The Journal of Horticulture, Cottage Gardener, and Country Gentleman, 12: 2-3 (Jan 1, 1867)
Adolphus H. Kent

1. IMPORTATION FROM FRANCE.—I have read with satisfaction the protest, at page 404, against the wholesale importation of new Roses which are annually sent from France to tempt the unwary, and deceive even the most practised rosarians. Long before the publication of the article above alluded to, I have had it in mind to again direct attention to this subject, with the view of ascertaining whether it is possible to find some expedient for mitigating the plague yearly inflicted on the Rose-growing and Rose-loving public. At present there are but few signs of any abatement of the evil, for evil it assuredly is in many respects. It is a severe tax upon our patience; not much less so upon our purse, upon our credulity, upon our time; for it is a waste of time in propagating a large number of kinds “to prove” them to be worthless, and therefore a waste of material on account of a useless application of it. I am aware that these expressions will not be deemed “orthodox” by some of our more enthusiastic Rose friends, but it is necessary to speak out, and that, too, without reserve.

If a really good Rose makes its appearance, it matters not whence it comes, we welcome it, and accept it with due honour and delight; but so often do we have to glean it out amidst a host of worthless or indifferent companions, that the task becomes dispiriting, and we begin to regard with suspicion every new-comer. It is not simply good Roses that we should seek for out of the new announcements, but better ones—that is, such as show some marked improvement or new feature in advance of kinds we already possess, particularly as regards form, colour, and size, combined with healthy habit - and constitution.

I believe that the majority of our nurserymen with whom the cultivation of Roses is one of the most important subjects of their business, regard, not simply with dislike, but with aversion, the thankless task of propagating so many new kinds annually, when experience has shown that only a few, a very few, will remain sufficiently long in favour to be both profitable and useful. Various remarks inserted in their catalogues seem to intimate this feeling rather strongly, still more so the number of names yearly expunged from their lists, previously inserted because they were new. That “Index Expurgatorius” of Roses, issued from Sawbridgeworth, though somewhat too rigorous to please most of us, is a notable advance in the right direction, and a severe but telling evidence on the part of the veteran horticulturist whose name it bears. The impatience of the numerous Rose amateurs to possess and try novelties is, doubtless, the great cause of the demand being supplied, and while the demand continues the supply will be sure to follow. I do not propose, however, to discuss this matter further than stating my belief that if purchasers would only wait a sufficient time, for the truth would be sure to come out, propagators would be relieved from a great burden, and the time, labour, and expense of increasing inferior Roses would be more economically applied, and more profitably too, by a more cautious and restricted selection from the host of new seedlings every year produced in France. I anticipate, therefore, no detriment to the interests of the growers who import them, but, on the contrary, much prevailing dissatisfaction would be removed; greater confidence and increased demand for what is really good would be substituted.

More convincing than any argument will be the statement of a few simple facts relating to the actual number of Roses raised in France during several consecutive years; a comparison of the total number with the actual number of the same period at present in the best, trade, catalogues will show very pointedly the extent to which this annual importation is attempted or actually carried on. By the Roses of any particular year is meant those sent out by our own nurserymen In the spring of that year, and, therefore, first known to us in the course of the season following, although announced by the French growers in the autumn previous. As we know at present but little of the past year's Roses, and almost nothing, except by name, of the batch recently published in these pages, no mention is made of any of them in the lists about to follow, nor are they included in any of the numbers about to be given. I therefore select the five years preceding last year—that is, from 1861 to 1865 inclusive.

The number of new Roses sent out during that period stands as follows:–

  1861 1862 1863 1864 1865
Hybrid Perpetuals 31 53 67 48 69
Bourbon 3 3 4 6 7
Teas 8 5 4 3 2
Other kinds 8 4 5 1 5
Total 40 65 80 58 83
In all 326.          

