Jour. Roy. Hort. Soc. 28: 437-450 (1904)

Monsieur Viviand-Morel

"THE Pruning of Roses" is a matter eminently calculated to produce ennui, and is a subject which has been discussed so often and over and over again since Columella and Palladius that in approaching it one fears to provoke the dictum "Non bis in idem."

I have been told that it was an ass which showed the Athenians how to prune the Vine, and since that remote time the Vine-growers of Sparta, having been educated in the nursery gardens of Attica, set to work to prune, not only Vines and fruit-trees, but shrubs of all sorts and kinds. The massacre of the Innocents dates not only from the birth of Christ, but long before the Christian era, I am sure, they pruned the great mass of plants growing in their gardens atrociously. And if I am asked why I thus impugn the gardeners of Boeotia, I reply that I arrive at that conclusion in the following way: "The gardener," said Pascal, "is a being who learns continually and lives for ever": from which I argue, since many prune very badly to-day, imagine how those others must have done it, three thousand years ago. But let me begin with an outrageous query: Do you wish to weaken a tree or any shrub? Then prune it! And if you doubt this axiom of vegetable physiology make the following experiment:—Plant two exactly similar Rose-bushes, of the same variety and of about the same weight, in the same soil. The next year prune one of them and leave the other alone. Two years afterwards prune the same one again and once more leave the other. Three years afterwards weigh them both, and you will be much astonished to see that the pruned Rose weighs much less than the unpruned one. A long time ago I wrote the following, and I do not wish to recall a single line of it at the present time:—

I had a Noisette Rose, 'Aimée Vibert,' budded on a 2 mètres high stock of Rosa canina, which in six years attained a diameter of 25 mètres: that is to say, it grew to be nearly 8 mètres in circumference. M. Duchet has a Rose of the same variety which covers the whole of the front of his house. These two Rose-trees grew to such a size only because they had been very little pruned.

There is in the Botanical Garden at Lyons a clump of Hybrid Perpetual Roses of the variety 'Victor Verdier,' which has been planted for twenty years. On this clump Lafontaine exercised his skill as a pruner for several years, and after him several other gardeners did the same, and the clump now is slightly thinner than when it was first planted. This is the result of twenty years of close pruning.

Here, then, we have examples of 'Aimée Vibert,' little pruned, which grew to an enormous size, whilst 'Victor Verdier,' regularly pruned every year, remains poor and sickly. Does not that prove that pruning checks, to a certain extent, the natural growth of Roses?

But until we have compared two Roses of the same variety we cannot decide with certainty. However, it is highly probable that if the clump of 'Victor Verdier' had been left to itself it would now have presented an inextricable confusion of slender branches, dead wood, and at the season of flowering numerous blossoms of wretched quality. On the contrary, if M. Duchet had exercised his skill as pruner on his beautiful 'Aimée Vibert' it is highly probable that it would not have covered the whole front of his house. Nevertheless, it may be inferred that pruning acts as a check to all Roses.

But if pruning impoverishes Roses, someone else will tell you that not pruning does so equally, considering that a Rose left to itself covers itself with blossoms, thus weakening the branches, which end by dying from exhaustion. And this other person would be right.

Pruning weakens Roses, non-pruning weakens them also. I leave these two conclusions to professors of logic, who may draw from them what inferences they can; but before starting upon the practice of pruning, let us inquire a little as to the utility of what everybody practises. Without going back to the Deluge we have in an accessible form the very careful trial which Monsieur J. P. Vibert, the famous Rose-grower, undertook in 1830. The following passage relates chiefly to Bengals and Noisettes:—

"Their pruning consists in removing diseased and awkwardly-placed branches and in shortening others, according to the nature of the species or variety, the number of flowers that it produces and the ease with which they expand, and by several other reasons which can only be determined when actually at work upon the plant itself. In some varieties of Noisettes, which blossom shyly and only produce a few shoots, the principal object of pruning is the encouragement of the growth of flowering branches; some varieties indeed are so stubborn that besides being obliged to cut them back it is also necessary to prune or pinch them several times during the summer to force them to flower. These varieties are all very vigorous, and, having nothing to fear from being planted in the open air, their cultivation in pots is unnecessary.

