Gardeners Magazine p. 6 (Jan 4, 1908
The subject of rose colours is seldom, if ever, sufficiently considered; we find pinks of utterly different shades grown closely together in beds and borders, carmine-blooming climbers proudly nailed to red brick walls, and, alas! scarlet pelargoniuins used, summer after summer, beneath crimson standard hybrid perpetuals. Is it true that English men and women have no souse of colour? I trust not. Rather is it that rose lovers become so enthusiastic over the beauty of different varieties that they forget, or ignore, the fact that individual perfections can destroy one another's loveliness when juxtaposed.
To take, for example, two roses that positively "shriek at each other," as the French say—L'Ideal and Reine Marie Henriette; here we have two exquisite flowers, of rarely delightful tints: use either of these roses by itself on a lawn, massing white violas beneath, and the eye of any artist will be grateful. Use either up the walls of a white brick or stone house, or to cheer the leaden surface of a gray building, and every ray of sunshine will linger lovingly on the blossoms that are warm-tinted already. I once saw a garden in which a Reine Marie Henriette rose grew luxuriantly up a square-sided white-painted wooden pillar, encircled for a yards space by a. rockery mound that concealed the rose's base; the rockery was itself encircled by a round pond, or white stone basin of water, where water lilies of pink and white flourished, and beside which rose arrowheads, foxgloves, rosy phloxes, and white spiraeas, herbaceous and shrubby. The rose was grandly shown off by these surroundings.
Then, again, no artistic vision will be satisfied to rest at once upon both yellow and apricot, or buff roses: the two latter may safely be combined with any others of true copper tint, but clear yellow, be it of the lemon or amber shade, light or deep, will always make the apricot hues look lifeless, dull, and "muddy." By the bye, maroon roses, toning to black-purple, such as Sultan of Zanzibar, Xavier Olibo, etc., are most harmonious with apricot ones of the Madame Falcot type. Even white roses need careful placing. I remember the funereal appearance of a gray stone house over which climbed a rampant Aimée Vibert, and in whose front garden a cedar tree cast depressing shade. Not until plenty of golden euonymus hushes, variegated vincas, and clumps of Solidago altissima had been added to the borders, and a crimson Longworth Rambler and an Ards Rover had been trained up the walls did the dwelling lose its cemetery-suggesting gloom. Ards Rover was chosen advisedly, because the house faced east, and this hardiest of hybrid perpetuals was to be relied on, even under this misfortune, to blossom well on through autumn.
The common error in planting pink roses is, of course, the mingling of salmon colours with the pink that used to be called "carnation." La France is a most refined shade, yet contains bluish shadings that make it spoilt utterly in effect if a salmon, cerise, or coral-pink rose is beside it; with deeper pinks, such as Marie Verdier, or Paul Neyron, it does not clash, though personally I consider it dulled by their greater brilliance. Surely a rose of very delicate colour should have that beauty shown off to best advantage? La France, among white roses, is able to win highest appreciation.
Many of the old-fashioned crimson roses have the disadvantageous habit of turning purplish as soon as opened; there are innumerable modern scarlet-carmine varieties that bud, bloom, and even fade without doing this, and those should be chosen in preference. I may just mention John Stuart Mill as a magnificent clear red rose, and Tom Wood as one in whose petals the deepest shadings to the red are brown rather than bluish.
Nature can, however, do wonders in blending tints; of this the popular hybrid tea Madame Abel Chatenay is an example, for the petals are a charming combination of deep salmon and carmine-rose.