Suitable rose varieties for your garden

A broad division of roses into two great natural classes may be made:

  1. Summer flowering
  2. Summer and autumn flowering

While certain individual roses may be picked out as typifying the many groups into which these classes are again subdivided, such minute classification is not a practical one nowadays. The border lines have been overlapped in all directions so that for garden purposes a broader significance can be given to many of the old-time larger groups, ignoring the finer distinctions of the hair-splitting rosarians.

For the average amateur, an acquaintance with the Hybrid Tea, Tea, Hybrid Perpetual, Polyantha, and Rugosa, with also the Wichuraiana and Multiflora hardy climbers, is all that is necessary, plus a little attention to certain of the species roses, and the hybrids, such as Hugonis, spinosissima, and the Briers.

It will be found quite difficult to separate the groups, inasmuch as continuous cross-breeding has inextricably mingled the various primary strains.

Features of the more important groups

The analysis which follows is in alphabetical order, not in order of importance.

  • BANKSIA—Habit: Climbing, slender; rapid grower. Foliage: Dark green, glossy, often only three leaflets. Prickles: None. Flowers: Small (one inch across) in umbels, once in the season—May. Culture: In open air in the South and in California, only in rich soil; in greenhouses in the North. Prune very sparingly. Type: Yellow (scented like violets).
  • BENGAL OR CHINA (The so-called "Monthly" Rose)—Habit: Moderate, branching growth two to four feet high. Foliage: Glaucous green, dark above, pale beneath, three to seven leaflets. Prickles: Brownish red. Flowers: Profuse when well grown. Not fragrant. Small. Produced all summer. Culture: Rich soil. Prune close. Type: Agrippina. (Almost wholly superseded by Hybrid Tea forms such as Gruss an Teplitz and Ecarlate.)
  • BOURBON—Habit: Vigorous. Intermediate between Bengal and Damask, with great range. Foliage: Dark, lustrous, seven leaflets. Prickles: Various. Flowers: Light shades, generally with some purple, and produced in clusters all summer (some few do not bloom freely in autumn). Culture: Rich soil. Prune closely. Moderately hardy. Type: Hermosa.
  • BRIERS—Austrian, Scotch, Sweet, Penzance. Habit: Short jointed, branching freely, growing to from three to five feet in height. Foliage: Small, spiny, fragrant in Sweetbrier. Prickles: Abundant, except in alpine. Flowers: Small. Yellow and copper in Austrian. Short lived. Bloom once. Culture: Scotch grows well in sandy soil. Sweetbriers like a heavy rich soil. Prune by removing some of the oldest shoots. All are hardy. Do not respond greatly to high cultivation. Type: Rosa spinosissima.
    Austrian Briers have chocolate-brown bark. Demand dry soil. Flowers, yellow to copper. Type: Harison's Yellow.
    Scotch Roses are excessively spiny and sucker freely. They form rounded low bushes. Sweetbriers have fragrant foliage and decorative fruits. Flowers: Light coloured and small.
    Penzance Hybrid Sweetbriers are hybrids from the Sweetbrier in many varieties. Lord Penzance is the prettiest in colour. They should have a high trellis and be at least eight feet apart, or should be allowed to make masses without a trellis. To prune, shorten back the over-vigorous growth and remove some of the oldest shoots.
  • DAMASK AND FRENCH—Habit: Robust green shoots, vigorous grower. Foliage: Five to seven leaflets, downy, coriaceous. Pale green in Damask, dark green in French. Prickles: Very numerous in Damask; slightly fewer in French. Flowers: Generally flat. Those of French Rose bleach in sunlight and develop perfume in dried petals. Damask Rose loses scent on drying. Flower once. Culture: Suited to any soil, very hardy. Prune by thinning out the abundant shoots. Generally superseded by hybrids of other groups.
    Hybrid French are less robust, with smoother, short-jointed wood.
    Hybrid China, derived from French, Provence, Noisette, or Bourbon. More diffuse growth, foliage shining, enduring late in the season. Very hardy, adapted to poor soils. Prune but slightly. Type: Mme. Plantier.
  • EVERGREEN (Sempervirens)—Habit: Climbing. Very vigorous. Reddish bark. Foliage: Dark green, retained late in the season. Seven leaflets, glabrous. Prickles: Hooked. Flowers: Scanty in corymbs, once in June. Culture: Hardy. Prune by cutting out entirely shoots that need thinning. Is now virtually obsolete, being superseded by the Wichuraiana and the Multiflora hardy climbers.
  • HYBRID PERPETUAL—For a generation and until the Hybrid Teas were evolved in the attempts to improve the Hybrid Perpetuals these were the most important group for general garden cultivation. They yet provide dependable roses where the others are not hardy, and their burst of June bloom in great flowers is unexcelled. For practical purposes of the amateur all the sundry roses which bloom once in the summer and again more or less intermittently in the autumn are now included here. Habit: Various. Generally stiff, upright, sometimes inclined to pendulous. Foliage: Dull green, wrinkled, not shiny. Prickles: Various, generally strong and fairly abundant. Flowers: Of all types, partaking of Tea, Damask, French, Bourbon, etc., produced in summer and autumn.
    Culture: Good garden soil, rich and deep, inclined to heavy. Prune by cutting back, according to habit; if very vigorous, prune less severely than if weak, as heavy pruning tends too much to wood production. Examples: Mme. Gabriel Luizet, Gen. Jacqueminot, Frau Karl Druschki. (The last-named is a true Hybrid Perpetual, though it blooms far more frequently than the average.)