"Bengal Roses do not spread; it is a characteristic peculiar to themselves; but they have, in a higher degree than other species, spreading or not, the peculiarity of developing either from a cutting or stock such vigorous branches as would, if not checked, soon weaken the neighbouring branches, and eventually cause their destruction. It is better not to entirely remove these rank growths, but to prune them back to a certain number of eyes, so as to force the stem to a more equal distribution of its sap. As a rule, in pruning all Roses, it is important to remember that the natural renewal of those branches which come from the cutting or root-stock is necessary to the plant’s existence, and that their suppression checks the flow of the sap and arrests the plant’s growth. When it is absolutely necessary to prune these branches rather severely, which often happens with Bengal Roses and Noisettes, the wounds must be closed with budding wax.”

De Denis Helye says: "Roses which are wide-spreading and have long shoots should, as a rule, never be pruned, as this will sacrifice the blossom of the year, as for example in the case of the Banksian Rose, in which the flowers are produced on the wood of the preceding year. If

Roses are too vigorous, it is enough simply to decrease the number of shoots, but taking great care to preserve enough of them to replace worn-out branches, in order to make a well-balanced plant for whatever place it is destined. The twigs of these reserve shoots should be pruned to the length of 10 to 20 centimètres. This system of substituting vigorous branches for exhausted ones, as well as leaving little shoots, should be used for spreading Roses in general.

Dr. Barnier says as follows: "It is necessary to prune every year, and almost without caution; the more you prune a Rose the longer it will last, the more flowers it will give, the more the time of its flowering can be varied. The pruning is very simple. There are two methods, according to whether you want many flowers, or fewer but larger ones and more symmetrically placed on the bush.

"The master to whom we were apprenticed, Monsieur Liabaud, some time ago, asked the following question: Is there any real theory as regards the pruning of Roses? One might almost doubt it on seeing different gardeners operating, each in his own particular way. Some advocate training them along the ground like certain soft-wooded plants and forming a carpet, as in the case of Petunias, Verbenas, &c.; others cut them every spring level with the ground, like the annual stems of sundry perennial plants; others remove, every year, the last year’s shoots, cutting back the new growth more or less. If one considers their manner of growth, this last plan may perhaps be the most rational; for, as it grows stronger, the Rose every year makes stronger shoots, which develop from below those of the preceding year. It is for this reason that Briers which grow in the woods take three or four years to make stocks strong enough to be budded as standards.

"To sum up, I think that it is always necessary to renew a Rose bush by cutting out the old branches of three or four years’ growth which are used up, are not getting any bigger, and will die in a short time. Long or short pruning depends on the strength of the plant; some of the weak branches, when they do not reach beyond the cut ends of the strong ones, should not be shortened, because the terminal eye which receives its nourishment from the whole circumference of the branch gets much more sap than the lateral eyes, and very often gives finer flowers. The necessity of removing the suckers from the wild stock on which Roses are budded should never be forgotten, as they almost always grow more strongly than the budded plant.”

Joseph Schwartz, a pupil of J. B. Guillot, who enjoyed a great reputation as a Rose-grower, was also an advocate for pruning Roses.

The month of March is, without exception, the time to prune all varieties of Perpetual Roses (by Perpetual Roses are meant those which blossom more or less all through the summer and autumn): that is to say, garden varieties placed in the following classes: Bengals, Teas, Noisettes, Hybrid Perpetuals, Bourbons, &c. One can begin pruning the hard-wooded varieties about the middle of February, especially if the winter is not a severe one; for example, Hybrid Perpetuals, Portlands, Perpetual Mosses, (be. But with varieties derived from Indian species, such as Teas, Bengals, Bourbons, &c., pruning should never take place in our part of the world before the month of March.

The growth of the Perpetual Roses is somewhat after the manner of that of the Vine, which one is obliged to prune to render it fruitful and make it produce finer fruit. So is it necessary to prune the Rose in order to obtain fine flowers and a well-shaped bush. An unpruned Rose grows out of shape, sprawls, exhausts itself, and gives much smaller flowers than those it is capable of producing.

As to pruning, strictly so-called, it is almost impossible to lay down any strict rules, because everything depends on the vigour of growth of the particular object under treatment.

A very intelligent gardener from Lyons, named Picard, who suggested a particular method for the growing of Roses, thus expresses himself as regards pruning:—

"I will not discuss the views of those who insist that periodical and regular pruning is indispensable in the cultivation of all plants: for I am not at all of that opinion. The excessive use of pruning has done more harm than good. Considered from a physiological point of view, pruning is an unnatural mutilation, which, guided as it often is only by caprice and lack of knowledge, ends in results harmful to the plant which has under-e gone it. And if I prune Roses according to my method, it is not all on account of any organic necessity; the plant can perfectly well do without it, and, following the nature of its species or variety, will also grow larger and be more beautiful, because it naturally possesses a reserve of growth-power in the parts usually cut off. But as the Rose-tree is destined to live in a restricted space, I am obliged to prune the upper portions of it in order to be able to satisfy the demands of fashion."

