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“Whatso’er of beauty
Yearns and yet reposes, 
Blush and bosom and sweet breath, 
Took a shape in Roses.”
 — Leigh Hunt.


ROSE growing is of the fine arts; an art to which many societies owe their being; to which many men devote their lives; about which books are written and poets sing. So great a subject cannot be covered in one short chapter of a book on general gardening.

Dean Hole, in his deeply appreciative, almost reverential, “Book About Roses,” starts his discourse with these words: “He who would have beautiful Roses in his garden, must have beautiful Roses in his heart. He must love them well and always. To win, he must woo, as Jacob wooed Laban’s daughter, though drought and frost consume. He must have not only the glowing admiration, the enthusiasm, and the passion, but the tenderness, the thoughtfulness, the reverence, the watchfulness of love . . . the cavalier of the Rose has semper fidelis upon his crest and shield.” And the Rose is a jealous mistress, for not only will she have the whole attention of her lover in the days of fulness and beauty, but when her blooms are fled must she be shielded from annoyance, fed and bathed, and in the winter carefully protected. She will share her bed with none, and indeed she likes well a whole garden to herself; she must not be exposed to rough winds, she must be sheltered, but not shaded, and “no bough may darken, no drip may saturate, no roots may rob the Rose.” And who that is able to give will grudge her all she desires, for a Rose garden scrupulously cared for is a joy of joys, and success with Roses more flattering than with any other flower. But is there a sorrier sight than a neglected Rose? She is no hand at making the best of things: she must have all, or nothing; and so worthy is she of the best that I am always sorry to see Roses planted where the best may not be theirs.

All this may seem to relegate Roses to the gardens of those with a staff of gardeners and a special Rose garden, but it does not. Any enthusiast, high or low, may have the Rose at her loveliest, if he take Dean Hole’s words as his creed, and studies and provides for the needs of this fair flower; may have, I mean, those beautiful, long-stemmed Roses, known as Teas, Hybrid Teas, and Hybrid Perpetuals, with whose photographs the catalogues overflow, and about whose culture so many books have been written that one might form a library of them alone. But for us, whose love and watchfulness must cover so many other flowers and whose space is limited, there are Roses, too, Roses that will give of their sweetest, tucked in among the perennials, growing among the shrubs, clambering over walls and trellises, or standing alone in long-limbed, bountiful beauty beside the garden path, and to such as these this chapter is lovingly dedicated.

Many of these are Roses of yesterday, old-fashioned, sweet-breathed, and simple, which have modestly given way before the great tide of modern beauties, retiring to out-of-the-way nooks in old gardens. Many are of more recent introduction, but have the unostentatious charm of those others; some are free, wild creatures brought to endure garden life with equanimity but keeping the native grace of their former state; and then there are the splendid host of climbers, born of the Polyantha, Wichuraiana and other types, which increase in number and in beauty with every year of work done by the hybridizers.

I do not mean to imply that these friendly Roses will thrive luxuriantly with no comforts in shallow, poor soil, or shade; nor that they are never attacked by insect or disease, nor that they will smile year after year without attention. No desirable plant would! But only that their requirements in all these matters are much less fixed than those of their high-born sisters, that they are adaptable and not exclusive. For every kindness done them they thankfully repay us in greater gifts of bloom and sweetness.  

"Many of these are roses of yesterday, old-fashioned, sweet-
breathed and simple, which have modestly given way before the
great tide of modern beauties, retiring to out-of-the-way nooks
in old gardens."

First in my affections come the old-fashioned Roses:

“For the Moss Rose and the Musk Rose,
Maiden’s Blush and royal Dusk Rose”
possess a most enduring charm. 

Many people who come into my garden have never seen the old-fashioned Roses at all, so neglected are they nowadays, but they never fail to win admiration for their fine perfume and beguiling simplicity.

The old Cabbage or Provence Rose, Rosa centifolia, is perhaps the most beautiful, the most fragrant, and the most neglected of these erstwhile favourites. I remember that there were huge, erect bushes of both the bright pink and the rarer white Provence Rose in the garden where I was a little girl. The flowers are large and full-petalled, borne on long, strong stems, and breathe an ineffable fragrance with which many a modern beauty may well crave to augment her charms. The foliage is a fine dark green and the colour of the flowers a splendid and lavish pink. The white Provence is rare and lovely, having the same full-petalled form as the pink, but less vigorous in habit and in constitution. The Provence Rose is the oldest Rose in cultivation, and its long past is an honourable one, for it has ministered, not only to the human need for beauty for hundreds of years, but was ever in demand for medicinal purposes, for perfumes, and for conserves.