  • HYBRID TEA—The most popular roses for all-round cultivation in the garden and under glass. Habit: Intermediate between that of the Tea and Hybrid Perpetual. Foliage: Rougher than in the Teas and slightly wrinkled; not so rough as in the Hybrid Perpetuals. Prickles: Generally large and strong, though not very abundant. Occasionally very few. Flowers: Of various types, generally well formed, with a large number of petals and an elongated bud; usually fragrant. Blooms throughout the season on the new growth of the current year. Culture: Same as for the Teas, except that as a class they require less protection. Examples: Killarney, Gruss an Teplitz, Radiance.
  • MULTIFLORA HYBRIDS (The so-called Rambler roses)—Habit: Climbing or recurving; very vigorous, green shoots. Foliage: Bright green, slightly hairy, serrate, nine leaflets. Prickles: Abundant and strong. Flowers: In pyramidal corymbs, once in the season. Culture: Good, rich garden soil. Prune by cutting out old canes that have flowered; prune young canes only for shaping. Type: Crimson Rambler, TausendschOn. This group has been freely hybridised with other climbing roses and with many Tea and Hybrid Tea roses, and is in consequence very uncertainly defined. It includes many very admirable and beautiful hardy climbing roses.
  • MUSK AND NOISETTE—Habit: Slender shoots, half climbing, six feet in height. Foliage: Shiny, usually pubescent beneath, five to seven leaflets. Prickles: Moderate in quantity, hooked, reddish. Flowers: Pale colours, including the best yellows, very fragrant, generally in clusters. Culture: Good garden soil; requires slight protection in winter. Treated generally as the Teas; not hardy North. Prune moderately. Type: Cloth of Gold (Chromatella), as grown in California or Florida. The famous Marechal Neil is included in the Noisette class.
  • POLYANTHA—The miscalled "Baby Ramblers." Habit: Dwarf, bushy, compact, seldom growing over eighteen to twenty-four inches. Foliage: Predominantly of the Multiflora character. Flowers: In pyramidal corymbs, lasting long, and produced throughout the season. Culture: Needs rich soil and intensive culture. Prune by occasional trimming out of the older canes and by cautious shaping of the rounded head. This group is quite modern, and might more truly be called everblooming than any other. They are closely related to the Multiflora type, and seem to be, in fact, hybrids of R. multiflora carnea and R. multiflora minima with other modern varieties. The Polyanthas are of great value for garden use. Examples: Orleans, Tip-Top, Marie Pavic.
  • PRAIRIE—Habit: Climbing, rapid growing. Foliage: Five to seven leaflets, dark green, rough, large. Prickles: Stout and moderately numerous. Flowers: In clusters, once, late in the season. Culture: Any garden soil. The Prairie Roses thrive over a great extent of territory. They are now superseded by the modern climbing hybrids with flowers of greater variety in colour and form. Prune but slightly, cutting out old canes as necessary. Type: Baltimore Belle.
  • PROVENCE—Habit: Branching, pendulous and straggling. Foliage: Large, broad, wrinkled, deeply serrate. Seven leaflets, generally. Prickles: Sometimes fine and straight, sometimes coarse and hooked. Flowers: Large, globular, with a great number of petals. Very fragrant. Blooms once only; now seldom seen and but rarely obtainable. Culture: Rich soil; prune closely, unless very vigorous. Type: the old Centifolia or "Cabbage" Rose.
    Sub-varieties: The Moss Roses are in the Provence class. Fragrant both in flower and in the peculiar glands which make up the "moss." Examples: Blanche Moreau, Cristata.
  • RUCOSA—Habit: Dense bushes, short jointed. Foliage: Shiny, much wrinkled, very dark green, remarkably free from insect pests. Prickles: Numerous and stout, but small. Flowers: Single or double, produced intermittently throughout the season. Pink or white, followed by handsome fruits. Culture: Does well in any garden soil and is well adapted for seaside planting. Prune by cutting out nearly all old wood and shortening the remainder. Examples: S
    Rosa rugosa, Red and White; Mme. Georges Bruant, Conrad F. Meyer, and other Hybrid Rugosas. A late class shows a cross between Rugosa and the Polyanthas in F. J. Grootendorst, described as "a Rugosa rose with the flowers of a red carnation."
  • SPECIES—Habit: Varied with the characters of the particular native or natural species. Always hardy where found; blooming but once and usually with single flowers in white or shades of pink. Valuable in borders or shrubberies and for roadside and protective planting. Examples: Rugosa, Wichuraiana, spinosissima, lucida, Hugonis, Moyesi, setigera, rubiginosa.
  • TEA—Habit: Slender growing bushes, branching freely. Bark smooth, shiny. Foliage: Smooth, shiny, never rough or hairy. Young growths often copper coloured. Prickles: Moderately abundant, or almost absent in some varieties. Flowers: In all the colours of roses: of varied form, often with long and pointed buds; fragrant. Produced on the new wood as it forms throughout the entire season—a really perpetual class. Culture: Very rich soil, thoroughly well drained. Protection in winter is necessary except in the real South or in California. In the climate of the East and North the Teas are hardy only when protected. Prune by cutting back hard. Examples: Alexander Hill Gray, Maman Cochet.
  • WICHURAIANA HYBRIDS—Habit: Climbing usually, rarely creeping as in the type; of great vigour. Foliage: Varying with the pollen parent, but usually large, with small leaflets, deep green, glossy, with seven to nine leaflets. Flowers: Large and small, the former equalling in size and beauty the best Hybrid Teas and the latter in the way of the Multiflora hybrids; colour from white and yellow to deepest pink and carmine; sometimes slightly fragrant. Culture: Grows in any good soil, and in all but shaded situations. Prune out the older canes after flowering, and remove new growth that overcrowds. This group is of great importance, and includes the best climbing roses of the day. Examples: Dr. W. Van Fleet, Lady Gay, Climbing American Beauty, American Pillar.