These quotations are enough to show that if pruning gives rise to certain inconveniences, it has nevertheless numerous adherents amongst professionals, which is a certain sign that it possesses more advantages than disadvantages, and that the important point is to know how to practise it correctly and with prudence.

Since the far-off days when poets sang of the birth of the Rose, several entirely new families of them have been born which would have astonished the flower-loving bards. Roses are no longer the same shrubs about which the poets sang, and a whole new world of them has arisen in consequence of the somewhat adventurous marriage between the Indian and the Gallica Roses. New introductions, of types unknown to the ancients, and until quite recently to moderns also, have arrived to people our gardens. The yellow race with all its crosses, the giants with their hybrids, the dwarfs with their mixed descent, have all given rise to a new population which has displaced the ancient race, a people mottled, marbled, heterogeneous, easy to work, flourishing and floriferous.

It is in this new race that we are most interested, for it is it which has made pruning so difficult. But before attacking it, pruning-knife in hand, this would seem to be the place to classify it categorically, in order that no one may ignore the fact that the genus Rosa is not a single entity, but a collection, of many species, races, and individuals which must not be uniformly clipped like a flock of sheep.

The Roses of ancient time were not, for the most part, Perpetuals; some of them blossomed twice a year fairly regularly in some climates, and very irregularly in others. And it was only at the end of the eighteenth century that China and Bengal Roses began to be known; it is less than a hundred years since the crosses between the Musk and the Indian "roses, the Bengals and the Centifolias and so many others came to claim a place in our gardens. And this place has become so large that the old-fashioned Roses are no longer given any room to speak of. This is not the place to discuss the question as to whether many of the Provins Roses—the Rose of the painters—and many other of the discarded beauties would not be preferable to certain of the so-called Perpetuals which are never perpetual. But let us get to our business: that is to say, pruning and the principles which should guide it.


The gardener's art is one of observation. When I wished to know why it was necessary to prune in one way rather than in another, I went to Dardilly, Charbonnières, Brindas and Chaponost—villages round Lyons—to see how the Gallicas and Dog-Roses behave in their wild state. The Gallicas are the ancestors, more or less related to the Provins Roses; the Caninas are wild Briers; and I confine myself to these two species, which are quite enough for the demonstration I wish to make.

The Gallicas I have found were represented by small bushes with stolons showing just above the ground, only allowing scope for a very modest pruning of the branches, of which the oldest did not look very aged, although of a very decrepit appearance.

The wild Briers, however, were giants of three mètres in height, with very thick strong stems, and with their tops thickly covered with Roses.

At one and the same time, I had under cultivation some of these Roses and some garden Roses, and having pruned them all alike to within 30 centimètres of the ground Provins, Centifolias, Noisettes, Teas, Hybrid Perpetuals, Bengals, Multifloras, Banksias, Damascs, Caninas, Gallicas, &c. (all of them being well established and healthy), I obtained the following results: The Provins Roses, the Centifolias, the Noisettes, some of the Multifloras, the Banksias, some of the Teas, the Damascs, the Caninas and the Gallicas produced magnificent growths, of different forms, but not one single flower. On the other hand, some of the Teas, some of the Multifloras, the Hybrid Perpetuals, and the Bengals flowered admirably,

Thus, with the genus Rosa, we find ourselves in the presence of a section of the vegetable kingdom of which the physiology is somewhat complex. It is very important, then, for professional gardeners or amateurs to take account, on broad lines, of how the different species of the genus behave when pruned. An expert, if he wishes to become very Well-up in the subject, will even study each variety on its own account; and, thus educated, he will no longer pass for one of those butchers of the time of Herod who massacred the Innocents.

