Gardeners' Chronicle p. 389 (June 22, 1850)

Rose Stocks
Henry Curtis, West of England Roseries, Moorend, Bristol.

Although Mr. Saul is unfortunate in being unable by any means to grow the Crimson Boursault stock successfully, this misfortune cannot entitle him to assume that none can succeed where he fails. With respect to his description of the Boursault stock, I shall only observe that if I were to judge from my own stocks of the kind; and the favourable report of it by many large growers, instead of from Mr. Saul's experience, I should pronounce his (Mr. Saul's) opinion of its liability to decay to be erroneous, and its tendency to throw up suckers somewhat exaggerated; but believing that by some inexplicable accident of soil, cultivation, or some undiscoverable cause, Mr. Saul has found the stock to be faultful as he describes it, I shall pass on to that part of his letter which runs thus: "I happen," says "An Amateur," "to have living proofs in plants of these kinds (many of which trees are as many years old as the Manettii stock has been known in England)." Mr. Rivers states that he received the Manettii stock from Italy some 12 or 15 years ago. To what extent were Celine and Crimson Boursault grown as stocks at that period? Many of the Roses named by "An Amateur" have been introduced since that time. Had Mr. Saul asserted that neither the stocks nor any of the Roses I named were introduced here before the Manettii, then they who believed him must have disbelieved me; but while he admits that both of these stocks and some of these Roses were cultivated previously to the introduction of Manettii, what can there be wonderful in the foregoing quotation from "An Amateur?" In 1846 Mr. Rivers writes that the Manettii stock was received by him "some eight or ten years since from Como." Why, then, does Mr. Saul go beyond the extreme, and mention "15 years," especially since he must be aware that this stock has only been known generally amongst us about six or seven years at the utmost? But the facts contained in the paragraph he quotes from "An Amateur," remain untouched. The Roses, amongst which is a Goubault on the Boursault, of Mr. Rivers' growth, I mentioned in my former letter, were kept under my own charge, and I thus am enabled to declare them in no way subject to the evils Mr. Saul attaches to the unfortunate object of his antipathy. Mr. S. has misunderstood my remarks on the Cloth of Gold and Devoniensis. My expression meant that the finest Cloth of Gold in the kingdom was on the Celine, and the finest Devoniensis on the Boursault. Although Mr. Saul's failure may have been even more lamentable than he describes, it cannot weigh against the testimony in favour of the Crimson Boursault by our first Rose cultivator, Mr. Rivers, and many others. I cannot refrain from referring Mr. S. to Mr. Rivers's instructions for making cuttings, as calculated to stay a multitude of the ills which Mr. Saul has found to attend his cultivation of the Crimson Boursault stock. An Amateur, Bristol. The poor Crimson Boursault and Celine stocks have been so abused lately by Mr. Saul, that I must really endeavour to give them fair play by stating the treatment proper for them, which does not appear to be generally understood. The Crimson Boursault is a Rose of remarkable vigour, but the wood is apt to suffer in winter from intense cold; it naturally produces strong root suckers, but as a stock we overcome these disadvantages, and turn this extraordinary vigour to account, when we take out all the eyes from the root part of the cutting and use it almost as a root stock, by budding nearly close to the soil. Mr. Rivers, in his valuable "Guide," most properly describes the manner in which cuttings should be made for stocks, but for the Crimson Boursault I think he will agree with me that 7 inches is a preferable length to a foot. The cuttings should be made from hard twiggy wood--in June, the top of the stock immediately above the shoot for budding should be carefully headed off with a knife (scizzors should on no account be used for this), it then thoroughly heals over, and there is no danger from decay. As many delicate growing Roses thrive best on the Crimson Boursault, while some grow more freely on other stocks, we must give in our adhesion to the belief that particular Roses have an affinity to particular stocks. Having myself introduced the Hybrid Bourbon Celine to public notice, I am happy to have received Mr. Rivers' approbation of the superior adaptability of this stock to the growth of several varieties. I freely admit that the Rosa Manettii is a most valuable stock for many, but I consider the Celine possesses an advantage in a greater rigidity of growth, with an equal degree of vigour and hardihood; for the Cloth of Gold it is acknowledged to be the best stock, and I have found it equally well adapted for very many others, delicate as well as free growers; there is however one disadvantage, viz., it does not strike quite so freely from cuttings in stiff soil as Manettii. Henry Curtis, West of England Roseries, Moorend, Bristol.