The Florist, Fruitist, and Garden Miscellany 12: 68-70 (1859)

W. F. Radclyffe. February 5.

Since you kindly published my last Rose article, I have received letters about Roses, and especially about yellow Roses. Though I cannot speak authoritatively about them, yet a few words derived from experience, observation, reading, and common sense, may not altogether be unacceptable at a time when the song is everywhere heard—

"She meets you with a smile at morn;
She lulls you to repose;
The flower for peer and peasant born—
The everlasting Rose!


*'Sulphurea superba' was a yellowish China rose, presumably Parks' Yellow China. Radclyffe is here confounding it with the old Sulphurea.

I deeply regret that we have so few yellow Roses, or Roses of yellow tendency, fit for show purposes, or general out-door cultivation. We sadly want a hardy H.P. yellow. I have no hopes of Englishmen; but I still have hopes that French raisers, with their more genial climate and greater enterprise, will use Harrisoni for such a purpose. It is hardy, a true yellow, and opens freely. Whether it could be used to originate a Perpetual, I am not learned enough to know. The Cloth of Gold, Lamarque, and Solfaterre, are not strictly yellow Roses, but of yellow tendency. Others are canary, or pale, or dirty cream. Sulphurea superba*, Isabella Gray, the Persian, and Harrisoni, are, I believe, the best true yellows. Except Harrisoni and the Persian, I fear, these require to be grown under glass, or with great and careful protection. Certain it is, that yellow Roses, as a class, require age, good rich drained soil, room to grow where and how they like, little knife, and winter, spring, and in some cases, summer protection, before they will succeed. Much has been said about Sulphurea not opening; the reason is, people have tried to bloom her before she has come to maturity of wood. When she attains age (and this she will never attain without the greatest protection) she will force her buds open; and no human "nostrum" will cause her to do so, before her constitution is established. On an alien stock, she may, probably, be hastened a little; but even on this, she must have time to form firm main wood. The same may be said of the Cloth of Gold. The difficulty is to get it to age; after that, spring protection is all it wants. I have seen the Cloth of Gold, which was budded in 1847, by the Rev. C. Onslow, of Wimborne—on a standard brier, blooming beautifully in 1848, in the centre of his courtyard, at the west of his house, surrounded by the house and walls on all sides. How came it to do this? Why, it was budded on an established brier. The Cloth of Gold does not like removal, till the wood is two or three years old. I have planted a very good dog brier under my south wall, which I shall bud with the above Rose; and glass-crate it over head, and on the east and west sides, leaving it open to the south. I have two Sulphureas come, and they must be served the same, or I can see that they will never do here. Under this crating they must be fostered into age. With regard to Sulphurea—called when I was a boy, the Yellow Cabbage—I have never seen it in bloom for forty-three years. There was an old tree, very old, in my native place, belonging to a very old woman, named Eleanor Ricketts, at that time accounted to be a "witch," but a great favourite of mine, because she gave me "yellow Roses of great beauty, honey, and brown-shell nuts" Apples. From that time to this, I have never seen Sulphurea, nor have I ever since seen such a yellow Rose. The tree was against the house, which had a south aspect, and was surrounded by high hedges—in a word, the house was in a hot lane. The difficulty of course with these tender Roses is to get them to age. Maturity of age for bearing is different in different Roses, according to their origin, or native clime and position.

I should imagine that an orchard house would be a good place for them, trained against a wire trellis. This is the place for Smithi (he died in six weeks here, covered with a ridge tile, and glassed at his feet), which is fine in bud, but bad when opened.

With regard to Roses of yellow tendency, I would observe that both Lamarque and Solfaterre may be grown compact and full; for I have seen them both so; usually they are of the loose order, and should be cut for show before fully ripe. I saw Lamarque last year, round and compact as Alexandrine Bachmeteff; it was grown by Mr. Burgess, of Lansta Farm, close here.

Let me say a word about Solfaterre as a south wall Rose:—How easy is it to grow—how defiant of aphis—how quickly does she cover your house—how glorious and numerous are her clusters—how beautiful are her red stems, lizard-green calyx, and fine buds and foliage—how sweet is her tea scent—how early does she bloom—how careless of frost—how faithfully does she bloom a second time—how well does she mature and bloom every bud, without the slightest failure! I have spoken of this Rose before—I will speak of her again. She was two or three years old, when I bought her of Mr. Gill, of Blandford, for 1s. 6d. She had on her, when I first saw these, a cluster, with one larger, more sulphured, and more compact rose than I have ever been able to grow on her here. She is now about eight years old—is on a dwarf brier, and planted against the south frontage of my house, with nothing on her western side but a wood trellis porch, to stop the wind between her and Gibraltar. She is as high as the house, and covers twenty-four feet in space, and would have covered as much again, if I had been able to allow her room. She has had on her first bloom this year between two and three hundred clusters, with from three to five buds each. Imagine, then, this space covered from day to day with fresh blooms of great magnitude and good form. I thought of Mr. Rivers, and his note on her in his admirable book. Well, I cannot tell the exact number of her blooms; but this I know, she gave a second series of twenty clusters of sixty Roses, as large and sweet as in her first blooming. Where, then, is the Rose of yellow tendency, that will do all this? And how came she to do it? The answer is, management and high feeding. I fed her once a week all through the season; and when her first bloom was over (about a week before the National), and last bud was unfolded, I cut off, to two eyes, all her side wood, like a Vine in winter. She looked dead—I fed her still—she moves not, except at her terminals—Nature asserts her claim—she rests for a month or more—a heavy rain comes, and soaks her through and through—she lives again—her eyes peep and start, form buds, and bloom again! Is not that a Rose, and a good Rose too? In the last week in May, this great sight may be seen, and I hope some one will come and see her. Depend upon it, for general and easy cultivation, Solfaterre is the best wall Rose, of yellow tendency, in England. Remember, then, the keys to yellow Roses; and remember that while age is the key to blooming, protection is the key to age.