It will be remarked, that in the above experiment all the Roses were uniformly pruned, and that nevertheless part of the Tea Roses and part of the Multifloras flowered and the other part did not. This fact is disquieting to amateurs. One ought also to include the Noisettes, and this is still more alarming to novices. This is certainly a question of pruning which is connected with the classification of Roses. When one has wished to prove that Polyanthas and Multifloras came from the same source (and correctly so) it was necessary to leave the proof of this to the botanists, and say to gardeners: "No; as far as culture is concerned, Polyanthas and Multifloras do not behave at all in the same way, and that is all we want to know about them." Either these two types had the same mother or two different mothers; and if two different ones, then they were decidedly first cousins. But the fathers were not of the same family; one has produced wide-spreading giants, and the other restricted dwarfs. The Polyanthas, pruned to 40 centimètres, yield bushes covered with flowers; the Multifloras, pruned in the same way, produce bundles of green wood. As far as we are concerned, therefore, this physiological propensity is enough to make us keep the two types separate.

As to the Teas, it would be necessary to trace their origin a little farther back before jumping to the conclusion that, equally in their case, it was unknown pollen-bearing plants which had transformed the rather delicate type of the Indian species into such giants as 'Gloire de Dijon ' and its offspring. I firmly believe that the Musk-Rose—the seed-bearing parent of the Noisettes—sent one of its parents to marry one of these delicate Teas, with drooping flowers, and that from this strange union have sprung the wide-spreading giants which will not thrive if closely pruned.

To learn the art of pruning Roses, it is necessary, first of all, to divide them into two large classes, so as to know: 1st, those which do not flourish at all, or badly, or only by chance when they are pruned short; 2nd, those which flourish equally in whatever way they may be pruned. You will have taken a great step in the right direction when once you have made sure of this classification, for you will obtain blossoms where a novice will only produce long thorny shoots. But this is by no means all one has to learn, for if the pruning of Roses has for its primary object the obtaining of flowers, this is not the only object it should have in view. Pruning has often other ends in view: for example, to train the Roses as hedges, globes, and wreaths, to shape them like tables, to make them weep like the willows of Babylon, to dwarf them, to use them as borderings, &c.; in a word, to train them into any desired shape or form.

These two, then, are like general rules which it is necessary to understand before arming oneself with the pruning-shears; the rest will come by degrees. But do not think that this is all. If you live at Lyons, for instance, do not go to Nice or Cannes to practise your art. When you are in Rose-growing districts, ask advice of those accustomed to the work, who prune differently from yourself and operate at different times of the year.

Dr. Barnier suggests the two following methods of pruning for the South of France.

First method—If you wish to obtain a great number of flowers (as in the case of growers of winter blossoms for sending abroad), it is necessary to prune at the end of August or beginning of September; or if you wish for very late blossoms, defer pruning until the end of September or beginning of October. In either case, at first only give a partial pruning, removing the small twigs, and the too crowded or tangled branches which would hinder flowering or prevent the full access of air and light. Then, of the remaining branches, select rather more than half of the shoots of the year's growth; entirely remove the old wood above the point from which the shoots spring, and finally shorten the shoots themselves to 10, 20, or 30 centimètres, according to whether the varieties operated on are naturally small or of large and spreading growth.

Second method—If, not being a dealer in flowers, you only want fine, beautiful, symmetrically-placed blossoms, it is necessary to proceed more soberly; to prune at the end of February or in March; always cutting out all the twigs and spindly branches, &c.; then choose, according to the strength of the plant, two, three, or four shoots, not more, and cut these all to about the same length, above an eye pointing outwards, so that the extreme shoot, when it grows, will not fill up the middle of the bush. As a matter of course the varieties that are of feeble growth will be pruned to 10 centimètres in height, the strong-growing ones to 20, and the spreading ones to 30 centimètres. In both methods alike it is necessary, as far as possible, to get rid of the old wood, which absorbs much sap, and not to leave a single stump, which is always a cause of decay.

On Rose-trees the flowers spring from twigs of the current year's wood, except in the case of the Banksias and two or three other species which do not belong to our climate. On these the flowers only come on two-year-old wood—that is, on the shoots of the year before; and these flowers do not grow at the base of the branch, but at a certain height and near the top of it. Thus to cut back these branches in the way I have just pointed out would be to never have any flowers on them. For Banksian Roses, then, it is only necessary to cut out the dead wood, cross branches, and those which do not go in the right direction, and above all to preserve the two-year-old shoots entire. You see, then, that there is another very important matter as regards pruning, viz. to know the best time of year to prune, according to the district you live in. M. de Chesnel says:

Formerly the pruning-hook was employed for pruning Rose and sundry other bushes into spheres, pyramids, and other shapes, but now we limit ourselves to the use of a knife or of sécateurs, and do little spherical pruning unless in the case of the Means Roses and the Scotch with double white flowers, which, budded on the Brier and pruned in this manner, give fine effects. Roses ought to be pruned with scissors as soon as ever the flowering is over. Besides this first cutting, most varieties should be pruned again with the knife in the month of February, when the sap generally begins to flow. They should also be freed from any dead wood, branches that are spotted with white mildew, and lastly from anything that hinders their growth.

