The Gardener's Magazine. 1: 122-126 (1826)

ART. VI. On forcing Roses, by R. A. SALISBURY, Esq. F. R. S., &c.

THE most successful method  of obtaining these delightful flowers  in great perfection during the winter months, which I am acquainted with, is as follows; but it takes three years to get them   strong enough to produce a full crop and I do not here include  the Chinese  roses lately introduced, which, under glass, blow naturally at all seasons but those varieties which we only see in summer, especially the Provence, red Provence, moss Provence, and white Provence. A few plants of the maiden's blush, damask rose, red rose, and York and Lancaster may be admitted after January, but they do not succeed sooner.

Take off strong suckers about the end of October or beginning of November, with all the fibres they may have formed, whirls can only be well door by digging up the parent stock. Plant these suckers in pots only about four inches diameter at the top, winding the sucker three, four, or five times round the inside of the pot, and prune it more or less according to its length, so as to leave no more than two buds, or three at most, above ground. Fill the pots with hazel loam, mixed with one third of vegetable mould, pressing it firmly down to keep the sucker from starting, and plunge them to the brim close to one another, quincunx fashion, in an open bed, fully exposed to the sun and air. The small size of these pots may surprise many gardeners, but the plant will produce stronger blossoms in them than might be supposed, even the first year, if the suckers are large; and as they are to be shifted annually, it is absolutely necessary to begin with small pots. To have a plentiful supply of blossoms during the months of December, January, February, March, April, and May, from 100 to 300 suckers must be thus prepared.

For the plants to be forced from December to March, a small flame should be devoted, about twelve feet long, five feet wide, seven feet high behind, and only six or eight inches in front (fig. 21.); this pitch I have found by long experience to admit the rays of the sun or light, at that period, to strike upon the plants to the greatest advantage. I prefer a flue running through the whole floor from one end to the other, which, if built thick, and the fire-place as well as chimney-top be well closed up, after the heat has penetrated the flue, the air within will be sufficiently heated, with very little fuel, and require no attendance at night, except in very severe frost. The back of this frame may consist of synod, or a narrow brick, at pleasure, and should have a door in the middle, just sufficiently large to admit the gardener to creep in and water the plants by reaching over them from one side to the other, without any walk inside. A strong latticed floor must be fixed six inches above the flue, on which the pots mast be placed when introduced, and these must have a pan or receiver under each, not only to catch any of the manured water, which I recommend, but to prevent the heat of the flue, which will now and then be smart, notwithstanding every precaution, from striking directly on the pots themselves. After the month of March, roses may be advantageously forced in other houses and situations, but hardly sooner, except on the front floe of a pine-stove; and a small frame like this is not only built and maintained at a small cost, but the lights may be used for other crops, especially melons, after June.

The plants, to be forced into blossom by Christmas day, should be placed in this frame on the 1st day of October, lighting fires gradually, so as to keep the temperature in the day time rather increasing than decreasing from 60 degrees of Fahrenheit to 80, but at night much lower; if the plants meet with one frosty night or two in the beginning of October, so much the better, for they will push more vigorously after the heat is applied. The first year, none of the crop will come in so early as afterwards, and I advise all the young stickers to be forced in succession the first year, not waiting till they have had one year's growth in the open air; moreover if the suckers are strong, they will produce more blossoms than might be expected.

If the second crop of plants be introduced on the 1st of November, they will blossom from the middle of January to the middle of February; those of the third crop, introduced on the 1st of December, from the middle of February to the middle of March; those of the fourth crop, introduced on the 1st of January, from the middle of March to the middle of April; those of the fifth crop, introduced on the 1st of February, from the middle of April to the middle of May; those of the sixth and last crop, introduced on the 1st of March, from the middle of May till the middle of June; when several varieties in the open ground begin to blossom.

As soon as the plants begins to push their buds, whether any aphides appear upon the young shoots or not, fill the frame with tobacco-smoke, and do not fail to repeat this every third week till the flowers appear, smoking for the last time just before any red tints appear on the earliest buds. No unpleasant smell of the tobacco will remain upon the plants after a day or two. The young shoots must also be carefully examined when only half an inch long, and any grubs feeding upon them destroyed.

After the blossoms are gathered, the plants must not be removed to a back shed, but kept in the frame, or brought back into it, if they have been taken into the apartments of the owner, permitting them to grow as they do in summer in the open air, for at least two or three months. They must then be placed in a shady situation, and kept rather dry than moist, to throw them into a state of rest; after the month of May, I prefer inverting them, especially the earlier crops, between two planks raised upon tressels, high enough to prevent the brunches from touching the earth, as in the annexed sketch (fig. 22.); having for twenty-five years experienced the utility of this treatment, and suspecting that it strengthens the future blossoms by retaining sap in the branches, which would otherwise descend to the root or form suckers.

While the plants are growing they must be constantly supplied with moisture; that which I employed with great advantage consisted of water and pigeon's dung infused in it a few days before, in the proportion of one ounce to a gallon of water. Where pigeon's dung cannot be had, two ounces of sheep or deer's dung may be substituted to each gallon of water

It now only remains to add whist is the most important point of all to attend to in forcing roses, and that is to mark all the plants, so that those introduced into the frame in October, the first year, may be introduced no the same day the second, and every succeeding year; and I know no method of doing this so effectually as to paint No. 1, 2, 3, &c. upon the pots themselves. Sticks and marks are liable no decay, or to be changed by accident or negligence. Every year, about a fortnight before the plants are forced, they most be shifted into larger pots, exactly one inch wider in diameter and not more, turning them out without breaking the ball or disturbing any of the fibres, and filling the pots with the same compost of hazel loam and vegetable earth. By this method the same plants may be forced for ten years without the inconvenience of using a very large put, as the lust season they will out want to be removed, or may be shifted into the same pot again. With respect to pruning, I have never been in the habit of leaving more than two birds on each branch, and as the plants increase in size and number of branches, often only one bud upon the weaker branches; it is much better to have from ten to twenty strong blossoms than a larger number of weak ones, and the foliage is likewise more healthy.