The following interesting communication of M. Du Breuil to the Giardini, an Italian Horticultural Journal, is worthy of some attention:—
"In July 1867 I paid a visit to the garden of a judge at Bagnères-de-Bigorre. He showed me several standard Roses, and among them a Geant des Batailles, some of the dark red flowers of which were marked with numerous spots of a pale rose colour. I remarked the same peculiarity in varieties with paler flowers, such as General Jacqueminot. All were in a very fine condition of growth and presented all the other characteristics peculiar to the different varieties. Monsieur X. assured me that this variegation was permanent, and that it was capable of being perpetuated by budding. On inquiring what could have given rise to this singularity, he informed me that having been obliged, when budding a few years previously, for want of better, to use some buds which had no apparent eyes; these nevertheless sprouted and produced flowers, all of which exhibited the peculiarity described, and which he attributed to the imperfect conformation of the buds which he had employed. He then repeated the experiment with the same result, and he now produces this variegation at pleasure by operating in the manner described."
Burbidge (1875) provided further details.
About 1873, M. Zenone Zen sent a paper to the Royal Institution at Venice, in which he stated that, after much study and many experiments, he had discovered a secret by which different varieties of Roses might be produced by a peculiar system of budding, and in order to test his assertions, two well known Italian botanists were appointed by the Institute to report on M. Zen's method, and in their presence, as we understand, buds were taken from known varieties and inserted in stocks by M. Zen, but nothing particularly different was observed in the mode of budding; nevertheless, when the plants bloomed, the flowers were found to vary from the kinds budded in a most extraordinary manner. Here the case rests, and before we condemn M. Zen's assertions we must remember the curious sportive character of cultivated Roses, nearly, if not all, our Moss Roses, both red and white, having originated as sports from the Cabbage or Provence Rose, and have been since perpetuated by grafting. Grafting often proves a great disturbing cause in vegetable life, and increases the sportive tendency of many of our popular ornamental shrubs and trees to an almost surprising extent.
And again in his book, Cultivated Plants (1877)
In the 'Revue Horticole,' vol. for 1873, a curious statement is made, to the effect that an Italian horticulturist, M. Zenone Zen, has contributed a paper to the Royal Institution of Venice, in which he declares that, after long study and experiment, he has succeeded in producing varieties of Roses by budding in a certain manner. Two well-known botanists were appointed to see M. Zen's mode of budding, but they could not detect anything unusual in his manipulations; notwithstanding which, when the plants operated on flowered, the blooms were different in form, size, and colour, from the varieties whence the buds had been taken, and these new characteristics become intensified with the age and vigour of the plant. The varieties produced are said to be permanent, and may be perpetuated by budding, layering, or grafting in the usual manner; and if the variety becomes lost, it can be reproduced by performing the original operation of budding again in M. Zen's secret manner, or under like conditions.
The matter was also discussed in the Journal des Roses, Sept. 1904 and Lyon-horticole 1904.
Southern Cultivator, 31(3): 107 (March 1873)