The most widely grown of all flowers, although newcomers to gardening are often uncertain about its likes and dislikes, believing that first quality blooms are unobtainable without tremendous effort. The beginner can, however, grow really good roses with reasonable attention. If he wants special results — e.g. blooms for exhibition on a given date — extra care and cultivation will be required. Note that roses are extremely adaptable, flourishing on a variety of soils in various parts of the world. A clay soil is not essential, as is sometimes supposed. This entry covers every aspect of cultivation, e.g. soil preparation, planting, pruning, feeding, pest and disease control. Fragrance is also discussed as many amateurs are convinced (quite wrongly) that very few modern varieties are really scented. Wild or species roses are found over almost the entire Northern Hemisphere but there are apparently no roses native to the Southern Hemisphere. Fossilised roses have been found in America, Europe and Asia and the fossil deposits in Central Oregon and Colorado are thought to be 35,000,000 years old. Roses were cultivated by both the Greeks and the Romans, the latter inducing the plants to bloom in winter in special hothouses heated with tubes filled with water. The first catalogue of garden plants published in England in 1597 by John Gerard described 16 different roses. Until the late 18th century roses were only summer-flowering. Continuity of bloom from June to October as exemplified in bedding roses like the hybrid teas and floribundas was achieved from the introduction of four cultivated Chinese varieties between 1792 and 1824.

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ROSES. Beginners are often confused about the various types of roses. Explanations of the various groups grown today are given below, including examples of typical varieties within each group.

Note that one can choose bush varieties which vary in height from 2 to 4 ft. or even higher, depending on variety and method of pruning, climbers and ramblers for clothing walls, fences etc., roses for growing as shrubs or specimen bushes and miniatures for rock gardens. Many bush varieties are also available as standards which are simply the same roses on long stems, this form being obtained by budding on to long canes of rugosa or canina stock.

Hybrid Teas. These comprise large-flowered varieties usually with plenty of petals, and high centres, as distinct from the floribundas which bloom in clusters. Some kinds have somewhat flat or cup-shaped flowers. The colour range is very wide and includes almost every shade except blue (lavender and lilac varieties like Lilac Time and Prelude are, however, available and a pure blue variety may be achieved in the not too distant future). Many are fragrant, some markedly so as with Lady Sylvia, Chrysler Imperial and Sutter’s Gold. They were, until quite recently, the most popular class of roses, but their position as universal favourites for bedding is being challenged by the floribundas . They are widely grown by exhibitors for entering in both specimen bloom and decorative classes at the shows. Typical hybrid teas include: Perfecta (cream with rose-pink flushes), Tzigane (red and yellow bi-colour), Ethel Sanday (yellow and apricot), Mme Louise Lapcrriere (deep crimson-scarlet), Mrs Sam McGredy (coppery-orange, flushed scarlet), Message (white), Spek’s Yellow (deep yellow).

Floribundas (formerly called Hybrid Polyanthas):

These are undoubtedly the rose of the future as they are exceptionally hardy, very free-flowering and long-lasting when cut. The plants are as tall as the average hybrid tea with semi-double or fully double flowers. There are also some singles. Floribundas bloom in clusters and many of the newer varieties have the hybrid tea type of flower, e.g. Columbine, Faust, Spartan, Tivoli, Yellowhammer, Yellow Pinocchio. At present the colour range is less extensive than with the hybrid teas but it is widening very rapidly and now includes multi-colours like Circus, Fanfare, Masquerade and Sundance Cafe, which is the colour of cafe-au-lait, as well as brilliant orange-scarlets, such as Atombombe, Korona and Orange Sweetheart. Fragrance is gradually coming into this group, hitherto almost entirely lacking in perfume. Fashion, Jiminy Cricket, Magenta, Masquerade and Spartan are typical.

Dwarf Polyanthas or Polyantha Pompons. The dwarf polyanthas produce their flowers in compact clusters. The blooms are much smaller than those of the hybrid teas and the plants themselves are not so tall, though very constant in bloom. They are exceptionally hardy. Examples are Cameo and Little Dorrit. Note that this group of roses is much less popular nowadays as most varieties, being ‘sports’, are liable to revert to the parent, the colour range is limited and the modern floribundas are in every way better.

Grandiflora Roses. This term is not recognised in every country, although it does serve to distinguish a type of rose which is somewhat different from the average floribunda. Growth is taller, usually to at least 4 ft., some blooms coming singly on long stems, others in clusters. Buds and flower form are of hybrid tea standard. Most varieties are long-lasting when cut. Examples are Montezuma, Queen Elizabeth and The Texan.