The original Moss Rose was a “sport” or child of the Provence. It seems to me that there is nothing lovelier in the whole flower kingdom than a spray of Moss Rose buds, yet how seldom do we see them nowadays! The Moss Roses here are grown mainly in the Herb garden, where the erect bushes rise from a tangle of soft-toned herbs and mingle their delicate perfume with the pungent breath of their neighbours.

It is difficult to improve upon the Old Pink Moss for beauty, but just as fine are the other pink sorts: Salet, Crested Moss, Zenobia, and Comtesse de Murinais. And the white sorts, with shapely buds gleaming from their bright-green garment, seem loveliest of all. These are White Bath, Blanche Moreau, and Perpetual Moss, which blooms in bewitching clusters and is well mossed. There are also crimson sorts, but these are not so lovely. The best is Crimson Globe.

Moss Roses have one drawback, their liability to mildew, but with generous treatment and a very little trouble they may be protected from this affliction. They should be planted absolutely free from shade and never against a wall, that all the winds of heaven may sweep around them, and let their roots be set in deep, well-drained, rich soil. In spring, as soon as the leaves appear, dust them with powdered sulphur and repeat several times during the summer, especially in “spells” of damp, sunless weather.

The Damask Rose, with its large, flat, shining crimson petals and central brush of gold, is worthy a place in every garden. We have a hedge of it in the Herb garden because it was so esteemed of old in the manufacture of many pleasant things. The single blossoms yield a rare perfume, and while the bush is not so well set up and sturdy as the Provence it is very fine and glowing in its June beneficence. This Rose came from Syria to Europe in the train of the Crusaders. Of late years some beautiful hybrid Damask Roses have been introduced, but they are not yet offered by our nurserymen, save the fair Mad. Hardy, which has the Provence Rose for its other parent and resembles it more nearly. The quaint York and Lancaster Rose, with its impartial red and white stripes, is a Damask and grows into great bushes bearing freely its fragrant particoloured flowers; Rosa gallica, the Apothecaries Rose, in its striped forms, is often confused with the York and Lancaster.

In the front yard of this place, when we came here to live, we found thickets of Maiden’s Blush Roses, the Rose of Mrs. Browning’s poem, and all about the neighbourhood in the simple dooryards, pressing their flushed faces through the faded palings, are her sisters. This is a variety of Rosa alba, the White Rose of old gardens, which dates back to the sixteenth century, and which has never lost its popularity in rural neighbourhoods. Both aphis and mildew attack this Rose. We powder the bushes well with hellebore twice before the leaves are out and once after, and watch carefully for signs of mildew, so that sulphur may be given before it gets a fair start.

No discourse upon old-fashioned Roses would be complete without mention of the Chinas, those Roses which in English gardens grow in such sweet confusion among the Lavender bushes. In this climate they are neither so vigorous nor so hardy, but we have carried a bed of China Roses safely through the past three winters with only a blanket of stable litter. They are the first to bloom in late May, and continue joyously until the heat of mid-summer somewhat checks their ardour, but begin again with the dew-bathed nights of late August, and for the past two years we have had a bowl of China Roses for the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day.

Many lovely varieties have been raised from the original two brought from China many years ago — the Old Blush Monthly and the Crimson China — and none is more beautiful than those displaying esthetic blendings of pink and gold, rose and copper. Of these are Laurette Messimy, Madame Eugene Resal, Comtesse du Cayla, and Arethusa. Mrs. Bosanquet is tender blush colour, Cramoisie Superieur a fine crimson and prolific bloomer, Ducher beautiful pure white, and Hermosa a full-petalled pink. While Lavender in our climate does not grow with great vigour, we may get almost as charming an effect by using Nepeta Mussini with the China Roses, in beds or long narrow borders.

The favourite white-flowered Madame Plantier, which is classed as a hybrid China, is a splendid Rose, forming in time huge bushes, each wand-like branch wreathed with snowy, double blossoms in June. I know a beautiful garden where great bushes of this and the shining Persian Yellow Brier alternate along a long walk and create a bewildering pageant of beauty in the season of their blooming.


THE BRIERS. These are an enchanting race. Long-limbed and graceful, bearing for the most part single blossoms in lovely colours, and boasting a delicious fragrance, both of flower and leaf. They may be trained against pillars and trellises, used to form hedges, or allowed to grow, as I love them best, into great free bushes.

