Such late Roses, however, are apt to get sadly battered, nor can we always safely reckon upon them. It is a happy thing, then, for the mere Rose-lover that very many of the most beautiful Roses can be grown on their own roots, and cuttings may be struck which will make satisfactory plants by those who know nothing of the intricacies of budding, grafting, and the like delicate operations. Catherine Mermet, for example, one of the most charming of Tea Roses, will grow very easily from a slip taken off with a " heel," and inserted in sandy soil under a bell-glass ; or it will even put forth roots in a small jug of water, into which a bit of charcoal has been dropped to keep it fresh.
The main secret is to take the slip or cutting in the right condition. Generally speaking, the end of the branch from which a flower has been cut, slipped off at the juncture with the stem, will be in exactly the half-ripened state most promising for successful rooting. It is true that own-root Roses take some time to grow into large plants, but an established bush is a precious possession and will go on for years. Cuttings may be put in out of doors from June to October-the earlier ones rooting the same season, while the later will break away in the spring. Such rooted cuttings make a good foundation for pot plants, and will give flowers, if properly cared for, during six months, more or less, of the year when the garden outside is bare.
The routine of Rose culture is a large subject, and cannot, of course, be fully entered upon in a short chapter the chief object of which is to be suggestive. One main point in the preparation of pot roses for winter flowering must, however, be in the unheated greenhouse-referred to here-the removal of every bud which forms during August and September, when the second flowering of both Tea Roses and hybrid Perpetuals may be naturally looked for out of doors.
During the summer all pot Roses that have flowered in the cold greenhouse should be plunged in suitable quarters outside, so that they may make new growth and ripen their wood, and it is during the latter part of this period that they must be watched in respect of disbudding. In fact, our winter Roses will be in proportion to the judicious care and attention bestowed upon them, in watering, mulching, and so forth during this important resting-time.
When they are brought under shelter again, in October, there will then be strength to produce some welcome winter flowers, and though these may open somewhat slowly from want of sunlight during November and December, they will increase as the days grow longer and brighter. One way of getting extra vigorous plants from young-rooted cuttings is to shift them at once-either from the open ground or from pots-into those in which they are to flower, and which may be from 6 in. to 8 in. in size, plunging them during the summer in a gentle hot-bed made up of leaves and stable manure, giving at the same time a liberal top-dressing to each, but leaving the stems and foliage in full exposure to light and sun.
After some weeks the heating material may be renewed, if the object be to obtain strong specimen plants quickly. The pots must not be removed too suddenly from the plunging material, as the roots will suffer if they are not gradually hardened off. I have tried a similar plan with other plants besides Roses, and have found it answer extremely well.
There is no doubt that for the highest success in Rose-growing for winter- and spring-flowering they should have a house to themselves, however small it may be. The construction of an unheated Rose house is a matter of importance, and depends upon the mode of culture decided upon, for Roses may be grown either entirely in pots or planted out in borders.
In the latter case the lights should he removable, so that they may be taken off entirely during the summer-otherwise the Roses cannot thrive. A span-roofed house with an aspect from north to south, and resting on low walls, is the best form to adopt, whether for Roses in pots or in beds. When there is a border at each side it is a great temptation to plant some of the delightful Noisettes and climbing Roses in order to make use of the roof-space, but my own experience and that of others agree in condemning this plan, as it makes the centre of the house practically useless by over-shading. It is, nevertheless, not impossible to have climbing Roses, even of vigorous sorts, where there is house-room, for they can be grown and will flower well in pots or tubs, and these can be turned out into summer quarters when the proper time arrives.
On the whole, it is more satisfactory in a general way to grow Roses in pots, because they can be brought into the conservatory when in flower or placed in any other position where they can best be appreciated ; while the Rose house during the summer may be utilised, if need be, for the production of tomatoes.
But a Rose-house, after all, is a luxury by no means indispensable, and we may do very well without one. Yet it is advisable to grow a good many plants-and by striking our own cuttings we can increase our stock without any limit save that of convenience-so that by slight variations of treatment the different batches may come into flower in succession.
Some may be plunged in their pots ; others, again, may be planted out in a sunny reserve-bed, and lifted and re-potted in October, which will retard them slightly, and disbudding may be stopped earlier or later. In this way there will be no difficulty in having Gloire de Dijon, or Souvenir de la Malmaison, or Mrs. Bosanquet, and some of the China Roses in flower from November to March, without any forcing, with others to follow in April and May.
It is not every Rose that will do well on
its own roots, but the most suitable for growing in pots to flower in
the cold greenhouse will be found mostly amongst the China and Tea Roses
and their hybrids. The old pink Monthly Rose and the crimson Cramoisie
Superieure are never de trop, and will help to bridge over the darkest
winter days. Catherine Mermet and her somewhat numerous progeny-the Bride,
Bridesmaid, &c. -are all admirable (though not over vigorous) and
deserve all the pains we can take with them. Marechal Niel, of course,
cannot be omitted, and roots very easily. It is generally grown as a climber,
but this method has its disadvantages, and unless there should be a house
devoted to climbing Roses, which is delightful when it can be done, it
may be just as well to try other ways.
General Jacqueminot, however, cannot be omitted, and Ulrich Brunner and Mrs. John Laing, all Hybrid Perpetuals, should do well. These may find a place in the most modest greenhouse, and will give untold pleasure. I had some Roses early in April which were lifted, as an experiment, from the cutting-bed as late as February 12, and brought into an unheated but sheltered greenhouse. These, without any previous preparation, made wonderful growth and are well set with buds already showing colour.
They are planted for a special purpose in painted margarine-tubs, which I may commend to the notice of other gardeners as being useful and handy for many like purposes. This little bit of experience tends to show that fewer difficulties exist in growing pot Roses than we might suppose. In fact, it is no use waiting until everything we read of in books as essential is ready to hand. Now and then, and more often indeed than is supposed, a great success will reward very scanty opportunities, and my advice to a novice is to make a beginning by striking as many cuttings as possible. By so doing, we shall soon find out the best varieties to grow and the best method of cultivating those which we find will adapt themselves best to our own special circumstances.