If this number is not strictly accurate, the defect arises from the circumstance of M. Eugène Verdier publishing his announcements sometimes on a separate sheet. In one instance (1862), I have lost or mislaid this sheet; the total, therefore, is deficient by the number of Roses sent out by M. Eugène Verdier in that year—probably six or eight.

The number of new French Roses annually announced in the catalogues of our principal growers varies, of course, according to the number sent out in France. In the five years 1861-5 the numbers varied from about thirty-five to forty-eight; the actual number introduced during the whole period, therefore, scarcely exceeded two hundred, leaving about one hundred and thirty that have probably never been introduced into this country. In some of the best catalogues not more than one hundred of these two hundred are now inserted, in several less than one hundred, and in one above alluded to I do not think there are fifty. In Mr. Radclyffe's list of the best Roses at page 202, there are but twenty-five that belong to this period.

During the same five years there were about a dozen English seedlings and Roses sent out by our own growers, five of these are in Mr. Radclyffe's list, and some of the others are still regarded with favour.

These facts speak for themselves.

2. WHO RAISED OUR BEST ROSES.—I quite agree with “D., Deal,” that before attempting to estimate the merits of a new and unknown Rose from the character and description given of it by the raiser, it is some help to our estimation to know the name of the raiser (especially in the case of French Roses), that we may judge from his antecedents what amount of confidence may be placed in his announcements. Our own nursery." men, as a rule, do not affix the names of the raisers of French Roses published in their catalogues, unless for some distinctive purpose, as in the case where the same name has been given to two different varieties, which has more than once occurred; thus we have had Souvenir de Comte Cavour (Margottin), and another of the same name by Robert et Moreau, also Maréchal Souchet (Damaizin), and another by Guillot fils, and the name of the raiser is added no longer than while both kinds are retained in the catalogue. In the first instance, Robert et Moreau's Souvenir de Comte Cavour was dismissed the second or third season after its appearance, while Margottin's ranks among the best Roses in cultivation, although Margottin's name is no longer affixed to it. In the second instance, some growers retain Damaizin's Maréchal Souchet and reject the other, while some prefer that of Guillot fils. It is true that not much confusion is likely to arise in this case, as neither of them will now become popular, not even occupying a second rank.

The names of the raisers of our best Roses are scarcely known among cultivators in connection with particular flowers, and not always remembered by the most distinguished rosarians. It will, therefore, not be uninteresting to recapitulate some of the best Roses that appeared during the five years I have selected, in connection with the names of the raisers. It will serve to remind the reader to whom we are indebted for them, and to judge from these data what amount of credence may be placed in the announcements recently published, and ably commented on by “D., Deal,” but which it must take at least two seasons to prove.

I take for my basis the list given by Mr. Radclyffe, or, more correctly, those of that list that were introduced during the period; there are twenty-five, exclusive of English Roses. To these I add others, not of equal merit, but so good and generally approved that they will continue in favour till surpassed by others of a similar character. I may be pardoned for alluding here to a former article, my statements in it having been misunderstood by the correspondents who followed on the same subject. In giving a list of the best Roses of 1865 it seems to have been inferred that I had put them down as being the best Roses, whereas it was only intended to point out which were the best of that particular year.

There is a difference of opinion regarding four in Mr. Radclyffe's list—viz., Duc de Cazes, General Washington, Soeur des Anges, and Professeur Koch. The first, though unsurpassed in its colour and size, opens badly, and too frequently yields a large proportion of imperfect flowers to only one good one. If it were constant, and as fine as Mr. Radclyffe grew it at Rushton, its place in the first rank would be indisputable. The fault of not expanding is still more applicable to General Washington, which rarely produces a perfect flower. Soeur des Anges is partly objectionable from the same cause, as well as inconstancy in colour, which probably arises from its being a sport. Professeur Koch is worthless here, but as Mr. Radclyffe is confirmed by Mr. W. Paul and Mr. Rivers, the authority for giving it a first place is too strong to controvert.