When roses bloom

The Hybrid Perpetual varieties have one great period of bloom, from about June 5th to July 5th. If judiciously cut back after blooming, some additional flowers may be expected in mid-autumn, especially on some varieties as Frau Karl Druschki.
The Provence and Damask Roses bloom only once, usually between June 5th and July 5th.

The Teas, the Hybrid Teas, and the Bourbons have two distinct periods of bloom, attending their new growth, namely, from early June to mid-July and again from the beginning of September until cut down by frost. Some varieties bloom all season as they grow if kept in health.

The China (or Bengal) and Polyantha roses bloom off and on at intervals throughout the season. Few of them attain to any great size of flower, and most of the Polyanthas bloom in clusters of miniature roses, which last long on the plant. But both are very desirable to show continual bloom, and no garden of any size should be without them.

The Rugosas and their hybrids bloom in early summer, and less abundantly throughout the growing season. (The hybrid F. J. Grootendorst blooms continually.) Owing to their very bushy and heavy growth, they should be in separate beds. Four feet between plants will be none too much.

The Multiflora and the Wichuraiana hybrid climbers bloom only in the great June burst of roses, though a judicious selection of varieties will give full six weeks of bloom.

There are Climbing Teas that bloom about as their type, though usually less abundantly. The species roses bloom but once.

The Chinese Hugonis comes often in May, and the species available in America will cover two months of bloom.

pinosissima, especially the variety altaica, blooms early in June.

Polyantha roses bloom throughout the growing season, for the most part as above noted.

The hardiest races

The Hybrid Perpetuals and the Rugosas are absolutely hardy in the latitude of New York and for some distance north, and require no protection. Polyanthas do not need much, and indeed usually get along well enough without any overcoat.

The Species are generally hardy; Hugonis, for example, has endured zero temperatures unharmed. If the owner is satisfied with a single month of bloom and cannot devote the necessary time and attention to protecting other varieties, then all the roses should be selected from among the Hybrid Perpetuals, the Rugosas, and the hardy climbers.

In any case, start with the very best field-grown plants that can be found. Inferior stock is dear at any price.

The hardy climbing roses

A list of varieties made for an earlier edition of this book included less than a score of commended varieties of climbing roses, some of which were confessedly not hardy. The attention paid to hardy climbing roses after Crimson Rambler became firmly established in the United States, and the delightful hybrids resulting from the free crossing of various Hybrid Tea and other large-flowered roses with Wichuraiana and Multiflora, often in the second and third generations, have made the list of available hardy climbers a long and interesting one.