The Sweet-brier, or Eglantine, is too well known to need special description: its long branches starred with single pink flowers, its fragrant, “rain-scented” leafage, and its gray haws are familiar to most of us. And one would not be without a bush or two for old sakes’ sake, though the splendid race created by Lord Penzance, and named for him, of which the simple Eglantine is a parent, are in a fair way to taking its place in most gardens. They have lost nothing of the sweetness of foliage and have gained truly glorious colours — peach, blush, copper, ecru, cherry, and dazzling scarlet. These Roses are as hardy as iron and very quick growing if good soil is provided for them, and they make splendid bushes in a short time. The kinds we have here are Brenda, a delectable peach colour, with a brush of golden stamens; Lord Penzance, soft buff; Lady Penzance, burnished copper; Meg Merriles, beautiful strong crimson; Green Mantle, full pink with an inner circle of white; Flora M’Ivor, pure white, slightly flushed; Ann of Gierstein, dark crimson; Lucy Ashton, white with pink edges; Refulgence, bright scarlet, semi-double.

The Hybrid Scotch Brier Stanwell’s Perpetual has small leaves, very thorny branches, and clouds of small, double, blush-coloured Roses. A lovely Rose this, to grow in the June borders with Persian Lilacs, Flag Irises, and tall white Lupines. As it is somewhat straggling in growth it is well to plant several together, thus securing a well-rounded bush.

Of all the Brier Roses, the Austrians claim my warmest admiration. The Austrian Copper is a true Sweet Brier, with nicely scented leaf age, and bears its wonderful burnished blossoms, vermilion on the under side and yellow on the upper surface, in lavish profusion. It is the most brilliantly striking Rose of my acquaintance. It is sometimes spoken of as capricious, and I believe it is best procured on its own roots, but here in the walled garden, in good soil and a sunny position, it has so far been most flatteringly at home. The Austrian Yellow is also fine, but not so striking.

Besides the Maiden’s Blush Roses we found also in the dooryard of this old house several fine bushes of Harisoni, that simple, loose-petalled, soft yellow Rose so lavish in its “toll to passing June,” and so eloquent of old gardens and the days when simple things were the best beloved. The foliage has a faint sweet-brier fragrance, and the long, fiercely armed branches are set from end to end with semi-double Roses. Mrs. Earl says it was called the “Yellow Wreath Rose” in country neighbourhoods, which seems more apt than many plant names. The bush of Harisoni is rather straggly in habit, and I have found that planting three together, as with Stanwell’s Perpetual, secures a better form.

The Persian Yellow Rose is more conspicuous, more double, and more golden than Harisoni, but has the same wreathlike growth, the long branches being literally weighted to the ground with their yellow burden. The term “Austrian,” as applied to these Roses, is misleading, as they are Oriental in origin. Harisoni was raised in this country in the early part of the nineteenth century. Its parents are said to be the Austrian Yellow and a Scotch Brier. These yellow briers are lovely planted in wide borders with white and purple Persian Lilacs, lavender and white and buff Flag Irises, pink and white and blue Lupines, and bushes of hoary Southernwood and Rue, with Nepeta and Stachys lanata along the front.

ROSA RUGOSA. Few gardens are without one or more representatives of the fine Rugosa class. ‘While this good and reliable Rose was introduced to the gardening world as long ago as 1784, it was not until about thirty years ago that the hybridists took in hand the single white and crimson sorts first introduced from Japan, and with their magic produced the beautiful double and semi-double sorts which gladden the gardens of to-day. These Roses are so hardy, so free from insect pests or disease, so unexacting in their demands, that perhaps we do not thank them enough for the esthetic value of the great loosely made blossoms, the unusual character of their fragrance, the polished, dark-green foliage, or their gift to winter, the plump scarlet haws.

I am particularly fond of Blanc Double de Coubert, which bears, I think, the whitest flowers in the world. It blooms early and all summer, and is often the last Rose in the garden in autumn. Madame Georges Bruant is another splendid paper-white sort of fine form. Nova Zembla is white, double, and very sweet-scented and is particularly fine in the bud. Conrad F. Meyer is a lovely silvery pink Rose, long and perfect in the bud, and fragrant. It is tall growing and makes a good pillar Rose. A deep wine-red sort is Souvenir de Pierre Leperdrieux which lacks the magenta hint so often present in the red Roses of this type.

Rugosa Roses make fine hedges and may be planted close together and clipped, but for this purpose the common alba and rubra are most suitable. The Hybrid sorts maybe grown among shrubs as free-growing bushes or trained against a wall or low trellis.

