The Rose Amateur's Guide (1846) pp. 79-83
THE AUSTRIAN BRIAR
The Austrian Briar, a native of the South of Europe, is found on the hills of the North of Italy, producing copper or red, as well as yellow. flowers; but, strange to say, though the flowers are invariably single, yet they never produce seed. In this country also it is with extreme difficulty and only by fertilising its flowers, that seed can be perfected: if the flowers are examined they will all be found deficient in pollen, which accounts for this universal barrenness. A Double Copper Austrian Briar is yet a desideratum.
The Copper or Red Austrian, the Capucine of the French, is a most singular rose; the inside of each petal is of a bright copper red, the outside inclining to sulphur: this rose is most impatient of a smoky atmosphere, and will not put forth a single bloom within ten or twelve miles of London. The Double Yellow, or Williams's Double Yellow Sweet Briar, is a pretty double rose, raised from the Single Yellow Austrian by Mr. Williams, of Pitmaston, a few years since: this blooms more freely than the original species, and is a most desirable variety. Rosa Harrisonii is also a double yellow rose, said to have been raised from seed in America, and sent from thence to this country about four years since: this has proved one of the most beautiful of yellow roses; its flowers before expansion are globular, but a hot sun makes them expand and lose much of their beauty. It is a more robust grower than the Double Yellow Sweet Briar; its flowers are also a little larger, and do not fade so soon. The Single Yellow is the most brilliant yellow rose we yet possess; and it will probably be the parent of some double varieties, its equal in colour.
To this peculiar family of roses a few new varieties have been added. Cuivre Rouge, a curious hybrid, partaking of the Boursault Rose, with smooth thornless branches and dull reddish single flowers, and the Superb Double Yellow Briar, a seedling raised by Mr. Williams, of Pitmaston, from the same rose, and, I believe, at the same time, as the Double Yellow Briar. This has larger and more double flowers, but they are not so bright in colour. A third variety is also in my possession, the Globe Yellow, a very pretty pale yellow rose, of humble growth: this variety was raised in Italy.
|* Introduced by Sir H.
† By shortening the strong shoots in summer so as to make them put forth laterals, there will not be any occasion for winter pruning; thus, by judiciously pinching off with the finger and thumb in June all shoots that are larger than a straw, to about half their length, small lateral twigs will break out, and the plant will be filled with blooming shoots, some of which must be removed in winter, if full-sized flowers are required.
A new yellow rose has been given to us from that land of flowers, Persia.* This was introduced to the gardens of the Horticultural Society of London in 1838, and is now called the Persian Yellow Rose. In habit it is so exactly like the Single Yellow Austrian Briar as not to be distinguished from it: it grows readily budded on the Dog Rose, as my plants this season have made shoots three feet or more in length: in colour it is of a deep golden yellow; its flowers are quite double, cupped, and not liable to become reflexed: it is indeed a most superb yellow rose. Like the Yellow Austrian Briar, it loves a pure air and rich soil, and will bloom as freely; but in pruning merely the tips of its shoots must be cut off.† Numerous seedlings have been raised from Rosa Harrisonii, but all that have come under my notice have proved inferior to their parent.
To bloom them in perfection Austrian Briars require a moist soil and dry pure air; but little manure is necessary, as they grow freely in any tolerably good and moist soil; neither do they require severe pruning, but merely the strong shoots shortened, and most of the twigs left on the plant, as they, generally, produce flowers in great abundance.
No family of roses offers such an interesting field for experiments in raising new varieties from seed as this. First, we have the Copper Austrian, from which, although it is one of the oldest roses in our gardens, a double flowering variety has never yet been obtained. This rose is always defective in pollen, and consequently it will not bear seed unless its flowers are fertilised: as it will be interesting to retain the traits of the species, it should be planted with and fertilised by the Double Yellow; it will then in warm dry seasons produce seed not abundantly, but the amateur must rest satisfied if he can procure even one hep full of perfect seed. A French variety of this rose called "Capucine de Semis" seems to bear seed more freely, but as the colour of its flowers is not so bright as the original, its seed, even from fertilised flowers, would not be so valuable.
The beautiful and brilliant Rosa Harrisonii, however, gives the brightest hopes. This should be planted with the Double Yellow Briar: it will then bear seed abundantly: no rose will perhaps show the effects of fertilising its flowers more plainly than this, and consequently to the amateur it is the pleasing triumph of art over nature. Every flower on my experimental plants, not fertilised, proved abortive, while, on the contrary, all those that were so, produced large black spherical heps full of perfect seed. The Persian Yellow does not seem inclined to bear seed, but it may be crossed with Rosa Harrisonii, and I trust with some good effect.