This shows us that, for certain varieties of Roses, the principal pruning should take place in June: that is to say, when they are in full growth, but after the blossoming is over. Monsieur Cagneux writes as follows:

The pruning of Roses is usually done at the end of January; for my own part, I operate on hardy Roses, such as the Hybrid Perpetuals as soon as the last flowers have done. I cut out the old wood and stumps, then I shorten the branches left to two eyes above the ordinary pruning, which should be from 10 to 15 centimètres in length for the strong-growing varieties, such as 'La Reine,' 'Lion des Combats,' 'Baronne Prévost,' &c. I would remark that one ought to regulate one's pruning according to the state of growth of one's Roses. At this time of year, the sap being still moving, the eyes at the extremity will form themselves into little buds, which by the time that growth has entirely stopped will have become large eyes. In the spring, when growth starts again, these eyes will only grow to the length of 20 to 25 centimètres, and will produce flowers, whereas if the plants had been pruned in January, as is commonly done, they would have made shoots from 40 to 50 centimètres in length; but whilst those shoots would have been growing 20 centimètres longer, the others will have already produced flowers. The branches should be out directly they have flowered, and the plant left pruned as desired.

For Bourbons the pruning is different. The dry wood and any branches that are in the way are cut out as soon as the last flowers are . over, but they are not pruned until growth recommences, so as to see which eyes are the strongest. If Bourbons are pruned too soon they will not produce flowers, or at any rate they will not come till late in the season. Teas should be treated the same way as Bourbons. There are some varieties amongst the Bourbons and also amongst the Noisettes, such as 'La Biche,' 'Solfatare,' &c., the branches of which should only be tipped; because these varieties grow so tremendously vigorously that they-would have no blossoms at all if pruned short. It is a good plan to bend their branches over by tying them down to the stem.

I have already quoted several authors some of whom have interested themselves in the question of Rose-pruning, and some of them able men in Rose cultivation; amongst these latter some pass lightly over the pruning, for them a subject of no interest. One such work, of 200 pages 8vo., only devotes one page to the subject! What can one say, worth saying, in one page? It is not for me to boast, but I have bought many books on the Rose—books large and books small, 4to., 8vo., 16mo., and 32mo., pamphlets, leaflets, &c.—yet in all these treatises, great and small, it is chiefly the poetry which runs in full flow. Loiseleur, for instance, who was a good botanist, in a work on the Rose, devotes 127 pages to the history of this flower, 87 pages to poetry, but almost forgets to mention the pruning. J. Bel, in his chapter on Pruning and Training Roses, assigns to the subject of pruning seventeen lines!

E. Forney and B. Verlot are, as far as I know, the only authors writing on Roses, who give to pruning the importance which it deserves. The former may be consulted with advantage by those who really wish to understand the subject. He says:—

The pruning of the Rose consists:

  1. In removing those parts which are dying back or awkwardly placed so as to assist the perfect development of the useful portions which ought to be preserved.
  2. To thin out the superfluous growth, as the Rose produces many more shoots every year than its sap can bring to perfection.
  3. To shorten back the shoots, so as to concentrate the sap in certain of the eyes at their bases, so that these eyes may be able to produce flower-bearing branches.
  4. To replace every year the branches that have flowered by young branches to flower in their turn. We know that the blossom is produced on the current year's shoot; it is necessary therefore to assist the development of these shoots by the removal of those that have flowered.
  5. To evenly distribute the sap by giving to the branches a suitable direction and even height, so that they may all be equally strong and floriferous, and that it may be possible to enjoy their blossoms from a single point of view.
  6. To increase the number of the branches; for if one prunes a branch, one is sure to obtain, below the part pruned away, two or three shoots, which will form as many branches, of the height and in the positions required.

