The Garden 1: 479 (Apr 20, 1872)
The Rose Secret
W. P. A.

THIS, like most other secrets, especially gardening ones, is easily solved, and I am almost surprised that so shrewd an observer as my good friend and neighbour, Mr. Hole, should have been hood winked and tongue-tied by anything so flimsy. When, some thirty-five years ago, I assisted for a short time in the propagating house of Mr. Rivers, we considered it no great feat to strike the Tea, Bourbon, and Noisette Roses, from single eyes. These, taken off in a fresh kind of half-ripened state, and planted in sand under the usual conditions of a congenial earth heat and moist atmosphere, seldom failed to strike root and make good plants in the course of the season.

At one time, when experimenting upon the power of leaves to produce growing buds I frequently rooted independent rose leaves, but never succeeded in getting beyond that. Mr. Taplin has done a good deal to clear the mist from rose propagation; and to prove that the secret is rather an ancient one, I refer your readers to London’s Gardeners’ Magazine of about forty years ago, where they will find an article on the propagation of Rosa odorata, in which propagation from the growing wood in the spring is strongly advocated. As I quote from memory I am not sure who was the author; but if it was not Mr. Archibald Gorrie, of the Carse of Gowrie, it was Mr. Ellis, of the Palace Gardens, Armagh. Though I cannot go into particulars, the facts are as fresh in my memory as if they had occurred only a few months ago. With suitable appliances, to strike roses in the early season in the growing state, the same in July and August, and later on in the ripened state, is not a difficult matter. But we must recollect the conditions under which the cuttings have been produced; for to take cuttings from heat to cold would be just as absurd as to take them from the open air and expect them to strike in a strong bottom heat. These are the points, more than any other, upon which inexperienced propagators fail, more especially with plants that are in any way disposed to be hard-wooded. Take cuttings of Roses any time in September, before the frost has touched them, and cutting them into lengths, insert them in loam, either in pots or a cold frame; protect them from severe frost through the winter, and by spring you may fairly calculate that a very large proportion of them will be rooted plants. If, however, quantity, and strong plants in a short time be the object, then bud grafting upon the Manetti stock or briar is the royal road to quantity. Buds can be rooted as independent plants in the soil, but not so quickly and surely as they can upon a healthy, well-established stock. I say nothing as to the desirability of the two systems. Plenty there are who grow the Rose admirably upon its own roots, others are equally successful with the Manetti stock, while I think great Rose-growers themselves pin their faith, for show purposes, to the British briar in its second season, a good deep loam, and no "tightness" in the manure market.