With the above qualification I submit a list of the best Roses sent from France during the five years 1861-5, with the names of the raisers.


Madame Charles Wood Dr. Andry
Professeur Koch Rushton Radclyffe
George Prince Madame Verschaffelt
Madame Victor Verdier Leopold Premier
Prince Camille de Rohan Alpaïde de Rotalier
Madame Caillat Maréchal Niel
Joseph Fiala  

The foregoing list shows that we are indebted to M. Eugène Verdier for several of our best Roses, notwithstanding the severe censure that has been occasionally passed upon him on account of the great number he sends out annually. That he does this to a fault cannot be denied, and it would be well if he withheld the inferior kinds. I am not quite certain if I am correct in assigning Leopold I. and Alpaïde de Rotalier to him, having mislaid or lost his list for the years in which these Roses were sent out. Maréchal Niel was raised by an amateur named Pradel, but mis en commerce by M. Eugène Verdier.


Duchesse de Caylus Vicomte Vigier
Madame W. Paul François Lacharme

The first two are very properly in Mr. Radclyffe's list. The last is a superb Rose, but of weak growth.


Charles Lefebvre Xavier Olibo
Alfred de Rougemont Madame Charles Verdier
Baron A. de Rothschild  

To Lacharme belongs the honour of raising the best crimson Rose known. The last two, I am inclined to think, require further trial.


Souvenir de Comte Cavor Jean Goujon
Mdlle. Amelie Halphen Rev. H. Dombrain
Charles Margottin Louise Margottin

 Nos. 3 and 4 have been proved here to be well worthy of a place in the Rose garden, though somewhat too rough for exhibition purposes. 5 and 6 are Bourbons not jet surpassed in their clue for colour and form.


General Washington Duc de Wellington
Maurice Bernardin Leopold Hausburg
Baronne Pelletan de Kinkelin  

 2, 4, and 5 are the best.


Eugène Verdier Abbé Berleze

 No. 1 is distinct and good.


Madam. Moreau Achille Gonod Celine Gonod

 No. 3 is very pretty Bourbon of satiny rose colour, with slightly incurved petals.


Soeur des Anges Belle Normande


Maréchal Vaillant

One of the beat and certainly one of the most Perpetual Roses known. I have had blooms of it in all weathers, from the end of May to the middle of December, in the past season.


Duc de Cazes François Louvat
Semiramis Julie Daran

The last two must give place to many better in the scarlet crimson class.


Alphonse Damaizin

Of perfect form and colour, but hardly strong enough in constitution.


Pierre Notting Charles Wood Jean Rosenkrants


Clemance Joigneaux  Mons. Boncenne Madame de Canrobert

The third was one of the best, if not the best Rose shown at the National Show at Kensington last summer; It was in Mr. Cant's box. Like too many other fine Roses, as Furtado, Vidot, and Mdlle. Bonnaire, it is reported to be not sufficiently vigorous to be a first-class kind.


Duc de Rohan Elise Vilmorin Madame Derreux Dourvillé

All of these are surpassed by others of similar colour. No. 1 is in Mr. Radclyffe's list. No. 3 is very good..


Madame Boutin Marguerite de St. Amand

Both first-rate. No. 2 is probably the best light Hybrid Perpetual in cultivation.

By stretching my leniency to its utmost, I can find bud fifty-seven out of three hundred and thirty sent out during the five years 1861-5 that I consider at present to be worth cultivation. To the rosarian it will be evident that many of these must be dismissed before long.—ADOLPHUS H. KENT.

(To be continued.)

(Continued from page 3.)