One contemporary catalogue lists 108 varieties of Wichuraiana and Multiflora parentage, independent of the many Climbing Hybrid Teas, Noisettes, etc., also available. It is probably within the truth to say that well on toward two hundred distinct varieties of vigorous-growing climbing roses that are hardy in some part of the United States are in commerce at this time.

The early climbers rested on the Prairie Rose type, until the wonderful Chinese Rose first called "Engineer" when sent into England reappeared as "Crimson Rambler" and was extensively disseminated in the United States. Indeed, it was too extensively disseminated, because its presence in great vigour in some places has kept out many better roses.

The hardy climbers of the day furnish a superb resource, not only as climbers but as attractive objects trained on pillars, as desirable items in the hardy border among shrubs if given a little attention, and as effective fence covers and embankment protections.

In the latter relation they have assumed a peculiar efficiency, for along the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, as well as along the Pennsylvania Railroad, miles of sloping embankments are held in place through the hardy roses that are there entrenched, providing in bloom time an extremely beautiful display, and all the rest of the season a rich showing of foliage far superior to that possible with ordinary sward, even if it were practicable to keep the latter in order, as it is not.

These modern hardy climbers may broadly be divided into two sections, independent of the additional section not definitely hardy over the larger part of the territory, generally called Climbing Hybrid Teas.

The Multiflora type, characterized by the crossing of various roses with Rosa multiflora, is most in evidence in Crimson Rambler, though a far finer representative is the superb rose TausendschOn. Generally the Multiflora climbers tend to flower in clusters, and to show in these great clusters blooms of relatively smaller size and in all shades from deep crimson to white, without the establishment as yet of a definite yellow.

Even the Polyantha form of Rosa multiflora has ventured into the climbing class, as evidenced in the notable rose, Climbing Orleans, which carries the floriferous disposition of the Polyantha class into a rampant upright growth altogether pleasing in foliage and in flower.

The greater advance seems to have been made in the use of the Wichuraiana base, carrying with it mildew-resistant foliage tending to be glossy and richly green, and an admirable habit of large blooms, whether the hybrid be primary or secondary.

Perhaps the topnotch of quality in this section is seen in the rose Dr. W. Van Fleet, a hybrid between Rosa Wichuraiana and the Hybrid Tea Rose Souvenir du President Carnot. It provides, together with its tremendously vigorous habit, able often to send up shoots fifteen to twenty feet long in a single season, blooms of Tea rose separateness and delicacy abundantly produced in its one blooming period.

The same class has brought in fragrance in some cases, and all the colours known to the rose, even including definite yellow tones and the beginning of the copper hues characteristic of the Austrian Brier origin of the Pernetiana Hybrid Teas.

The development has likewise produced wonderful single-flowered roses among the hardy climbers, chief of which, perhaps, is American Pillar, a cross between R. Wichuraiana and R. setigera. These single roses are both bold and delicate, both brilliant and refined, in the various varieties ranging through a lovely colour gamut from crimson to white.

There has also been introduced a wonderful scarlet strain through Paul's Scarlet Climber, and a deeper scarlet through Dr. Huey, the latter an American hybrid bringing in the colour of Gruss an Teplitz through a second-generation Wichuraiana cross.
It is not deemed appropriate here to list these modern hardy climbers, because the varieties change and constantly improve through the attention of American and European rosarians. Current rose catalogues and the Annuals of the American Rose Society will readily inform the inquiring rosarian of the best varieties from year to year, and of the advances in this notably interesting and important class.

It is here in point to suggest uses for these hardy climbing roses, in addition to their primary use of covering trellises and fences, of clambering over doorways and arches, and of making out of an old tree a beacon of flaming beauty in the blooming season.

The hardy climbers, or most of them, may readily be trained as pillars of any height within very easy reach, usually less than seven or eight feet. So treated they are annually renewed by cutting away all old growth and choosing four or five or even more of the new shoots for the succeeding season's bloom.

Another use of these hardy climbers is to plant them in the edge of a shrub border, tying up the shoots in fan shape for a year or two, and as they grow twining them in on each other until there results a graceful balloon-formed plant able to sustain itself, richly decorative in foliage all the growing year, and notably beautiful in bloom.

Sometimes these hardy climbers have been worked as standard or tree roses, in which form they give an effective head of bloom, but once in the season it is true, yet extremely attractive then.

Mention has been made heretofore of the advantage of these hardy climbers for covering banks. They may easily be adapted to this use through planting in pockets along the slope to be protected; and in large use, where miles of territory are to be covered, success has followed the putting into each pocket, in the late fall or early winter, of a half-dozen or more cuttings of mature wood from the desired varieties, enough of which will root and live eventually to cover the slope.

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