32(835): 459 (Nov 19, 1887)
T. W. Girdlestone
If a Rose grower be asked what is the most beautiful, the most free flowering, the most perpetual, the most vigorous, the purest white climbing Rose in cultivation, there is but one variety that he can conscientiously name as possessing all these good qualities. He may look back and think of some old house half hidden behind a snowy curtain of Félicité-Perpètue, but that is a Rose that blooms but once a year; or the recollection may revive of some fence all smothered with huge masses of Madame Plantier like a great snowdrift, dazzling white in the sun, but who shall recognise the snowdrift in September? Or, if he has been an exhibitor, he may recall the triumphs at the shows of his darling Niphetos; but vigorous? —how would Niphetos fulfil the fourth condition? Perhaps memories of the delight in Boule de Neige when it was new may invest it with an interest that enhances its abundant charms, but to include this the expression "vigorous climber" would need to be somewhat stretched. Then why not Rosa polyantha, the rampant, the incredibly profuse, the white of whites? Alas! there is no sign of bloom in autumn, and, besides, to how many people is a "single" any Rose at all? No, there is no other Rose to fulfil all the above conditions but one raised some threescore years ago, and which, though men have been raising Roses ever since in all parts of the world and have sent out innumerable varieties, is still unsurpassed, namely, Maréchal's great gain, distributed in 1830, the exquisite Noisette Lamarque.
Lamarque is one of the most beautiful of all Roses; of white climbers, the best. The flowers being produced in clusters, the plant continues well furnished for a considerable time; while its thoroughly perpetual character ensures a renewal of the display almost as soon as the first blooming is done. For cutting, its flowers are delightful, whether for vases or (in the bud-state) for bouquets, and the amount obtainable for the latter purpose from a good-sized plant is surprising. The plant, unfortunately, is not perfectly hardy, but if planted on a south or southeasterly aspect, where the wood may get well ripened, and where in exceptionally hard weather a mat can temporarily be tacked over it, it will not receive permanent injury, even in such a severe winter as that of 1886-87, when there were several times registered as much as 25° of frost. It is preferably planted—like all other Teas and Noisettes—on Brier seedling or cutting stocks, when in a favourable situation it will soon cover a large area. It has the true Noisette tendency to retain its leaves, which, being of a very bright and cheerful green, constitute a considerable additional attraction, although never of the red-brown tint so much admired in many of the Noisette-Teas.
The exhibitor is the only Rose grower to whom Lamarque is not the most invaluable of all white Roses, for its flowers cannot easily be obtained large enough to compete successfully in the keen struggles and eager encounters of the wars of the Roses of to-day, but for every other purpose for which Roses are appreciated, its pure and exquisite blooms are universal favourites; and while there might be a white Rose hardier, one with larger flowers, one even more vigorous, there is no white climbing Rose of comparable beauty which combines so many first-rate and essential qualities, or which has so good a claim to admission among the few "everybody's Roses" as Lamarque.
The Garden 32(837): 503-504 (Dec 3, 1887)
Mr. Girdlestone's brilliant rhapsody on this fine old Rose is as welcome as refreshing. So much can hardly be well and truly said of any other Bos 3 almost three score years old. The exquisite engraving, notwithstanding an undue preponderance of mass and of darkness in the vase, but adds to the chasteness of the word-picture so ably and truly drawn. It is hoped that such able portraituie by pen and pencil will give a much needed stimulus to the culture of this Rose, for it may be safely asserted that no Rose of the same age and of equal merit has been or is so little grown. It is, in fact, seldom met with, and still more rarely in anything like good condition.
The most probable cause of this is its one fault referred to by Mr. Girdlestone—its semi-tenderness, and as nothing can be gained by underestimating its constitutional inability to resist severe frosts in winter or the cutting winds of spring, it may be stated at once that Lamarque is considerably more tender than Maréchal Niel or Celine Forestier, and is about on a level with Triomphe de Rennes. The effects of cold on these two Roses are also almost identical. The root stocks of both pass through ordinary winters with little or no apparent injury. But the cold penetrates the shoots, especially the stronger ones, at different points with but little apparent injury at the time. By and by, however, spots appear, and these spread into blotches of different lengths from less than 1 inch to 6 inches or more. At first they seem mere discolourations of bark, but as the season moves on they deepen into apparent bruises, or a species of gangrene, penetrate yet deeper and deeper, reach the pith, sometimes go right through the shoots, and generally destroy them.
Hence the importance of early and efficient protection for Lamarque on open walls throughout East Anglia and all equally or more ungenial localities. No protection has proved so efficient as a thin thatch of dry Bracken fronds. These, to put the matter practically rather than scientifically, keep out the cold and keeps in the heat more efficiently than other more dense and ponderous coverings. The extreme porosity of the Bracken also proves a sure antidote to any excess of moisture or to its presence in a stagnant condition, which is equally or more fatal to tender Roses than any ordinary amount of cold.
One fact must be mentioned in favour of Lamarque in connection with its liability to injury from cold. Few Roses will bear treating as annuals better than this old favourite, for while the old shoots will break into blossom, and produce almost any number of sprays of fine buds and bloom, breaks from the root-stocks of the current year will also rush up during the all too brief period of our summers, and crown themselves with fine bunches of blossom in the autumn. This peculiar merit of blooming in so brief a period on the current year's shoots is generally turned to compound account in the culture of this fine Rose on walls. Breaks from the root-stock or main stem are encouraged annually for the double purpose of furnishing the plant with fresh shoots and yielding some of the finest bunches of bloom in the autumn. These successional shoots also permit, and, indeed, necessitate, a vigorous thinning out of the older and semi-exhausted branches, and thus the youth of the plants is renewed annually, and they are clothed with blossom from base to summit.
It would be interesting to hear the experience of different growers as to the conduct of this fine Rose under glass. My own on this point is somewhat disappointing, for, while this Rose thrives well, grows to any length, and blooms once at least profusely under glass, neither the quality of the flowers, their number, nor the length of the flowering period have equalled those grown under favourable conditions in the open air. Possibly the same may be truly said of Maréchal Niel, while as for Triomphe de Rennes, I have never seen it very successfully cultivated under glass. Is this experience general? and, if so, what are the probable causes of it? and, further, how are these most likely to be overcome? One more question in regard, not to Lamarque, but our best golden Rose, that has obviously a great deal of similar blood in its veins—Maréchal Niel: How is it that while under glass, as a rule, it blooms but once, in favourable sites in the open air it becomes perpetual, and blossoms twice and occasionally thrice?—D. T. F.
— I was very pleased to see this fine old Rose so well figured in The Garden, November 19 (page 459), and it was equally gratifying to read "T. W. G.'s" praise of it. In the west of England this Rose still finds many admirers, especially amongst amateurs. I have met with it on many occasions in company with the Cloth of Gold, and always doing well. The last-mentioned, I am told, is being planted again pretty generally as a creeper in places where Marechal Niel has failed. I have known it stand 20° of frost quite uninjured as a standard without any protection. Climate may have a good deal to do with it, but I fancy that "T. W. G." rather underrates its merits as an exhibition Rose, especially with regard to its size, as I have seen many very large and splendid blooms in a garden in this neighbourhood. If these flowers possessed one fault it was their flatness, and unless caught just at the right time showed an objectionable eye.—J. C. C.