The Gardeners’ Chronicle 682-683 (June 1, 1895)
S. Mottet, Paris

MESSRS. VILMORIN, ANDRIEUX & CO., of Paris, have introduced a new race of Roses which are exceedingly interesting owing to their dwarf habit and the rapidity of their growth. They belong to the Polyantha group, that is to say, they bear their flowers in trusses (See figs. 99, 100). The new Roses have the advantage over the others of being “perpetual,” and consequently they flower continuously all through the summer. This advantage they owe to their origin, a natural cross (croisement naturel), observed in the Lyons gardens, between the flowers of the first specimens of Polyantha introduced from Japan, and some hybrid perpetual Roses. By repeated and careful selections, a new race of Roses has been produced, which, like annuals, germinate, flower, and produce seeds in less than a year. As to the word “dwarf,” that is justified by the height, which in adult plants is only about twenty inches. This interesting and new type of Rose has been sent out this year by Messrs. Vilmorin, Andrieux & Co. of Paris. The flowers are single, semi-double or double, in almost equal proportions, and present all the variations of colour observed in cultivated Roses. Flowering commences, as has been already said, in the first year, and even a few months after sowing. This precocity is one of the most remarkable and interesting features of this new type, in which, in fact, the Rose assumes some of the characteristics of an annual. It is very curious to see a small Rose tree, perhaps only about three inches high, with a very slender stem and a few small leaves, put forth, in less than three months numerous flower-buds, which soon open into pretty little semi-double Roses the size of a florin or of a half-crown, and resembling in appearance Lawrence’s Bengal Rose, or even more closely, the Rose Pompon de Mai. The accompanying photographic reproduction, fig. 100, shows the appearance of a young plant raised from seed sown on Jan 15, and which expanded is first flowr three months later. Blooming is continuous throughout the summer, but is naturally more abundant in the second year, when the plant assumes the corymb character peculiar to Rosa polyantha, as shown in the illustration. This is the proper time to select those plants which are most desirable as far as doubleness or colouring is concerned, and those which will produce all the decorative effect possible.

Seeds should be sown as soon as possible after February, in pots or pans, placed on a hot-bed, or in a greenhouse; but in this latter case they should be placed close to the glass, to guard against blanching. Germination begins usually about a fortnight after sowing. If the young plants are left in the pots in which they were raised, they will flower even at the end of two months. MM. de Vilmorin even exhibited at the Société Nationale d’Horticulture de France two small plants, one with white, another with rose-coloured flowers, which, sown on March 1, ere in flower, one on March 28, and the other on March 31. At the same time, and on account of the “drawn” habit of the plants which are not re-planted, it is much better to pinch them in, to induce a branching habit, to keep them in a frame, and, if possible, on a small hotbed, to hasten growth, and to harden them off before planting them out in the open ground in May.

Judging by the habit of other Multiflora Roses, these new Roses will probably not survive uninjured the severe frosts which sometimes occur in the north; The short period of the vegetation will, moreover, not allow the wood to ripen sufficiently. We think, then, that it would be prudent to give protection in winter by using a good covering of litter or of dead leaves. To propagate those varieties which are most desirable, layering cuttings or budding may be resorted to as in the case of other Roses.

Rosa polyantha Bibliograply