WILD ROSES. Some of these make fine subjects for the shrubbery, or for thickets along drives, or walks, or for covering unsightly banks. Most of them are unexacting in the matter of soil and situation, and thrive with little attention. One of the prettiest is the Scotch or Burnet Rose (Rosa spinosissima), a shrub not more than four or five feet high, with long, recurving, fiercely thorny branches set with tender, creamy-white flowers, Much resembling it, but a step nearer perfection, is its relative or variety, R. altaica, of Central Asia, a truly lovely thing; and there is R. hispida, another brier-like relative with lemon-white blossoms.

R. lucida grows into nice thickets, and its brown branches and gay fruit are welcome in the winter world. In summer it decks itself in fine, luxuriant foliage and gleaming pink blossoms. R. blanda makes a good-sized bush, flowering in clusters of pink flowers, and is well adapted for covering dry banks.

Besides these there are R. arvensis, single pink flowers and a widely rambling habit; R. setigera, our long-branched Prairie Rose, late blooming and with magenta tendencies; R. rubrifolia, with rambling stems covered with a purplish bloom, and leaves tinted to match the little reddish flowers; and the Dog Rose (R. canina), with its pretty, scentless blooms and long, straggling branches.


CLIMBERS. We now come to the glorious array of Climbing Roses. Each year sees new beauties presented for our approval, and the difficulty is to find space wherein to grow all that we would like.

The wonder is that with all the long-limbed loveliness at our disposal there are so many walls, porches, fences, and arbours but scantily clothed, if clothed at all, and considering the enormous variety of Climbing Roses to be had how little originality and fitness is shown in the selections made. The poor overworked Crimson Rambler is the favourite, and is forced to blaze its unadaptable colour upon red brick walls, or pumpkin-coloured houses, without a chance to show its possibilities. In the right place it is a good Rose, save for its propensity to mildew, and it should be honoured as the first of a race which gives us now many more desirable sorts. The Crimson Rambler is a multiflora, and to this type and to the Wichuraianas we owe the major part of our Climbing Roses, though we have also Hybrid Teas, Hybrid Perpetuals, Teas, Ayrshires, Noisettes, Chinas, and Prairie Roses.

Many of the recent introductions and some of the very old ones are single or semi-double, and we are coming to realize and appreciate the esthetic value of these simple shining flowers. For many years multiplication of petals, the more the better, was the end aimed at by the Rose conjurers, and in a little book published in Philadelphia, in 1830, by Robert Buist, florist, I note the following: “Although there may be great beauty in simplicity, yet to the admirers of the Rose, singleness is a great objection.”

The best results will be secured from Climbing Roses by digging a hole at least two feet deep and the same square and filling it in with a mixture of good earth and well-rotted cow manure. All Roses are better in a soil on the side of heaviness, so that if the soil where they are to be planted is light and sandy it is best not put back in the hole at all. The plant should be set in the hole with the roots well spread out and the soil pressed firmly about them, otherwise high winds will loosen its hold and damage our prospects of a fine display. A handful of bone meal scratched in on the top when the hole is filled up gives the young Rose a good start. The plant should be well pruned, tops and roots, before planting, and kept from drying out entirely for a few weeks. They may be set out early in the spring or in the fall. For very hardy sorts fall planting is perhaps the most satisfactory, but for Teas, Hybrid Teas, and Noisettes spring planting is safer. Farmyard manure is the best possible fertilizer for Roses. In the spring we turn back the soil and scratch in a little well-rotted stuff about the roots, and after the flowering period is past they receive a reward of merit in the form of a little wood ashes, or a handful of bone meal. The Roses here given require no winter covering, save in the case of the few noted, but a blanket of stable litter is a comfort and encouragement to all.

The following is a list of thirty varieties which grow in my own garden and which are both beautiful and reliable. For those wanting not so many I have marked the twelve best with an asterisk (*). The abbreviations are Poly. = Polyantha or properly Multiflora. Wich. = Wichuraiana. H. T. = Hybrid Tea. T. = Tea. H. P. = Hybrid Perpetual. H. C. = Hybrid China. Ayr. = Ayrshire.