Shrub Roses. These comprise roses which are mostly too tall for bedding. They vary considerably in habit as well as time of flowering, and usually require plenty of room. Hybrid musks and hybrid sweet briars, also centifolias, damasks, moss roses, gallicas and other types popular in Victorian times, belong here. Generally speaking the older varieties are only in bloom for a short period, e.g. the light purple gallica Cardinal de Richelieu which grows to about 5 ft. and flowers in June. Many (but by no means all) are very fragrant. The hybrid musks include varieties like the orange-scarlet Bonn, the lemon-white Moonlight and the creamy-pink Penelope. All usually give a second crop in early autumn. The species or wild roses like Rosa hugonis, R. mqyesii, R. primula, R. rubri-folia, R. webbiana and R. willmottiae are also shrub roses.

Ramblers and Climbers. These are grown on arches, pillars, pergolas, fences and walls, and some of the extra ‘tough’ varieties like Golden Glow and Albertine may be used to cover outbuildings. They include the original wichuraiana ramblers like Dorothy Perkins, Excelsa and Sanders’ White which require the old wood to be removed after flowering and the new shoots tied in. Other varieties such as Paul’s Scarlet Climber and Emily Gray require different pruning treatment which is discussed later. Some of the more recent varieties such as Coral Dawn, Danse du Feu, Hamburger Phoenix and High Noon bloom more or less continuously.

Miniature Roses. These vary in height from about 6 to 15 in. according to variety and are often perfect replicas of the hybrid teas. Baby Masquerade, Cinderella, Maid Marion and Pour Toi are typical examples.

Tea Roses. Beginners to rose-growing are often puzzled by the expression ‘tea rose’. The teas are, however, very seldom grown today as they only thrive in a warm, dry climate, are easily injured by winter frosts and must have generous manurial treatment. The blooms were notable for beautiful form and subdued colourings, e.g. blush-pink, creamy-yellow, Teas were in bloom over a long period, compared with most old-fashioned roses. They were used to develop the form and continuous-flowering habit of the hybrid teas. The white Niphetos is still grown under glass and the deep fawn Lady Hillingdon is also occasionally catalogued, usually in its climbing form — it is useful for a warm wall, though as with most teas the blooms tend to droop.

FRAGRANT ROSES. The idea that modern roses are less fragrant than the old timers is quite wrong. Most people remember only the best of the older kinds and many of the hybrid pcrpetuals which were so popular during the late 19th century were scentless. Note that roses, as with many flowers, are more fragrant in a warm, humid atmosphere — in cold, very wet weather the perfume is usually absent even in strongly scented varieties. It depends on the volatilisation of certain oils in the plant, volatilisation requiring warmth, light and moisture. Weather and temperature must be just right.

Modern rose varieties have a much wider range of scent than the old timers. Attempts are often made to classify these scents, but as taste is easier to recall than scent and individual sense of smell varies so much, comparisons with the perfumes found in other flowers, shrubs and fruits etc. inevitably provoke disagreement. For example, among hybrid teas the buff-yellow Golden Melody is claimed to smell of verbena, Lady Sylvia of honey, Marcelle Grct of apricots, Pageant of raspberries, and Sterling Silver of sweet peas. In the floribundas Eddie’s Cream smells of apricots and Geranium Red has a distinct geranium fragrance. Betsy McCall is claimed to have a fruity almond scent and Ma Perkins a honey fragrance. Beginners who are anxious to plant a proportion of really fragrant roses should choose from the following varieties. The section on recommended varieties at the end of this entry includes many other perfumed roses.

Hybrid Teas:

Admiral: coral to salmon-pink.

Charles Gregory: vermilion and gold.

Chrysler Imperial: crimson.

Crimson Glory: crimson.

Eden Rose: deep pink.

Josephine Bruce: scarlet-crimson.

Lady Sylvia: deep flesh-pink.

Lunelle: pink and gold.

Mme Louise Laperrihe: crimson.

Ophelia: salmon-flesh.

Panorama: pink and red bi-colour.

President Herbert Hoover: yellow and pink.

Red Ensign: crimson.

Rubaiyat: cerise-red.

Shot Silk: cerise and orange-salmon.

Sutter’s Gold: yellow with pink flushes.

