Gardeners' Chronicle p. 603-604 (Sept 10, 1842)
HAVING observed in some late Papers of the Chronicle some allusions to the different opinions upon budding, I venture to forward to you those which practice has induced me to form upon that subject.
The bud will sometimes take although the heart appears to be gone; it will sometimes adhere and start quickly, although more wood be left in the shield than will allow the sides to lie flat down; but the evident desideratum is that no more of the wood adjacent to the eye be left than shall secure its close attachment to the shoot upon which it may be placed, nor any less than may suffice to retain the growing principle, the limit of which must be defined by a combination of theory and practice, and at present, I believe, remains a problem to be solved.
Many buds have I inserted in early days in which the eyes have not been sufficiently swollen, and no produce has come forth; and many a bud have I inserted in the hope that the cambium would fill the vacant hole, which fear told me was too large, yet which a scanty supply of buds induced me to retain, but all in vain; for though the bark adhered, the eye was lost, and many a woody bud inserted thus has become dry before it could adhere. I believe the great secret to be—taking the bud in its proper state, i.e., full-formed (not too near the base of the stock, from which it will part with difficulty, nor too near the top, because insufficiently ripe), and to insert it when the receiving plant and the weather are in a favourable state to continue the elaboration of those juices necessary to form a junction. The period of year is, comparatively speaking, immaterial; l have inserted buds at all times, and have now in my possession a plant that was worked on 2lst October, ten years ago.
Shoots that grow singularly, and are nearly the same size all the way up, afford better buds than such as are produced on long rapid-growing branches; the buds of the latter are seldom well defined, and if inserted at all hollow in the centre are sure to go blind.
The difference of trouble in separating buds from varieties of Roses is in no case, perhaps, so remarkable as in the Maria Leonida and Bracteata odorata alba; though so much alike as scarcely to be distinguishable except from their difference in vigour, the former seems to require the gouge to take out the bud successfully, whilst in the latter there is no difficulty. I may here observe, that this instrument is very effective in saving buds of rare sorts that do not part readily and draw the eyes; whilst it gives little trouble and almost invariable success.
The leading error in budding Roses appears to be in attempting to make the Wild Briar subservient to purposes for which it is not adapted, viz., to make it carry such sorts as, flowering but once and almost stagnating at other periods, cannot by any mode of pruning be made to keep the plant both healthy and productive.
In other shrubs, such as the Cytisus budded upon the Laburnum, where from some cause, I believe unknown, many of the varieties will not live above a few years, the graft commonly dies, while the stock recovers and breaks at the summit; whereas in the Rose stock, the stagnation of sap in the stem leaves the plant to renew itself, either by breaking low down or by suckers.
A fruitful cause of mischief in worked Roses is the habit of cutting in the wild shoots, in order to force the buds inserted in them to break the same season; by which eventually little is gained, except in peculiar seasons and under favourable circumstances; whilst the newly-inserted bud, instead of being enveloped in fresh wood hardier in its character than its own, remains more defenceless in the winter than if it were interwoven, as it were, with the layers produced from the whole of the wild shoot with its ripened leaves.
There can, I suppose, be little doubt that the Lamarque Rose, on account of its size, the beauty of its colour, its fragrance, the rapidity of its growth, its long continuance in bloom, and the general beauty of the plant, exceeds all others; yet this Rose has been much undervalued because delicate in winter.
The situation of my garden is much exposed in every way, yet five hundred plants were moved this year, many of them the Lamarque, and the losses were few, considering the lateness of the removal; and I attribute this in a great measure to my endeavours to protect the delicate buds, by enclosing them within the wood proceeding from the unshortened shoots of the stock. In delicate sorts, this advantage is, I believe, of permanent duration. The plants of Jaune Desprez and Lamarque, though several years old, though dying back almost home (in many instances quite), from the united effects of late removal, unfavourable winter, introduction to a much worse soil, and exposure at the rise of the sap (the latter, perhaps, more injurious to the plant in question than any other), recovered, with hardly an exception, and flowered very abundantly.
The common material for securing the buds (the bark of the Lime-tree) is not elastic, and either compresses during rain, or gets loose in dry weather; whilst worsted yields considerably in the first of these instances, and sustains a moderate pressure the second. There is one advantage to be derived if the plants are worked in the spring, when the swelling of the bark is not so rapid as in autumn: the ligature may be left (till it be finally taken off) unloosened without destroying the inserted bud; or if the operator be nice in his work, the nature, if white worsted, instead of being loosened, may be replaced by a green one; and thus such plants as have been attended to, and such as require revision, will at once be seen. I have this year scarcely loosened a ligature, though I have removed several altogether; and I am not aware that I have lost a single eye from this cause.
I observe in one of your Papers a query, as to the propriety of allowing a leaf, as well as a leafstalk, to remain with the inserted bud. I have found this beneficial, if the weather be moist, and the sap flow freely; in which case the leaf has been preserved alive, and an action set up so close to the inserted bud, as frequently to make it start during the current season, and grow vigorously. If the weather become dry, the leaf dies; but I have never been able to ascertain that any greater injury has resulted from it than if the leaf had not been left on.
The differences between the varieties of the wild Stock court observation from your correspondent. Some can only with difficulty be compelled to retain the new head, from an inclination to change their leader perpetually; some have vigour, others require to be surrounded by the freest growers; but I have ever found, that to obtain the three great advantages of free flower, fine flower, and health in the tree (in which latter, I include both shape and promise for the coming year), the utmost attention is requisite in pruning.—A Practitioner. [We trust this excellent correspondent will oblige us with his experience in pruning Roses.]