3. FRENCH ROSES WITH ENGLISH NAMES.—When a French grower obtains a good Rose from his seed-plots, which, according to his own estimate of it, he describes as “Variété extra, superbe, très belle, remarquable, hors ligne,” &c., it is, of course, offered for sale as soon as a stock of it has been propagated; but it is too often the case that others inferior to it in all points, and therefore not desirable, are sent out with it, coupled with the flattering but deceptive descriptions for which the French language affords, great facilities. This is an especial failing of an eminent Paris nurseryman, which cannot be otherwise than detrimental to his reputation; for although we are indebted to him for some of the best Roses in cultivation, his best productions have been, for some years past, invariably accompanied with others that have proved worthless and disappointing. There is an old French proverb which runs thus—"On voit d'un autre oeil que me voit son prochain." If we loosely interpret this to mean "Each one takes his own view of the matter," and accept it as a truism, we must make allowance accordingly; but there remain some obstinate facts, such as were shown in the previous communication.

Many of these inferior kinds have English names attached to them; they are, therefore, sure to attract attention in this country. There can be no wish to depreciate the politesse of our French friends; we readily acknowledge the distinction they pride themselves on, of being the most polite people in the world; but can we receive with a good grace compliments that have a tinge of the ridiculous, and, as intimated by one of our oldest rosarians, accompanied with an “arrière pensée,” connected with the sale of the varieties to which we find honoured and respected names affixed, but which on trial we cast aside with a feeling of vexation, or something stronger?

A perusal of the French lists for the five years, 1861-5, will afford sufficient evidence of this. From them I glean the following, with the names of the raisers:—

James Dickson Eugène Verdier
Richard Smith "
Mrs. Charles Wood "
James Mitchell (Moss) "
John Cranston (Moss) "
George Paul "
John Nasmith "
Souvenir de William Wood "
Rushton Radclyffe "
John Keynes "
William Bull "

I am not certain that M. Eugène Verdier is the raiser of the last two; he had, however, a share in the "èdition."

Mrs. William Paul Charles Verdier
John Fraser (Moss) Granger
John Standish Trouillard
Reynolds Hole  
Mrs. Standish  

The last two I believe were sent out by Mr. Standish.

Peter Lawson Thomas
John Veitch Levèque et fils.
Rev. H. Dombrain Margottin
John Waterer Portemer
Arthur Young (Moss) "
Henry Martin (Moss) "
Viscountess Douglas Gonod
Deuil de Prince Albert "
Lady Emily Peel Lacharme
Charles Wood Portemer fils.

I have taken the liberty of substituting the dear old Saxon it. "Mrs." for Madame, believing that the worthy ladies represented in the above list, being Britons, are not ashamed of their native land.

Of the thirty-one above named three only are in Mr. Radclyffe's list of the best Roses--viz., Mrs. Charles Wood, Mrs. W. Paul, and Rushton Radclyffe. The last although worthy of the place assigned to it as a first-class flower, is, to my great regret, a failure here from defect of constitution, and, like Gloire de Santenay, Furtado, and François Lacharme, must be given up in soils not naturally suitable for Roses.

It would be an injustice to omit any honourable exception to the majority of the French Rose-growers as regards the number and quality of their productions: M. Charles Verdier has sent out but few Roses from his establishment, but these have in nearly every case proved to be of great merit. Besides Mrs. W. Paul, above mentioned, we are indebted to him for Duchesse de Caylus, Vicomte Vigier, and François Lacharme, as noticed in the previous paper; his announcement of Paul Verdier for the next season may, therefore, be anticipated with some degree of confidence.

Of the remaining twenty-eight varieties there are three others that may be considered deserving a place in the rosery, their habit and colour being good; but their form is not up to the standard now raised so high by such flowers as Lord Macaulay, Chabrillant, Senateur Waisse, Madame Victor Verdier, Duchesse de Caylus, and others. These are John Keynes, Charles Wood, and Wiscountess Douglas; the last is surpassed by others of its colour.

The others can be disposed of in a few words. Peter Lawson is fine of colour, but too often shows a yellow "eye." Mrs. Standish is a pretty light rose, but uncertain, and only opens well in favourable seasons. Reynolds Hole is a pardonable mistake; let us hope that our amiable and respected rosarian may soon have a representative worthy of him in the Queen of Flowers, to whose interests he is so loyal and true.