Monsieur E. Forney also lays down the following axioms, which every Rose-pruner ought to take to heart:—

  1. "We give vigour to a branch by pruning it hard, if all the other branches are out equally short. It is evident that the concentration of the sap will cause all the branches to develop with equal vigour.
  2. "We weaken a branch by pruning it hard if the other branches are left long. The sap flows by preference through the long branches, and leaves the short one in a state of marked inferiority.
  3. "We give vigour to a branch by leaving it long if all the other branches are pruned short. The long branch dominates the others; and being higher and furnished with a larger number of eyes, it attracts to itself all the sap.
  4. "We weaken a branch by leaving it long, if all the other branches are pruned equally long. The branches are too much extended for the roots to be able to furnish them with a sufficient quantity of sap; they mutually weaken each other and grow with less vigour.”

It would take a long time to adequately discuss Monsieur Forney's fourth axiom. If pruning weakens all the growths concerned, one asks oneself how one can weaken a branch by pruning it long, if all the others are left long also. The two propositions are altogether contradictory.

Monsieur Eugene Forney's book, as also that of Verlot, is unfortunately in some respects obsolete. Since their publication a revolution has taken place in Rose-growing. The Rose on its own roots has been replaced, for the most part by plants budded at the ground level; new varieties, as well as new species, have taken the places of the old ones; the South has "moved on" and the North has seen its growth of out-door Roses diminished, and its cultivation under glass considerably lessened, and this revolution from North to South, which Forney could not have foreseen in 1864, has introduced certain modifications into the manner of pruning; but, in spite of this, the precepts given by this able professor, based on the physiology of the plant, may for the most part be always taken as a theoretical basis in pruning.


Those who have made a study of pruning fruit-trees know that it consists of two principal parts:

1st. To form a tree into a pyramid, palm-shaped, standard, cordon, espalier, &c.
2nd. To prune and pinch back the fruiting branch.

The Rose-tree may be submitted to precisely the same operations. Roses in fact are trained as espaliers, and generally very badly so trained, as pillars, as arches, as standards with trimmed heads, as umbrellas, as cordons, as dwarf bushes, as cups, &c.; and the framework of the tree having been once established, it is only necessary to keep it to that shape, and to take pains to make it produce Roses.


Dwarf Roses are the ones most usually found in gardens, and it is not necessary to be very expert to train them properly. Nevertheless it is as well to know that many Roses often refuse to blossom if grown in this way. Such are the Spreading Teas, Spreading Noisettes, Spreading Multifloras, Rosa Bracteata, all the non-perpetual Roses, the Centifloras Moss, Provins, Damasc, Pimpernel, Banksian, Rugosa, Microphylla, &c. The Briers, the Capucine Roses, Rosa Lutea, and numerous others are also in the same case. It would appear from reading this list that there can be very few Roses left that can be cultivated as Dwarfs. And indeed there would not be many were it not for the innumerable varieties of Hybrid Perpetuals Dwarf Teas, Hybrid Teas, Bengals, Bourbons, and others usually so grown.

There is no particular rule to be followed for the formation of Dwarf Roses; you cut them hard back, and all is said, or very nearly so.


This is evidently the form above all others in which to grow the Rose. It has the advantage of creating strong plants with many and fine blossoms on them. It does not encourage the growth of suckers, and ensures a long life to the plant. It permits, also, of the cultivation of non-perpetual Roses of medium growth, such as the Centifolias, Mosses, Provins, and other types of medium height.

Some of the spreading Roses of the Tea and Noisette sections can also be trained in this form, particularly if you can furnish them with a basis of old wood. Unfortunately, except in the South of France, these woody stems are killed by the cold.

Those who would nevertheless brave the fashion, and possess sundry remarkable objects, ought to take particular pains over the planting of their Roses. They ought to prepare for it by digging up the soil and adding fresh loam. It takes four or five years to form a good Rose-tree of this class. The pruned shoots are left a little longer every year; some people draw away the branches from the middle towards the outside of the bush, so as to make use of those which become crowded in the middle of the bush, and which are always removed in Dwarf or Semi-Dwarf Roses, Personally I have had some very remarkable Roses grown in this manner, but all varieties do not lend themselves equally well to it.


* Monsieur Morel probably means what we in England call 'pegged-down Roses.'

Anybody who understands pruning the Vine after Guyot's method knows how to train Roses as cordons. The method, which is only practicable with wide-spreading or very vigorous varieties, consists in obtaining, during the season, one or two very strong-growing branches. In spring, and in our climate also in autumn, in order to protect them from the cold, these branches are bent horizontally on iron wires, 0.50 centimètre from the ground; the end is pruned off and the operation is finished. The secret of success is to know to what length to out the branches, so that all the eyes will produce flowers, and will allow of the replacing of the horizontal branches by two new ones, which one has taken care to keep in reserve at the spot there the branch is bent. One can assist the development of such replacing branches by disbudding any eyes which show a tendency to develop themselves. In the South of France, or in greenhouses, horizontal cordons can be established, pruned very much like Vines, which will last several years without being renewed.


