It is much more difficult to grow good roses than to grow either
chrysanthemums or carnations. They are more particular as to soil and as
to temperature, and more quickly affected by insects and disease.
Nevertheless there is no reason why the amateur
who is willing to be
painstaking should not succeed with the hardier varieties. Some roses
are much more easily grown than others. Plants may be grown from
cuttings of the ripened wood, which should have become too hard to
comply with the "snapping test" (see page 30) used for most other
plants. By far the best way for the beginner, however, is to buy from
the nurserymen or florist. This is especially true of the many sorts
which do better when grafted on a strong growing stock.
There are two ways of buying the plants: either in the dormant state, or
growing, out of pots. In the first way you get the dry roots and canes
(2-year olds) from the nursery as early as possible in the spring and
set them in nine-inch pots to plunge outdoors, or boxes, allowing 6 x 6
to 12 inches for room if you want them for use in the house in the
winter. Cut back one-half at time of planting, and after watering to
bring the soil to the right degree of moisture, go very light with it
until the plants begin active growth, when it is gradually increased. As
with chrysanthemums, as the plants get large, fertilizers and liquid
manure must be given to maintain the supply of plant food. Let the
plants stay out when cold weather comes, until the leaves have dropped
and then store until December or January in a cold dry place where they
will not be frozen too hard or exposed to repeated thawings--a trial
that few plants can survive. Bring into warmth as required.
The above treatment is for plants for the house. For the greenhouse
bench get plants that are growing. They should be clean and healthy, in
four-or five-inch pots. They are set 12 x 12 to 12 x 16 inches apart,
depending upon whether the variety is a very robust grower. The best
time for setting is April to July first, according to season in which it
is desired to get most bloom. As a rule early planting is the more
One of the most important points in success with roses is to provide
thorough drainage. Even when raised beds are used, as will generally be
the case in small houses, wide cracks should be left every six inches or
so. If the house is low, room may be saved by making a "solid" bed
directly upon the ground, putting in seven or eight inches of prepared
soil on top of two or three inches of clinkers, small stone or gravel.
The preparation of the soil is also a matter of great importance. It
should be rather "heavy," that is, with considerably more clay than
average plant soil. Five parts rotted loam sod, to one to two parts
rotted cow manure, is a good mixture. It should be thoroughly composted
and rotted up. When filling the bench press well down and if possible
give time to settle before putting in the plants.
The plants should be set in firmly. Keep shaded and syringe daily in the
morning until well established. Great care must be taken to guard
against any sudden changes, so that it is best to give ventilation
gradually and keep a close watch of temperature, which should be kept
from fifty-five to fifty-eight at night in cold weather.
Care should be taken to water early in the morning, that the leaves may
dry off by night. At the same time it is well to keep the atmosphere as
moist as possible to prevent trouble from the red spider (see page 134)
which is perhaps the greatest enemy of the rose under glass.
As large growth is reached, liquid manure or extra food in the form of
dry fertilizer must be given, a good mixture for the latter being 1 lb.
of nitrate of soda, one of sulphate of potash and ten of fine bone. Wood
ashes sprinkled quite thick upon the soil and worked in are also good.
As the plants grow tall, they will have to be given support by tying
either to stakes or wires. It is well to pick off the first buds also,
so that mature growth may be made before they begin to flower heavily.
The plants should at all times be kept scrupulously clean.
The roses suited for growing in pots or boxes, to be dried off and
brought into heat in January or February, are the hybrid perpetuals, and
the newer ramblers, Crimson, Baby White and Baby Pink.
For growing in benches, as described, the teas are used. Among the best
of the standard sorts of these are Bride, Perle, Kaiserin Augusta
Victoria, Bridesmaid, Pres. Carnot, Meteor, Killarney. New sorts are
constantly being tried, and some of these are improvements over old
sorts. The catalogues give full description.
For growing at a low temperature, fifty-five degrees or so, the
following are good: Wootton, Papa Gontier, red; Perle, yellow;
Bridesmaid, large pink; Mad. Cousin, small pink; Bride, white. The above
will make a good collection for the beginner to try his or her hand
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