32(829): 315 (Oct 8, 1887)
Boule de Neige
T. W. Girdlestone
The year 1867 was a notable one for light Roses. The arrival at that date of such celebrities as La France and Baroness Rothschild, not to mention Elie Morel, still often a very useful pale Rose, seems to have been foreshadowed by the distribution the previous season of Mdlle. Thérèse Levet, Monsieur Noman, and Princess Mary of Cambridge, but it was in 1867 that Rose amateurs were excited by the announcement of a pure white Hybrid Perpetual, and there were then sent to this country three white Roses which are still unsurpassed in their respective lines. Of this trio, by far the most important was one sent out by the great raiser (who has given the world more first-rate Roses than anyone else) Lacharme, under the name of Boule de Neige (of which an engraving is here given), a Rose whose whiteness has never been excelled, and not even equalled among large-flowered Hybrid Perpetuals until the arrival of the progeny of Baroness Rothschild — Mabel Morrison in 1878, and White Baroness and Merveille de Lyon in 1882.
Presumably Boule de Neige originated from a cross with some Noisette, and it is generally classed with the Hybrid Noisettes, of which there are now a good many; but although it was one of the first, it is also still the best of its class. It is not often seen at exhibitions, because its flowers lack the depth and perfection of form requisite in show Roses now-a-days; but any white Rose that is to supersede it as a garden plant or for furnishing large trusses of bloom for cutting will have to possess a great many good qualities, for Boule de Neige makes an exceptionally handsome plant, having very deep green lustrous foliage, and producing its snowy flowers in great clusters, which, if cut entire with good long stalks, make a very telling display in large vases. The plant is hardy enough, free-flowering, and one of the most constant autumn bloomers, its flowers being as pure in September as in July; while it succeeds admirably either as a bush, or as a standard, or trained up a pillar, growing on Brier stock or on its own roots. In the latter state, however, it is not always easy to obtain, as cuttings of this Rose do not strike at all readily.
Coquette des Alpes, Coquette des Blanches, and Perle des Blanches were also sent out by Lacharme, and Perfection des Blanches by Schwartz, and all four are white Roses with rather small flowers, but a similar inflorescence to that of Boule de Neige, but with a more decidedly climbing habit of growth in the case of the second and third, which make useful pillar Roses, as do two more recent seedlings from Schwartz, namely, Madame Alfred Carrière and Fanny de Forest, the latter an erect-growing, rather rosy white, the former an immensely vigorous climber, producing an abundance of most charming white flowers, tinted with pale yellow at the base. Madame Louis Henry (Vve. Ducher, 1879) and Caroline Schmidt (Schmidt, 1882) complete the list of Hybrid Noisettes that are worth growing; and for a small collection anyone wanting the best three would do well to select Coquette des Blanches and Madame Alfred Carrière in addition to Boule de Neige.
The Garden 32(831): 365 (Oct 22, 1887)
BOULE DE NEIGE
D. T. F.
Thanks for celebrating the semi-majority of this charming Rose in THE GARDEN October 8 (p. 315). It can hardly, however, be sufficiently honoured until its unique beauties are duly set forth by a coloured plate as well as the charming engraving. It may, however, seem like a "bull" to call for a coloured plate of one of the most useful and perfect of all our white Roses, and yet every rosarian knows that white is mostly a relative term among Roses and other flowers, and that there may be whites with numerous additions and variations — Boule de Neige is no exception to this—and the pinks on the outer or covering petals are a delightful study, alike in their variety of tints and extent of area. The whiteness of the more fully expanded blooms contrasts so admirably with the soft green verdure of the glossy foliage, as to form a most pleasing combination of colour even when the pink flakes or blotches on the outer petals have disappeared. Some of the buds, too, are often almost surfaced with pink lines, narrow fringes of colour on the extremities of the petals before unfolding, that intensify the blanched purity of the older blooms. All this would help to make your coloured plate of Boule de Neige one of the most chastely delicate and softly beautiful that has yet appeared in THE GARDEN. Almost as well try to paint the Lily as to add to Mr. Girdlestone's catalogue of merits of the Boule de Neige Rose; suffice it to add that its merits are so great, and its habit and character so unique, that it ought to become the founder of a new family of the most useful and fragrant of all Roses. It is wholly out of place among Hybrid Perpetuals alike in size, habit, foliage, fragrance, and it is also widely different, as well as head and shoulders better than any or all other Hybrid Noisettes. For these reasons, as well as for its superb merits and matchless usefulness, I repeat that Boule de Neige ought to become the head of a new family, instead of being absorbed in any other class of Roses.
The extreme doubleness of its blooms places an obstacle in the way of its use for button-holes, but this our hybridists will doubtless be able to overcome. Hybridised with some of our more slender-budded Teas will give us a longer-flowered Boule de Neige, and thus fit it better for such work; while its peculiarly soft and satisfying odour might be poured into some of our beautiful, but almost odourless Tea varieties.
But, in the absence of these children of Boule de Neige, we may all endeavour to increase our stock of the parent variety. There are few gardens that could not find room for double, treble, or ten times the number of this choice and fragrant Rose. As Mr. Girdlestone points out, it does not root very readily on its own roots. Buds of it, however, may be rooted pretty readily. Well-ripened buds may be prepared as follows, and inserted in heat in July or August, or December or January: Pieces of wood about an inch long should be chosen. Cut the section straight across at each end, leaving the bud in the centre. Then remove about a third of the circumference of the wood from the under side of the bud. Place these on the surface of a pot or pan, and cover all but the bud over with fine soil or sand, making all as firm as possible. Cover with a bell-glass or plunge in a close hot-bed at a temperature of 65° or 70°. Keep close till rooted, then gradually expose to more air; pot off when fairly rooted, and grow on in a close genial atmosphere till quite established.
A better mode still, where genial space is plentiful, is to place a single bud in a small pot, and proceed as before. Each bud having its own root-run from the start, the risks and delay incident to division of tender and newly-formed roots are avoided.
This mode of rooting bud cuttings is useful for many sorts of Roses and other plants besides Boule de Neige. It is a convenient way of multiplying new Roses, such as The Bride, Puritan or other novelties, as every bud may readily be converted into a plant; whereas two or three buds are needed to form a cutting of the ordinary sort.