Silver Moon* (Wich.). Rich foliage, large deep cream semi-double flowers, long and beautiful in the bud. Very vigorous.
François Guillot
(Wich.). Deep cream flat double flowers, yellow in bud.
(Wich.). Brilliant, scarlet-pink, white eye, large clusters, single.
Alberic Barbier*
(Wich.). Creamy-white, buds yellow, semi-double. Very vigorous.
La Fiamma*
(Wich.). Brilliant flame-rose, single. Very, vigorous.
Waltham Rambler
(Poly.). Soft pink, large clusters, single. Lovely.
Dorothy Perkins*
(Wich.). Clusters of bright pink, very double flowers, late. Very vigorous.
Newport Fairy*
(Wich.). Large clusters of shell-like pale pink flowers. Yellow at base. Exquisite. Vigorous.
Mrs. F. W. Flight*
(Poly.). Large clusters of soft pink flowers, white eye.
Dr. Van Flee
t* (Wich.). Large double shrimp pink, fine in bud, exquisite.
(Poly.). Pink and white. Large trusses. Semi-single.
Eliza Robichon
(Wich.). Pink and buff, semi-double.
Empress of China*
( — ). Like clusters of apple blossoms. Vigorous.
Bennett’s Seedling
(Ayr.). Many pure-white double blossoms. Vigorous.
Lyon Rambler
(Poly.). Brilliant cerise. Huge trusses. Vigorous. 
(Poly.). Creamy-white, yellow centre. Semi-double, constant bloomer. Vigorous.
Blush Rambler
(Poly.). Pale pink, very sweet.
American Pillar*
(Poly.). Striking cerise-pink, white eye. Fine single.
Paul’s Carmine Pillar*
(H. T.). Gorgeous single blooms.
Félicité Perpétue
(Ayr.). Charming creamy-white.
(Wich.). Lovely pink, single. Thick, fine foliage.
Climbing Kaiserin Augusta Victoria
(H. T.). White double.
Climbing Frau Karl Druschki
(H. P.). Huge double white flowers.
Edmond Proust
(Wich.). Coppery-red. Fine. Vigorous.
Pink Roamer
(Wich.). Large silvery pink and white single.
(Poly.). Pale yellow, changing to white, semi-double.
Dundee Rambler
(Ayr.). White, pink edges. Very vigorous.
The Garland
(Ayr.). Warm white and free flowering.
Wm. C. Egan
(Poly.). Bright pink, very double.
Climbing Capt. Christy
(H. T.). Lovely shade of pink.

 Such lovely tender Roses as Reine Marie Henriette, William Allen Richardson, and Gloire de Dijon I am able to enjoy in our severe climate by laying them on the ground in winter and covering them with straw and a warm blanket of manure over the roots.

In severe winters the Ayrshires are sometimes winter-pruned, but the summer growth is so vigorous that it is of small moment.

PRUNING. The pruning of Roses is a matter on which doctors do not always agree, but the following methods have proved satisfactory to my Roses and have been gleaned from the most reliable sources. Every gardener should study his Roses and know well their ways before he attempts to prune, save in the lightest manner. No exact general directions may be given, but a safe rule is to prune vigorous Roses lightly and weak-growing Roses hard, also to remove all dead wood, or broken twigs, and to cut away all faded blossoms, removing at the same time a bit of stem and a leaf or two. We prune first to force sap into the new shoots, thus insuring a good crop of flowers, and second to maintain a shapely bush. With this latter point in view, it is well to prune to a dormant bud pointing outward, so that the new shoots will not point toward the centre of the bush, making a tangled, unmanageable growth.

Pruning is best done in early March before the sap begins to run.

     Provence and Moss Roses. Cut out dead wood, thin out old heavy shoots, and cut back all remaining shoots halfway.
     Damask and Gallica. Thin out weak, ineffectual shoots and cut the strong ones back to about one foot.
     Rosa Alba (Maiden’s Blush). Should be grown as tall, spreading bushes. Remove some of the weak shoots and occasionally cut out old, crowded wood. Leave the main branches long, shortening only a little.
     Chinas. Should be cut back sharply to about eighteen inches from the ground.
     Hybrid China (Mad. Plantier). Best grown as free bushes leaving the shoots six feet long, shortening only the laterals and side branches, and cutting out old wood occasionally.
     Sweet Briers. Require little pruning, but all old and tough wood should be cut to the ground to make room for young growth; weak shoots removed. No harm is done in shortening the very long shoots if they are in the way.
     Scotch Briers. No pruning save the removal of dead wood.
     Austrian Briers. No pruning save the removal of dead wood.
    Rugosas. No pruning save the removal of dead wood and the occasional cutting back, almost to the ground, of very old wood.
     Wild Roses. No pruning save the removal of dead wood.
     Climbers. I quote Miss Jekyll’s, “Roses for English Gardens”:

 “In the spring these need very little attention beyond securing the best shoots in the positions they are required to occupy, and to shorten back, or remove altogether, any other shoots which may not be required at all. Within July, however, all the strong-growing Roses should be examined, and every year some of the shoots which have flowered be entirely removed and the best of the strong-growing young growths encouraged to take their place, cutting out altogether those not needed.”

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