Table Talk, Volume 6(4): 131-132 (April 1891)
Louisiana Roses
The roses of R. N. Little
Mrs A. L. Saulsbury

ROSES in the delta levels which border the Mexican Gulf slight no season, but bloom throughout the year with marvelous opulence of beauty and fragrance. They trail their gold and crimson glories over balconies and fences; clothe lawns and terraces with opalescent splendor, and tremble in floral snows, wind-tossed from every point of view. Ever audacious in blossoming, they have borne witching evidence of the vagaries of a southern climate, when, suddenly assailed by frigid blasts, some of their loveliest specimens have been seen to glow in rich hues or delicate tints through veils of sparkling ice.

Throughout the past winter, the roses have grown with little interruption, exciting surprise and delight when beheld by those unaccustomed to southern scenery. Now rivaling the delicious perfume of the sweet olive, they are wafting incense through penitential hours of Lent, and they will be soon crowding upon Easter-tide in the zenith of their luxuriance.

Yet, in the beautiful southland, there is a constant demand for more roses. Rose culture seems to be a passion which grows by indulgence. During the past few days, the possession of five thousand choice roses was cited as a principal attraction to persons contemplating the purchase of a handsome residence property offered for sale in the Crescent city. Large sums are annually expended for roses, and the money is sent to Northern rose-growers, for few Southern florists have troubled themselves to produce local varieties, and amateurs are content to test novelties, nor care to create them.

To some extent Louisiana is about to retrieve this charge of indifference to her unrivaled opportunities for the hybridization and culture of roses. For some six years or more, an able and enthusiastic disciple of this beautiful art has been quietly devoting his best efforts to the production of new varieties of roses, of which New Orleans, Louisiana and the South might be proud. How well he has succeeded the following description may show:

Souvenir of Beauvoir House (tea). Color violet rose, passing to purple, carmine striped, buds finely formed, flowers large size, well formed and very fragrant, a strong grower; a free and constant bloomer.

Miss Winnie Davis (tea). This is a very beautiful rose, bearing a profusion of large pearly white blossoms broadly margined with deep pink, the buds are very large and finely formed; perfume exquisitely delicate.

Miss Mildred Lee (tea). This rose is said to rival the Duchess de Brabant, having kindred characteristics.

Miss Flo Field (tea). Flowers, large and fragrant, blooming very freely, color pearly white, tinged with pink, buds finely formed.

These roses have, indeed, added the lustre of a high degree of loveliness to the popular names by which they will become familiar throughout America.

The privilege of acquaintance with the originator of these valuable varieties was claimed, to glean from him some interesting details concerning them. They will be best transmitted to the readers of TABLE TALK, in his own words: "These roses are beauties that require no paint to recommend them. Our climate is peculiarly adapted to the business of growing roses from seed, and the wonder is that some one of our many able florists has not done something in this line before.

"I began six years ago and have now on hand a large number of seedlings from one to six years old, and while most of them will bloom at a very tender age, it requires at least five years to fully test them, and all those that I have sent out, so far, have been so tested. Most varieties of roses seed freely here and, owing to our long seasons of growing weather, furnish an abundance of well-matured seeds. Of course, in order to obtain the best results, artificial hybridization must be resorted to; and after the best has been done disappointment often follows, for old Dame Nature is prone to go back to first principles, and give one, for all his pains, a rose such as might have gladdened the hearts of the antediluvians. Yet, with all its disappointments, patient labor guided by intelligence is sure of success in the end, as in other affairs of life; and the day is coming when the Southern States of North America will produce all the new roses required at home, and be able to compete in our own market with those of foreign origin, which are too often manufactured especially for the American trade, without any reference whatever to merit.

"As trifling a matter as this new rose question may seem, thousands of dollars are sent to Europe every year by American growers, to secure the latest novelties; and they seldom pay a less sum than twenty-five francs ($5.00) each, more than one-half of which importations are relegated to the brush heap, after one year's trial.

"Having had long experience, I know whereof I speak. Is there a danger of over-production? No, the rage is still for novelty, and it will continue so as long as the rose remains the queen of flowers. Long live the Queen! but let her be of American origin, with a square American name. I have an abiding faith in America, her institutions and horticultural possibilities, and in no section of our common country are these possibilities brighter than in our own America."