† It is dangerous to attach Rose or Fruit trees to iron in Great Britain, as the extreme cold will often kill the shoots at the points where they touch the iron.

It is mostly in the South of France that this method of training is employed, because the varieties suited for it are often killed to the ground by the frost in the North; and then they do not flower, or very little, on the new wood they throw up. In the North one must choose as sheltered positions as possible if one wishes to train Roses up walls. The Roses are planted a mètre apart, or still further if the soil is very fertile. Then they are trained like a Vine in the fashion of Tomery. The first year it is pruned very little; it is left to establish itself. The second year it is cut down to the ground; if it pushes vigorously the shoots are allowed to grow as they will, being all nailed to the wall. If, however, any of the shoots spread beyond the space they are required to fill the next year, they are pinched back when quite green so as to check their too vigorous growth. In the following spring each shoot is trained on an iron † wire or trellis fixed to the wall which the Roses are intended to cover. One of the Roses covers the middle part of the wall and another the top. If the wall or front of the house is not very large, one plant may often be sufficient to cover it. We have seen Banksian Roses covering surfaces 80 mètres square. Where a single tree is planted against a wall, there is need to watch the development of its branches very carefully. By pinching some of them in the green stage, at different heights, it is easy to cover the base as well as the summit of the wall.


All wide-spreading or long-branched varieties can be trained in these different ways, and the directions given for Roses on walls can be employed. For covering bowers and arbours, several varieties should be chosen, differing in vigour of growth, so as to obviate the tendency of the very free ones to be bare at the base. Plant in succession a wide spreading one, a medium spreading one, and one which makes very long upright wood, and in this manner the whole of the bower or arbour will be covered from top to bottom.

The following is a list of classes suitable for covering large surfaces: Non-perpetual Multifloras (height 3 to 4 mètres), Bramble-leafed Roses (3 to 4 mètres), Boursault (2 to 4 mètres), Banksians (3 to 10 mètres), Anemone-flowered (2 to 4 mètres), Evergreen Roses (3 to 5 mètres), Ayrshire (5 to 8 mètres), Bracteata Roses (3 to 6 mètres), Climbing Teas (3 to 5 mètres), Noisettes (3 to 8 mètres).

In each of these sections there are some more or less striking varieties, and every year new ones appear, especially amongst the perpetuals. Several of the older non-perpetual varieties have been abandoned for others with a more prolonged flowering season. There are also the climbing Hybrid Perpetuals—those the French call "a long bois"— which can be used alternately with the wide-spreading ones.


There are medium standards, standards, and tall standards; the last being suitable for forming Weeping Roses, Roses with large round heads, 8:0. But whatever may be the height of the stock, the principles as to forming the head are the same, except in the case of the Weeping Roses.

Very often the stocks are of medium rather than strong growth; and it will be easily understood that one must not dream of forming large heads on such subjects. The stocks are collected from hedges or woods, and are trimmed in such a way that almost all the large roots are destroyed. The budder finds before him a walking-stick, often weakly and thin, furnished with two branches, and these he must bud as best he can. On stocks of this kind he must prune most of the Rose branches hard, and think himself lucky if he obtain five or six good flowers the first year or two after it is planted. If by means of manures, road-scrapings, syringing, and watering, the standards grow stronger, then the pruning may be left longer, and the middle hollowed out in such a way as to form a larger head, measuring 60 centimètres to 1 mètre in diameter. Roses of this size are much more robust because the roots grow in proportion, and suckers are less likely to be formed.


*Add Wichuraiana varieties, Crimson Rambler and its relatives, Blasii No. 2.

Roses with weeping branches are best obtained from varieties with long, pliant, wide-spreading shoots, such as the Noisettes and Teas possess. With 'Aimée Vibert ' one can produce veritable masterpieces. 'William Allen Richardson ' (intermediate between Teas and Noisettes), 'Ophirie,' 'Gloire de Dijon,' 'Reine Marie Henriette,' * &c., do equally well trained in this manner.

* To bend down a branch is to check its growth; to turn it upright is to strengthen it; to remove some of its leaves is to lessen its vigour.