Tallyho: cerise-pink.


Note that fragrance here is milder and more subtle! Cafe: cafe-au-lait colour.

Columbine: pink and yellow.

Eddie’s Cream: name describes the colour.

Fashion: salmon.

Geranium Red: name describes the colour.

Jiminy Cricket: coppery-salmon.

Magenta: deep mauve.

Ma Perkins: shell-pink.

Masquerade: yellow, pink and red.

Spartan: salmon-orange.

Tellowhammer: deep yellow.

Yellow Pinocchio: yellow with pink flushes.

Climbers and Ramblers:

As relatively few new varieties are produced, compared with hybrid teas and floribundas, the selection below covers new and old kinds.

Albertine: coppery-pink.

Aloha: rose-pink.

Dr W. van Fleet: pale pink.

Emily Gray: buff-yellow.

Guinee: blackish-red.

Meg: apricot-pink.

Mme Alfred Carriere: blush-white.

Mme Gregoire Staechelin: carmine-pink.

New Dawn: pale pink. Paul’s Lemon Pillar: creamy-yellow. Silver Moon: white. Jephirine Drouhin: deep pink.

The various climbing ‘sports’ from the bush varieties of the same name, e.g. Climbing Crimson Glory, Climbing Shot Silk, are, of course, just as fragrant as the parent.

Note that hybridists cannot produce a very fragrant variety at will. Fragrance is a recessive rather than a dominant character and if a new seedling appears which is richly scented, but with a poor flower and weak growth, the hybridist will rightly pass it over in favour of a scentless seedling with a high quality bloom and very vigorous growth. A rose which fails to grow properly in the average garden is not wanted. Nevertheless, hybridists do strive for fragrant roses and as already indicated, they have achieved considerable success.

CULTIVATION. Buying Rose Trees. Always buy from a nurseryman who grows the trees he sells. It is immaterial from which part of the British Isles they are obtained, provided they have been properly grown from the outset. Note that a well grown bush rose should show two or more strong main growths — the number of side shoots is unimportant — with plenty of fibrous roots.

Choice of Site. The ideal position is in the open, preferably with slight shade. Note that some of the modern floribundas, notably the crimson-scarlet Frensham, will tolerate quite a bit of shade. Do not plant near trees, especially those with overhanging branches, as the tree roots will have taken most of the nutriment from the soil which may well be very dry and any roses in the immediate neighbourhood will probably suffer from mildew. Never plant in badly drained or very low-lying ground. Filling gaps in existing rose beds and failing to replace with fresh soil, accounts for many failures. If a particular piece of ground has held roses for 8 years or more, the soil round each bush will be largely denuded of plant food, although the roots will be extending themselves to find fresh nutriment. It is therefore essential to take out a hole not less than 16 in. deep and about 18 in. square for each rose tree. For a climber or rambler increase the dimensions by at least half. Replace the soil with fresh loam either bought from a nurseryman or from any other part of the garden which has not previously grown roses. Work in compost, bonemeal, peat etc., as described under Soil Preparation and plant the new tree in the usual way.

When to Plant:

Early November is an ideal time as there is still some warmth in the soil and the roses can establish themselves more quickly than when the land is cold. Do not plant when the ground is sodden, sticky or frosty. Autumn planting is nearly always preferred on light, dryish soils as spring-planted roses on this type of land are often checked by cold winds and drought before the trees have a chance to settle down. On heavy land spring planting (up to early April) is often better, as with a greater reserve of moisture in the soil the roses are less likely to suffer from drought. Some experts claim that March is best for all soils, as it is then that the sap begins to rise. If you are unable to plant your roses when the package arrives from the nurseryman, unpack and heel the trees close to each other in a trench, covering the roots and lower parts of the stems with soil. They may be left like this for 3 months if necessary; should frost prevent heeling in, leave the package untouched in any frostproof, cool shed or outhouse until the ground has thawed.

Soil Preparation:

Aim to finish this about a month before planting to allow the soil time to settle. Note that though land on the heavy side sometimes gives the best roses, clay in itself is unsuitable as it is usually poorly drained and the roots cannot breathe properly. Lime, basic slag, coarse sand, gypsum (calcium sulphate), peat etc., will all help to break down the lumpy pieces of clay often found on heavy land. Practically any type of soil can be made to grow first quality roses, provided drainage is perfect, and it is reasonably fertile. Sufficient moisture in the subsoil is important, and the plants must be able to absorb it easily, hence the need to dig two spits deep. Incorporate plenty of humus-forming materials such as compost, hop manure and chopped turves, with the top spit, plus bonemeal to supply phosphates. If the soil is light and sandy, add some sulphate of potash or wood ashes, as such land is usually deficient in potash.


