« PreviousContinue »
for till they have bloomed in the open ground, and under different circumstances, at least two seasons, a proper estimate cannot be formed of their qualities. As the leading characters of those are given in the catalogue published annually in the autumn, which will always be sent by post on a paid application, I flatter myself this seeming omission will be excused. Instructions for budding, grafting, and other modes of propagating roses are given in every gardening book; I have not, therefore, thought it worth while to endeavour to impart any of my knowledge in those matters. But my principal motive for omitting this branch of rose culture is the impossibility of conveying by words any tangible idea of the nicer modes of practice: it is very easy to show how to insert a bud, or put on a graft, but almost impossible to tell it.
Roses may be struck from cuttings, and budded and grafted from March to September if the buds, grafts, and stocks are in a proper state. It is only incessant practice that can give this knowledge, as almost every family, and even different varieties of the same family, require peculiar treatment. A small volume might be written on this subject. Perhaps
when the hoar frost of age has powdered me more plentifully than at present, and when the cultivation of this favourite flower is followed more for my pleasure than my business I may possibly again attempt to make a little book about roses.
So many rose amateurs have complained that it is extremely difficult to select, from the multiplicity of roses now under cultivation, such varieties as are distinct and adapted for particular situations, though accurately enough described in a catalogue, I have presumed some practical observations might be acceptable. I have also long felt the conviction, that a mere enumeration of the form and colour of the flower is not enough, particularly for the amateur with a small garden; for he, of course, wishes to select a few varieties, and those well adapted to the situation they are to occupy. As a guide, then, to the lovers of roses, this little treatise has been written in the few leisure moments allowed me by the unceasing cares of a general nursery business. I give the result of twenty years experience, gained by the culture of choice roses on a much larger scale than any where in Europe. I say this advisedly, as
from eight to ten acres are here devoted to the cultivation of select named varieties. In noticing and describing the different roses in the following pages, though a cultivator of them for sale, I have endeavoured to lay aside all business prejudices, and only to view them as an admiring amateur. Varieties inserted in the catalogue, and not noticed here, are, in many cases, equally beautiful with those that are; but in these instances they perhaps much resemble them, or at least have no particular distinguishing traits. It may be asked, Why, then, are so many varieties enumerated in the catalogue, if so few comparatively can be recommended? To this I reply, that some roses resemble each other in the form and colour of their flowers, yet differ much in their character of their leaves, branches, and general habit. Some will also often bloom out of character, and imperfectly, one or two seasons consecutively, while others of the same colour and of the same family are blooming well; and then, perhaps, for a like period, the former will have their bright seasons of perfection, while the latter receive some blighting check; so that it is almost necessary to have plants of different natures bearing flowers alike. I may