The amateur gardener may enjoy Roses from June to November if he is willing to take a little trouble for them. Not, however, with the material treated of in the chapter on “The Rose”—though what is said in it relative to the culture of the Hybrid Perpetual class applies with considerable pertinence to the classes of which I shall make special mention in this chapter—but with the summer-blooming sorts, such as the Teas, the Bengals, the Bourbons, and the Noisettes. These are classed in the catalogues as ever-bloomers, and the term is much more appropriate to them than the term Hybrid Perpetual is to that section of the great Rose family, for all of the four classes named above are really ever-bloomers if given the right kind of treatment—that is, bloomers throughout the summer season. In them we find material from which it is easy to secure a constant supply of flowers from the beginning of summer to the closing in of winter.
In order to grow this class of Roses well, one must understand something of their habits. They send out strong branches from the base of the plant, shortly after planting, and these branches will generally bear from five to eight blossoms. When all the buds on the branch have developed into flowers, nothing more can be expected from that branch in the way of bloom, unless it can be coaxed to send out other branches. This it can be prevailed on to do by close pruning. Cut the old branch back to some point along its length—preferably near its base—where there is a strong “eye” or bud. If the soil is rich—and it can hardly be too rich, for these Roses, like those of the kinds treated of in the foregoing chapter, require strong food and a great deal of it in order to do themselves justice—this bud will soon develop into a vigorous branch which, like the original one, will bear a cluster of flowers. In order to keep a succession of bloom it is absolutely necessary to keep the plant producing new branches, as flowers are only borne on new growth. It will be noticed that the treatment required by these Roses is almost identical, so far, with that advised for the Hybrid Perpetuals. Indeed, the latter are summer ever-bloomers of a stronger habit than the class I am now speaking about. That is about all the difference there is between them, up to this point, except as regards the flowering habit. The Hybrid Perpetual blooms profusely in June and July, but sparingly thereafter, while the ever-bloomers bloom freely all the season after they get a good start.
Fertilizer should be applied at least once a month. Not in large quantities, each time, but enough to stimulate a strong and healthy growth. The plants should be kept going ahead constantly. Let them get a check, and you will find it a difficult matter to get many flowers from them after that, the same season. Give them the treatment that results in continuous growth and you will have Roses in abundance up to the coming of cold weather. Of course plants so treated are not to be expected to attain much size. But who cares for large bushes if he can have fine flowers and plenty of them?
The blossoms from the Teas and their kindred are never as large as those of the June and the Hybrid Perpetual classes, and, as a general thing, are not as brilliant in color. Some are delightfully fragrant, while some have no fragrance at all.
La France,—which is classed as a Hybrid Tea, because it is the result of hybridizing one of the hardier varieties with a pure-blooded Tea variety,—is one of the finest Roses ever grown. It is large, and fine in form, rich, though not brilliant, in color, is a very free bloomer, and its fragrance is indescribably sweet. Indeed, all the sweetness of the entire Rose family seems concentrated in its peculiar, powerful, but, at the same time, delicate odor. Color, pale pink.
Duchess de Brabant is an old variety, popular years and years ago, but all the better for that, for its long-continued popularity proves it the possessor of exceptional merit. It is of very free development, and bears large quantities of flowers of silvery pink.
Viscountess Folkestone is, like La France, a Hybrid Tea. It is an excellent bloomer. Its color is a soft pink, shaded with cream, with reflexed petals. It has a rich, June-Rose fragrance.
Maman Cochet is, all things considered, one of the best of its class. It blooms in wonderful profusion. It is a strong grower. Its color is a bright pink, overlaid with silvery lustre. It is very double, and quite as lovely in bud as in the expanded flower.
Hermosa is an old favorite. It is always in bloom when well cared for. Its rich carmine-rose flowers are very double, and are produced in prodigal profusion. But it lacks the charm of fragrance.
Caprice is a very peculiar variety. Its thick, waxen petals of rosy carmine are heavily blotched and striped with dark red, shading to crimson. It is most pleasing when the flower begins to expand.
Perle des Jardins is a most lovely Rose, of almost as rich a color as the famous Marechal Neil,—a deep, glowing yellow,—lovely beyond description. It is a very free bloomer, and should be given a place in all collections.
Sunset another good bloomer is a tawny yellow in color, flamed with fawn and coppery tints. It is an exquisite Rose.
Clothilde Soupert does not properly belong to either of the four classes mentioned above, though of course closely related. It is catalogued as a Polyantha. Its habit is peculiar. It bears enormous quantities of flowers, with the greatest freedom of any Rose I have ever grown, but its blossoms are small, and are produced in clusters quite unlike those of the other members of the ever-blooming class. Indeed, its habit of growth and flowering is quite like that of the Rambler varieties, on a small scale. But, unlike the Ramblers, its flowers are very double. They are produced at the extremity of the new branches, in clusters of fifteen to twenty and thirty. So many are there to each branch that you will find it advisable to thin out half of them if you want perfect flowers. In color it is a delicate pink on first opening, fading to almost white. At the centre of the flower it is a bright carmine. Give this variety a trial and you will be delighted with it.
It must not be understood that the above list includes all the desirable sorts adapted to general culture. It is simply a list of the most distinct varieties that respond satisfactorily to the treatment outlined, and from which the amateur gardener can expect the best results. There are scores of other varieties possessing exceptional merit, but many of them require the attention of the professional in order to give satisfaction, and are not what I feel warranted in recommending the amateur to undertake the culture of if large quantities of flowers are what he has in mind. Every one on the list given is a standard variety, and you will find that you have made no mistake in confining your selection to it.
I would advise the purchase of two-year-old plants. Younger plants seldom bloom with much profusion the first season.
Order your plants in April. Get them into the ground about the middle of May. Mulch the soil about them well. This will do away with the necessity of watering if the season happens to prove a dry one. In planting, be governed by the directions given in the chapter on “The Rose.”
Try a bed of these ever-bloomers for a season and you will never afterward be without them. Other flowers will rival them in brilliance, perhaps, and may require less attention, but—they will not be Roses! One fine Rose affords more pleasure to the lover of the best among flowers than a whole garden full of ordinary blossoms can, and this is why I urge all flower-loving people to undertake the culture of the ever-blooming class of Roses, for I know they will give greater satisfaction than anything else you can grow.
In fall, the plants can be taken up, packed away in boxes of earth, and kept in the cellar over winter. Cut away almost the entire top when the plants are lifted. All that one cares to carry through the winter is the root of the plant.
How to Prune Roses Climbing Rose Rambler Rose Red Rose Black Rose White Rose Pink Rose Blue Rose Yellow Rose Tea Rose Orange Rose Purple Rose Sunrise Rose Sunset Rose Fourth of July Rose Red and white Rose