American Garden 9(4) 147-148 (Apr 1888)
NOTES FROM ST. FÉRÉOL DE PONSONBY
New Roses—Substitution—Guarantees of Name.
F. Lance.

The list of new roses for 1887-8 is a long one, comprising 39 hybrid remontants, 31 teas, 8 hybrid teas, 1 bengal, 4 polyanthas, 5 bourbons, 1 moss, 3 noisettes and 1 rugosa, making a total of 93 novelties, forming an increase of 15 over the sum total of the preceding year. One of the most noticeable novelties is a tea, the Princesse de Sagan, raised by Dubreuil; this rose evidently has a promising future before it and is destined to create a sensation in the rose world. It has elicited favorable notice wherever exhibited, received silver medals at three different exhibitions in the course of the past summer, and obtained a first-class certificate of merit at the meeting of the Association Horticole Lyonnaise in August last. The most original feature displayed by the Princesse de Sagan is its remarkable depth of color. Nothing heretofore produced in the section of tea roses can compare with it in this respect, for it possesses all the glowing richness, brilliancy and dusky velvet shadings we so much admire in hybrid remontants, such as Louis Van Houtte or Jean Liabaud, while being at the same time quite distinct in form and bearing. It is said to be an abundant bloomer, both in the greenhouse and the open ground, and, should it really prove to be a good forcing rose, cannot fail to become extremely popular and of exceptional value on account of its strikingly gorgeous color.

The November issue of the Journal des Roses gave a beautiful colored plate of another new rose, Mile. Germaine Caillat, a hybrid tea raised by Pernet, a seedling from Baronne de Rothschild and Mme. Falcot, the same parents, by the way, that produced Gloire Lyonnaise. It has inherited good traits from both, having the ample size of the Baronne and the prolific blooming qualities of Mine. Falcot. The color, a lovely flesh pink, grows deeper and is intermingled with yellow tints in the centre. Duchesse d'Auerstaedt, a seedling from the noisette Reve d'Or, is another very promising flower and is remarkable for size, fulness and a rich golden yellow color, with nankeen shaded centre. The catalogue of Nabonnand Fils, of Golpe Juan, contains descriptions of 11 novelties raised at their establishment, one of the most prominent being L'Ideal, the result of a cross between parents in the tea and noisette classes. If the account given by the growers be trustworthy, this rose is one of the most striking hitherto produced, and displays points in color so very original that they almost defy description. The flower is large, semi-double and extremely elegant in form, while the coloring is a compound of yellow and crimson, with glowing metallic shades blended with dazzling golden tints, displaying an extraordinary combination of colors never before shown by any rose. In addition to all this it is claimed to be excessively vigorous, very fragrant, exceptionally floriferous and, without contradiction, the ne plus ultra of roses. Should any amateur imitate Oliver Twist and ask "for more," he deserves to fall into the hands of Don Pedro da Costa. Fortunately, unlike the introducer of that barefaced fraud, Lusiadas, Nabonnand enjoys a high reputation and has originated several successful flowers, such as the popular Papa Gontier, Isabella Nabonnand, etc., so we may reasonably infer that a substratum of truth underlies the superstructure of enthusiastic praise given to L'Ideal.

Margottin, of Bourg La Reine, offers only one new rose the present season, a hybrid remontant named Gloire de Margottin, which is flamboyant in color, said to be the most intensely brilliant crimson rose ever produced.

Two new English hybrid remontants seem full of promise, one of which, Sir Rowland Hill, was much admired at the Edinburgh and Manchester exhibitions. It is ruby red, shaded with very dark maroon on opening, thence changing to a very agreeable shade of purple. The other, the Duchess of Leeds, is a seedling from La France, which it resembles in a general way, but is slightly deeper in color. The two new Irish roses, Earl Dufferin and Lady Helen Stewart, both hybrid remontants, raised by Alexander Dickson & Sons, have won laurels at several prominent exhibitions, and are without doubt very fine flowers.

Velhausen has just come in with the report of the S. A. F. meeting at Chicago. Taking up the pamphlet I very naturally turned to the discussion on substitution, and was somewhat surprised to observe the comparatively limited number of members that took part in it. The nervousness to which Mr. Hill facetiously alluded evidently must have been contagious, otherwise the contingent of courageous hunters to "face the bear" would have been more numerous. On the whole the matter was ably discussed and the outlook for reform is hopeful. It certainly is gratifying to note that the leading men in the society are unanimous in condemning the practice and seem determined to devise means to crush it. The attitude they assume on the question cannot fail to exert a beneficent influence, for it will assist in forming a healthy public opinion among the members of the craft and will tend to render the abuse disgraceful and unpopular. Messrs. Hill, Craig, May and Hunt spoke extremely well on the subject. They waived all meretricious special pleading and frankly acknowledged that it was both useless and impolitic to blindly ignore the existence of an evil that was working such mischief to the profession, and which if unchecked would continue to be a grave detriment to the interests of the trade. There were no false notes in the manly, straightforward utterances of these gentlemen, and they made no attempt to minimize the responsibility of florists by attributing all errors to unintentional mistakes and to the ignorance of unsophisticated customers.

