The Magazine of Horticulture 23: 261-264 (June 1857)
THE ROSE.—No. 5.
PROF. C. G. PAGE, WASHINGTON, D. C.

It may not be unimportant to mention, that the successful seedling-bed, referred to in our last article, was covered by double-glazed sashes, which proved to be highly favorable to the young seedlings. Double glass will not suit all plants, but wherever it can be adopted, it possesses the advantage of continued light during the whole of every day, whatever may be the weather, as it requires no protection from shutters, night or day. In this place, glass is cheaper than wood. A double-glazed sash costs here about one-third less than a single-glazed sash, with a well-made shutter, having two coats of paint. As the seedlings develop in the bed, partiality for our own should be restrained, and none but conspicuous and choice flowers should be preserved. Striking peculiarities may be kept for experimental purposes or private gratification, but in these times of critical selections and really exalted improvements in floral generations, it is not advisable to add names to the swollen catalogues of roses, unless for varieties of sterling merit. Let it be borne in mind, that probably as many as twelve thousand roses have been cultivated under name, and that from these a connoisseur would not now select more than five hundred for cultivation. Parsons & Co. of Flushing, Long Island, have the largest descriptive catalogue and trade list of roses in the United States, numbering over seven hundred varieties; Hovey & Co.'s catalogue for 1854 numbers over five hundred, and Buist's catalogue about four hundred. The catalogue accompanying Parsons' Treatise on the Rose describes nineteen hundred and sixty-six varieties. The Rose Fancier's Manual, by Mrs. Gore, published twenty years ago, describes over eight hundred varieties, and among them we recognize hardly a dozen now in cultivation. The catalogues of London and Paris nurserymen, in the year 1822, contained upwards of three hundred and fifty names, and Desportes' catalogue, published in France in 1829, described over two thousand varieties. Lastly, Paul's great work, entitled "The Rose Garden," published in England in 1848, describes about two thousand varieties. Probably the trade lists of our prominent nurserymen contain all the desirable excerpta from the great mass of rose editions; and, when we consider that twenty years ago the Hybrid Perpetuals first came to light, and that we cannot go back more than thirty years for any notable developments in Teas, Bengals, Noisettes or Bourbons, we must see the necessity of critical selections from new varieties.

If we have accomplished thus much in the inception of modern rose culture, what will be the progress of the next twenty years? I confess that my imagination will not tolerate any limits, not even an objection to the possibility of a blue rose, nor of any kind of fancied dress for Queen Rhodanthe. It cannot be thought chimerical to look forward for roses combining the qualities of constant-blooming, strong-growing, fine forms, colors and odors, entire hardiness and even thornless branches, where art shall reverse the lover's lament by stealing the thorn and leaving the rose. This latter quality has been fully attained in the hybrid perpetuals, Delphine Gay and Blanche Vibert, and nearly so in William Griffith, one of the most perfect roses grown. I have seen vigorous shoots of it, six feet high, without a thorn. As to hardiness, rapid advances are being made among the Bourbons, Teas and Noisettes. Paxton, a strong-growing, great-blooming and seed-bearing Bourbon, has not been injured in the least in this place during the two past severe winters. It will serve as a climber. Gloire de Dijon, nearly as fragrant as Devoniensis, has also escaped injury without any protection whatever, and is of most rapid growth. As to colors, we have already attained high excellence and developed such marked versatility in the rose, that we reasonably expect to arrive at almost every desirable variety of hue, combination and variegation, judging from the results of hybridization now progressing with other popular flowers of the day.

After this little episode upon the potentialities of our flower let us recur again to the subject of raising seedlings. One enjoyment we shall expect in new American productions will be in names euphonious to us at least. How General Washington would sound to a Russian we cannot say, but it seems as if the French growers have gone far out of the way in inflicting upon us such names as Bachmetoff, Kotschouby, Chipetouzikoff, etc., and such tiresome distinctions as Souvenir de la Reine des Belges. We have our own heroes, statesmen, poets and men and women of distinction, and General Taylor, General Scott, General Pierce, etc. ought to read, write and sound full as well as General Changamier or General Jacqueminot, to any nation. A very sensitive amateur in England, last year, was so terrified at the thought of being obliged to repeat such tetanic names as the above to all of his inquiring visitors, that he resorted to the following ingenious labor-saving expedient. He had large labels printed in a legible manner, which were fixed conspicuously about the bushes. One of them read as follows: "Prince Leon Kotschouby, hybrid perpetual, ask no questions." In addition to our national resources for names, we must not forget that many of our Indian names are quite melodious.

We have, thus far, a very small list of American productions, but nevertheless very choice and important. Recently some excellent novelties have been offered, and it is believed that every year henceforth will contribute something to our stock. It takes from four to five years to prepare, test and "bring out" a new rose, and, doubtless, many are now in progress. Last year we had a charming rose—Tea Cornelia—from Mr. Koch of Baltimore, a seedling from Devoniensis. It is nearly white, very full, strong grower, very fragrant, tolerably hardy, and has something of a Noisette habit. He has, also, sent out some others, which I have not yet seen in bloom. Mr. Pentland of Baltimore has also sent out two new roses—Beauty of Greenmount and Woodland Margaret. The former is a valuable acquisition to the Noisettes, forces remarkably well, and is prettier than the colored portraits which he distributes with the rose. Woodland Margaret I have not yet seen in bloom. The best American seedling of this season which I have seen, is "Thorburn's Combatant," raised by George C. Thorburn of Newark, N. J.—a finely scented Tea, large and full, color blush and pale flesh, and will average about eighty large petals.

[Perhaps our correspondent is not aware that several of the new Hybrid Perpetuals are American seedlings, raised by Mr. Boll, of New York, and sent to France for sale.—Ed.]

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