Bourbon Roses are not in very high favour as a class, always excepting Malmaison, Acidalie, Baron Gonella, and to which may be added, with a slight qualification, Louise Margottin, or Madame de Stella, Celine Gonod, Sir Joseph Paxton, and Rev. H. Dombrain, the last two being the best of their colour in the class with English names, or any name.

Moss Roses are too rarely seen either in the garden or on the exhibition table; yet, what more beautiful than the old Crimson and its variety called Lanei? In the above list are five Moss Roses. Is there any one between Land's End and John o'Groat's honse who knows anything about them: It would be a waste of space to offer any comment on the others given in the list, although they represent names most distinguished in English horticulture.

4. NOMENCLATURE—ABUSE OF TERMS.—It is quite reasonable that the raiser of any new variety of flower should assign to it such a distinctive name as his fancy or interest inclines. Generally the appellatives given to English flowers are well-selected and short; for, undoubtedly, short names are the best and easiest to be remembered. When we turn to the nomenclature of French Roses we often find the opposite of brevity, in some instances no less than six words being used to designate a single variety. We cannot complain of the grand array of princes, dukes, duchesses, marshals, generals, and other high and mighty personages when they represent known and distinguished individuals; but we do stumble over such appellations as Souvenir de la Reine d'Angleterre, Triomphe de la Terre des Roses, Souvenir de Bernardin de St. Pierre, La Baronne Pelletan de Kinkelin, and which when uttered by those unacquainted with the French language have a very odd and even ludicrous effect; still more so the contractions very often and naturally applied to those lengthy designations for which our French neighbours appear to have an especial aptitude. I know of an instance which afforded me much amusement when it occurred. An honest, hard-working, but somewhat illiterate gardener in this neighbourhood, whose ideas of orthography are rather misty when any departure from the strictly phonetic principle is observed, labels his Roses for his own and others' recognition. When the name is copied from a catalogue all goes on rightly enough; but a catalogue not being always at hand, our friend is left to the resources of his own memory. Some very curious derangements are the consequence. The instance that amused me was the well-known Général Jacqueminot, which was marked General Jack-me-not, the syllables being distinctly separated. It is very usual to recognise that Rose about here as "General Jack," Charles Lefebvre as "Charley," and Jules Margottin as " Old Jewels." Mr. Radclyffe knows similar cases, I believe. What Xavier Olibo will become it is not easy to guess, unless, as "D., Deal," conjectures, "Holybones."

These cases are simply absurd, but not altogether unnatural, nor inexcusable. Much more deserving of notice, in my opinion, is the abuse of a term that has now been many years applied—I mean the term Perpetual, as used to designate what is now the most important section of Roses as distinguished from Bourbons, Noisettes, and other Hybrids. It has been more than once correctly remarked that this term is an abused one; then why perpetrate it? The word perpetual not only does not express what the Rose is, but also it is not the equivalent for the word the French use—viz., rémontant. Now, the word rémontant does express, as nearly as it is possible to find any word, the idea intended to be conveyed; but as we have no equivalent English expression for it, it is worse than ridiculous to make a floundering attempt at translating a word which admits of no translation. The usual procedure in such cases is to adopt it; there can be, therefore, no more impropriety in designating this particular section of Roses Rémontant Hybrids than in calling a fiddle a violin. The French themselves make no attempt to translate such words as "jockey," "shunt," "wagon" (with one g), "milord," &c., although these words contain letters and sounds the very opposite of their adopted orthography and pronunciation. In the same way we accept such phrases as sang-froid, aide-de-camp, beau-monde, &c., in their original signification, without essaying to render them into English.

Upon the ground of common usage, then, I venture to suggest that the term Rémontant Hybrids should be substituted for the incorrect "Hybrid Perpetuals."—ADOLPHUS H. KENT.