Of course it must be conceded that errors, without intent to deceive, occasionally occur, but instances which had come under the personal observation of several of these gentlemen were cited to prove that deliberate fraud was not uncommon. Mr. Craig related several telling cases, in which serious losses to leading florists had been occasioned by the purchase and propagation of spurious plants, which had been palmed off on them as valuable novelties. But granting, for instance, that one-half of the errors are due to oversight, that would not at all lessen the necessity for reform, for the slipshod, careless florist needs to be converted from the error of his negligent ways quite as well as the dishonest one who deliberately deceives. The loss, injury and disappointment to a customer are precisely the same, and as keenly felt, whether substitution be the result of negligence or fraud, and how thoughtful florists can object to a thorough ventilation of this vital question, or seek to depreciate the importance of efforts to bring about a better state of things, passes comprehension. There must be a screw loose somewhere, either in their craniums or in their packing rooms. Let us suppose a case that would turn the tables. How would a florist like it were he, for instance, to order a greenhouse boiler (hot water) and to his great consternation receive instead a threshing mill (steam), particularly should the price of the mill be much less than the sum he had remitted for the boiler? It would be sheer presumption to attempt to portray the state of his feelings; they would have to be left to the imagination. The fact of sending a threshing mill to a florist would in itself constitute a dreadful outrage, but sending a steam mill to one who had ever been a consistent and zealous hot water advocate would be the culmination of iniquity, the grand climax of insult and injury. Ere the deplorable affair could have been righted and a new boiler installed, the season's rush of business might perhaps have passed away, thus entailing largely diminished sales and consequent loss. In vain would the boiler maker write in an airy, nonchalant, or even jocular way, that Richard, Thomas or Henry, he couldn't for the life of him tell which, had committed the blunder, and that the florist might thank his stars that the frisky fellow hadn't sent him a double back-action sausage machine. It's quite safe to say that the indignant florist would utterly fail to appreciate the playfulness of the dealer's jovial assistant, and would, no doubt, at once take proceedings sufficiently serious to place the genial dealer in greenhouse boilers in the very hottest kind of water.

E. G. Hill & Co., of Richmond, Ind., and several other leading florists announce the present season that they "warrant their roses true to name." This is a gratifying innovation, and to amateurs is one of the most encouraging signs of the times. Such a guarantee may be reasonably accepted as a presumption in favor of the good faith and trustworthiness of those who offer it; hence that it would be both prudent and advisable to patronize men who have the courage of their convictions is a foregone conclusion. A significant phase of my experience confirms my faith, for it so happens that the dealers who now make the announcement prove to be the identical men whom I have heretofore found to be accurate and reliable in labeling their plants.

No doubt a restricted number of florists will find it somewhat embarrassing to place themselves in a position that will enable them to confidently assure the public that their roses are true to name. Maintaining satisfactory precision in nomenclature cannot fail to prove extremely irksome to men who have been accustomed for years to violate the fundamental principles of rose genealogy. The new regime will involve the adoption of a systematic method whereby their roses may be kept correctly labeled, and will quite naturally entail no little care and circumspection in handling them. It was ever so much more convenient and expeditious under the old system to take roses at random from a heterogeneous stock and with obliging complacency label them with the names which the orders of their confiding customers called for. What wonder, then, that a single variety often appeared with unblushing effrontery under a score of different titles, but blooming time was sure to reveal the mendacity of the "Original Old Jacobs."

I would not, however, for the world have it inferred that all florists who may have refrained from offering such guarantee should be considered untrustworthy. Oh no, such an insinuation would be rash, unjust, and exceedingly uncharitable. On the contrary, I confidently believe that there are many worthy men who deal in roses in an honorable way, but whose excessive application to the daily routine of their calling has so absorbed their time and attention that they have neglected to carefully scan the constant development of significant events in the floricultural world, and have failed to perceive the gradual advent of imperative innovations, amongst which may be noted the vital necessity of openly proclaiming a fearless and undying faith in the correct nomenclature of their roses, the omission of which in any well conducted catalogue is at the present day justly regarded as a radical defect, a defect, however, that can be easily rectified another year by those who may desire to keep pace with the onward march of floriculture in this enlightened age, or by those who may have inadvertently overlooked the possible injurious effect of such an omission on their future business prospects.