesse, Lady Fordwich, and Newton, are of the same reddish-crimson, tinged with purple, and when gathered can scarcely be distinguished from each other, even by Rose growers, who would all be "put to confusion" if asked to name them when placed indiscriminately in a case in clusters. Most of the above have been raised by M. Laffay, near Paris; and they are, to use a florist's phrase, in "one strain." Still they group well, and are well adapted for a bed of one leading colour. The most fragrant of those, particularly in autumn, are Fulgorie and Princesse Heléne. In this family, as yet, there are few rose-coloured and blush flowers; however, Duchess of Sutherland, Clementine Duval (this season blooming more beautifully than ever), General Merlin, Julie Dupont, Duchesse de Nemours, Pauline Plantier, Prudence Raeser, De Neuilly, and Clementine Seringe, are all beautiful Roses of these shades of colour; the three latter remarkably fragrant, more particularly Clementine Seringe, which is as sweet as the Cabbage Rose. Prudence Raeser blooms in large and beautiful clusters, and is also remarkably fragrant, and distinct in character. Clementine Duval is a dwarf-growing Rose, and, with General Merlin, is well adapted for a small bed in the rosary. One of the most distinct and beautiful among these Roses, is Madame Laffay; it would surpass the Crimson Perpetual, which it much resembles, were not the delicious perfume of the latter wanting, which shows how difficult it is to arrive at perfection, even in a Rose. The flowers of Prince Albert in many situations do not appear to open well, and it is a most variable kind, sometimes lilac, sometimes red, and anon a deep velvety crimson, on the same plant. When its flowers do expand properly, their perfume is quite delicious; it also forces admirably; coming into flower in February, and if possible it is more fragrant then than when grown in the open air. Aubernon is also a sweet Rose in every sense of the word. Duc d'Aumale, one of the newest, is of a deep crimson, with erect trusses of flowers, but is scarcely at all fragrant; this is one of M. Lafffay's new Roses, as is "Perpetuelle Rivers," "dedicated," as they say in France, "to the Rose-grower of that name;" it is a large and brilliant Rose, approaching sometimes to Brennus in colour; its habit is robust in the extreme; its perfume not very perceptible. Reine de la Guillotiére is a Rose which was raised at Lyons, and, like Clementine Seringe and Pauline Plantier (also raised there), has a marked and distinct character; its leaves being dark and glossy, habit dwarf, flowers very double, and of a brilliant yet dark crimson, and is a charming and distinct variety. Guillotiére is a suburb of Lyons, whence its long name, not the most agreeable to the taste of many Rose-growers. Aricie and Mrs. Elliot are lilac-coloured flowers, rather destitute of brilliancy: the former seems dwarf and distinct in its habit, but its petals are too flaccid. Calliope is dwarf and pretty; its flowers are of a brilliant red, without perfume, and generally defective in shape.
William Jesse and General Allard are classed with these Roses, but they do not always bloom in autumn; they also group badly with them, as they make long unmanageable shoots. In a bed of Hybrid Perpetuals every shoot should have terminal flower-buds. All these kinds strike readily from cuttings planted in September under a hand glass; and some of them form fine standards. As a rule, no Rose of dwarf delicate growth should be chosen for this purpose. They have a beautiful effect in beds on their own roots, as they make compact bushes, and are covered with flowers all the summer and autumn.
THE ROSE GARDEN.—No. III.
It behoves every one at this season to look to the protection of his Standards; if Noisette, Chinese Tea-scented, and some of the more tender Bourbon Roses, they will all be excited by the present mild weather, as in December 1837, and in January we shall, perhaps, as then, be visited with a nipping frost which will deal destruction among them.
The mode of protection used in the north of Italy may be adopted; viz., that of surrounding the head of the Rose, after shortening its shoots, and binding moss or hay-bands round the stem, with an oiled paper cap. Such plants, however, often suffer by the early spring frosts, when uncovered. l have found no method equal to that of removing the trees, and placing their roots in a trench near a north wall, their heads leaning against the wall. A double mat should be nailed over them, which may remain on till the end of February, unless the season is very mild, when it should be occasionally removed. In this situation they will remain nearly dormant till the end of March, when they may be removed and planted in their summer quarters. By this annual removal, their roots become so fibrous that the plants receive scarcely any check, and bloom abundantly all the summer; and we shall thus be able to produce fine standards of Noisettes, Lamarque, and Jaune Desprez, which, since the winter of 1838, have almost disappeared. For the protection of dwarfs of the above and other tender Roses on their own roots, nothing is so efficient as moss placed thickly on the surface of the soil round their roots; this prevents the ground from being frozen hard; and although the extremities of their shoots may be killed, they will throw up abundantly from the stem near their roots, and bloom as well as if the whole plant had been protected.
Rose-seed, even of the most choice varieties, is abundant this season. The heps should now be gathered, and laid on the surface of the pots of mould in which it is intended that they should be sown. The pots should be placed on a sunny shelf in the greenhouse, and remain there untouched till the end of January; by which time the seeds will be thoroughly ripened. They may then be crushed with the fingers, and the seeds may be covered with about half-an-inch of light mould. The pots should remain in the greenhouse till the beginning of March, when they may be placed out of doors, in a situation fully exposed to the sun; when they will require to be watered in dry weather. They must be protected from birds and mice by a piece of coarse wire, such as is used for malt-kilns. A portion, probably a small one, will by these means vegetate during the first season, and most probably all will grow during the next. If the pots remain in the greenhouse too long, the plants will come up weakly and damp off or become mildewed. In the open air, however weakly they are when they first make their appearance, they gradually acquire hardihood, and but seldom die. In June, during showery weather, they should be taken from the pots carefully with the blade of a knife, so as not to disturb the dormant seeds, and should be transplanted into a rich border.
Your remarks on the ridiculous mode of showing Roses in large bundles of flowers are very just. The end of exhibiting all flowers ought to be, to give the public a just estimate of their properties. A crowded bundle of Roses never can do this; five flowers and buds ought to be the maximum of number allowed for each variety. In this manner, a Rose may be seen fully blown, half-blown, in bud ready to open, and in buds showing its colour only. Some of the foliage belonging to each variety should also accompany the flowers.
The stimulus now given to growing Roses in pots will doubtless induce many to try their hands at this mode of cultivating the queen of the floral world. Additional vigour may be given to all the Chinese and other Roses of that family, by budding them close to the ground or on little stems of the Blush Boursault, Rosa Manettii, Brown's Superb Blush, or any other free-growing hybrid Chinese Rose.