To form these beautiful Rose-trees, it is necessary to procure some Brier stocks measuring at least 2 mètres in height, and to take great care in planting them. They should be budded at once with a dormant eye in August. In the spring, if they have made three leaves, the shoots should be pinched in the green stage when they have reached a length of 15 centimètres; they may then be left to grow as they please. In the following spring, the pruning of the branches is proceeded with in such a way as to keep about a dozen of them, which are left to grow as they choose, unless some of them grow too much to the detriment of the others, in which case the equality of the branches should be re-established in the ordinary way.* In the third year all the branches may be bent horizontally, by means of osiers tied on to the stem, but a hoop, held in place by three stakes, makes it easier to obtain the desired results, as you can better fix the branches at equal distances from one another.


The time for pruning varies according to:

  1. The species and variety;
  2. The end one has in view;
  3. The climate;

Non-perpetuals, like the Provins, Centifolia, and Damasc Roses, are pruned first after they have flowered in June or July, and again in February or March before they have begun to grow.

Perpetuals like the Bengals, Teas, Noisettes, Bourbons, Hybrid Perpetuals, Polyanthas, Hybrid Teas and Noisettes, &c., are generally pruned from August to October in the South of' France, and in February to March in countries where the cold is severe. In the South, Hybrid Perpetuals are pruned in January.

In the climates of Paris, Lyons, and Central France, such Roses as 'Souvenir de la Malmaison,' 'Mrs. Bosanquet,' 'Safrano,' 'Cramoisi supérieur,' and others pruned at the end of August and covered with frames in October, blossom in November and December. This was the South of France method of cultivation, only using frames instead of the sun.

The time of pruning varies according to the purpose we have in view.

The time of pruning also varies with the climate, because in countries where the cold is severe the wounds caused by cutting the branches may be a source of danger if rather severe frosts occur after pruning. If this trouble does not exist, one can prune as soon as growth has ceased.

If we wish to accelerate or retard the flowering of a Rose, the time when the pruning is done has considerable influence. Two Roses pruned at different times, everything else being equal, will not flower at the same time; the Rose that was the first pruned will be the first to flower.


It is possible to advance or retard the flowering of Roses by means of pruning 0r pinching at certain times of year. Let us take two plants situated in the same border and with the same exposure.

If, in the spring, you prune one of them and not the other, the result will be that the unpruned one will blossom twelve or fifteen days before the other, and it will produce more Roses, but they will not be so fine.

If, when pruning, you have left on one of them any feeble branches or twigs, and have removed them from the other, it will be on the stock on which you have left them that the first flowers will show; these flowers will be produced on the twigs, and will be from twelve to fifteen days ahead of those which will develop on the pruned branches.

If both are pruned in the same manner, but one on October 15 and the other in February, the one that was pruned in autumn will flower the first.

By bending the branches of one of them horizontally, about September 15, and leaving the branches of the other in their normal position, and if in the spring they are both pruned alike, you will get earlier blossoms from the one whose branches were bent down.

If one is pruned in February before growth begins, you will gain a little over the other pruned later, and by cutting back very low in April unpruned Roses which already show their buds the flowering is very much retarded. The pinching back of all the shoots which develop after a Rose has been pruned also much retards its flowering. It is necessary that this pinching be done before the flower-buds appear, when the shoots have only three or four leaves. I have often astonished Bose-growers who have examined the system of pruning to which I have subjected certain Roses in my collection. Not long ago I was asked from what country I borrowed my system. "I have not borrowed it," I said, "I keep it." Being very fond of Roses, I arrange to have them for as long a time as possible, and attain this result by a system of pruning which astonishes my brother Rose-growers. And this is the way I manage: If I am dealing with a number of Rose-trees together, I prune all the branches of those on the outside almost level with the ground, I lengthen the pruning of the next rank by 5 centimètres, the third row by 10 centimètres, the fourth by 30 centimètres, and so on in proportion. In the middle I leave on each plant a branch of full length, without pruning it at all, and bend it down to the height of the longest pruned ones. Do you know what I obtain by this means? Early Roses on the bent-down branches which were not pruned, fairly early ones on those pruned long, and very late ones on the plants cut quite down to the ground. I sometimes manage to get all this on the same bush by pruning three-quarters of the branches to the ground level and the rest of them to 20 centimètres, except one which I do not prune at all. It is the unpruned one that gives the first blossoms, and I cut off this branch when its flowers are over.