The American Florist: A Weekly Journal for the Trade 9(280): 213 (Oct 12, 1893)
A climbing Malmaison has originated as a sport with Mr. R. N. Little of New Orleans, who is an enthusiastic rose grower. The climbing character seems very persistent, while the bloom is a perfect reproduction of the type. Mr. Little has also produced a fine climbing Noisette, which he has named Prof. T. G. Richardson. A number of seedling teas of Mr Little's are now under trial, and will be sent out at an early date. Among them is Winnie Davis, a seedling from Mme. de Watteville, which has received a great deal of praise. It is thought that this variety will be excellent for forcing.


American Gardening 13: 490-491 (Aug 1892)
Mr. Little showed me a hybrid tea (as yet unnamed), a cross between Souv. d'un Ami and American Beauty. It has a fine, long bud, and the delicate pink color of La France, and will doubtless prove a valuable acquisition. Mr. Little has also a rose-freak—a seedling from Reve d‘Or crossed naturally with the Cherokee. It is a double, light yellow rose, and very hardy, but resembles the Cherokee in bush, and in blooming at stated intervals.


American Gardening 13: 490-491 (Aug 1892)
R. N. Little, who raised the set of roses distributed last year as the Stanley set, will distribute this year several seedlings of merit: Winnie Davis, a seedling from Devoniensis, fertilized with Madame de Watteville, is a very full rose and a profuse bloomer. It is white, tinged on the outer petals with pink. Mr. Little showed me a hybrid tea (as yet unnamed), a cross between Souv. d'un Ami and American Beauty. It has a fine, long bud, and the delicate pink color of La France, and will doubtless prove a valuable acquisition. Mr. Little has also a rose-freak —a seedling from Reve d‘Or crossed naturally with the Cherokee. It is a double, light yellow rose, and very hardy, but resembles the Cherokee in bush, and in blooming at stated intervals. Among other roses originated by Mr. Little I may mention Souvenir de Beauvoir House, a violet-purple tea, very distinct; Mildred Lee, silvery rose, striped with carmine, and Flo Fields, pearly white, tinted with violet. Mr. Little‘s gardens are in the garden district of New Orleans. Some notes on his methods will be given next spring—LAWRENCE H. PUGH.


American Gardening, 14: 370-371 (June 1893)
Raising Seedling Roses in the South.—(See page 490, August, 1892.)
Lawrence H. Pugh
Lately America has taken a hand in raising new roses from seed, and the climate, particularly that of the gulf states and California, seems peculiarly fitted for this new departure in gardening. To attain success, as in most other pursuits, perseverance, attention to details, and inexhaustible patience are necessary. But there is encouragement in the end, and the possibilities are so great as to amply repay the worker; besides, the pleasure, the expectation, the uncertainty contribute to make fascinating the rose grower's task. If he produce a rose vying with the Catherine Mermet, the La France, the Perle des Jardins, he will find remuneration in dollars, as well as in glory. Recently, I visited the grounds of R. N. Little, producer of the seedlings distributed last year by a leading rose nursery as the Stanley set. From this enthusiastic propagator I gleaned the following information, which he had acquired from practical experience: To produce good results, one must use for the female parent a rose that will produce heps. He has used with great success the Madame Lambert, which produces heps of considerable size. A pedigree is necessary, and one must know the parentage. After selecting the rose to be operated upon, carefully wrap the bud in tissue-paper, so that no bee or butterfly can interfere with the certainty of the experiment by depositing pollen other than that from the desired rose. When the rose opens, remove the tissue-paper, scrape the stamens away, and with a camel‘s-hair brush apply the pollen of the rose selected as the male parent. Replace the tissue paper. Make a memorandum of the cross made, date, etc., and attach to the branch a tin label, the number of which should correspond with the memorandum. In the south the heps usually ripen within 90 days. After a few days the tissue paper will fall off. The seed pods or heps when ripe show a deep red or yellow. Mr. Little usually gathers the seeds when they are about ready to drop, and plants them, usually in December. To insure success, especially with the tender teas, it is necessary to plant them under glass. Plant the seed—each hep contains several—in ordinary seed boxes, in light, friable earth. The plants will usually show in about two weeks, though sometimes it takes longer. He has had seed to germinate a year after. The plants should be placed in small pots as soon as large enough to handle. Some rose-growers advise the burying of the heps in pots of moist sand to a depth of one to two feet during the winter months. The seedlings from teas will usually flower in about two months. If the first flowers of the seedlings appear to be single, the amateur rose-grower should not despair, as they frequently, with increase of growth, become more double. The Stanley set were five years old before they were placed on the market.