Careless planting cannot be righted afterwards, and many amateurs plant too deeply. For bushes and standard dig a wide, fairly shallow hole — about 15 in. square and deep enough to take the roots when spread out horizontally. Note that an all-round spread is sometimes difficult as on some bushes the roots tend to go in one direction and the plant must then be set against one side of the hole. Cut off any leaves that may be left on the bushes as they continue to transpire moisture, also any buds or flowers. Cut back any broken or extra long roots to about 1 ft.

Cover bushes awaiting their turn to be planted with a damp cloth, sacking or mat. Dip the plant in a pail of water, set in the hole and spread some finely sifted soil mixed with damp peat round the roots. The nursery soil mark on the stem denotes the planting depth, the budding union being about I in. below soil level, as this gives a little protection from frost. However, the exact depth is less important than is commonly supposed.

When the hole is filled with soil, tread firmly. The top inch or so must always remain loose so that rain, sunlight, air etc. can penetrate. Note that the plant itself should always be firmly seated in the ground — many subsequent failures can be traced to loose planting. Hard frosts will often ‘lift’ rose trees and when the frosts have gone, they should always be inspected and any bushes etc. which can be moved with a slight effort, carefully re-firmed.

Plant bush roses 18 in. to 2 ft. apart and staggered thus:..•.•.• Note that extra vigorous varieties like Peace, Grand’mere Jenny and Tallyho in the hybrid teas or Frensham and Silberlachs in the floribundas can go 21/2 ft. apart. A number of small beds are better than several large ones, hence the width must allow the minimum of treading needed to hoe among the bushes, cut, feed etc. A bed 6 ft. wide takes 3 rows of plants. Any length is permissible, within reason. Beds can be square, round, oblong or crescent-shaped and are usually separated by grass. Avoid unnecessary curves etc. when forming the beds as they are a nuisance when mowing.

Standards should be planted about 3 ft. apart and as with bush roses the nursery soil mark indicates the planting depth. Where standards vary a little in height never try to level up the heads by planting at different depths. Drive a strong support into the hole before planting and later tie firmly to the stem, giving 2 or 3 ties, one near the base of the stem, another half way up and a third an inch or two below the budding union. The base of the supports and up to just above soil level can be treated with a proprietary wood preservative — note that creosote is inimical to plant life. Standards are very liable to rock in the wind unless very firmly supported and it is advisable to check each standard from time to time (especially in September and October after autumn gales) and re-tie as needed.

Climbers and ramblers usually stay in the same position longer than bushes and standards and soil preparation should be about 3 ft. deep and across, as the roots ultimately cover a much wider area. Plant at least 8 ft. apart and always give strong supports to pillar roses, e.g. larch poles. Climbers on walls must be planted at least 15 in. away from the house as the walls tend to prevent moisture reaching the roots. For the same reason take extra care in removing all weeds, rough grass and so on so that the ground is clear for about 18 in. from the plant. Shrub roses like the species, hybrid rugosas, hybrid musks etc., require ample space. It is difficult to lay down precise spacings as height and habit of growth vary considerably. Generally speaking, an 8 ft. minimum spacing is desirable.

Planting Out of Season:

Although early November to early April is the traditional planting period, roses can be transplanted in the summer provided the roots are kept continuously damp during the interval between lifting and replanting in another garden. Wrap damp sacks round the roots and plant as soon as ever possible in their new quarters. Remove all leaves to prevent transpiration of moisture but do not prune. If unable to plant more or less immediately heel the trees in a trench in a shady corner of the garden and thoroughly damp the roots and lower portions of the stems. Do not worry when the trees die back a little. However, directiy they show signs of fresh growth, cut back the dead wood until healthy tissue is reached — white or greenish-white pith denotes this. Water freely as necessary in dry weather and spray the stems with clear water every few days.

Growing Beds of One Variety:

Most rose books recommend amateurs to plant beds of one variety only — this refers mainly to hybrid teas and floribundas. Admittedly a fairly even type of growth throughout a rose bed is pleasing to the eye but this plan is really a counsel of perfection.

Where the gardener lacks the necessary space, various compromises may be effected. A few small beds may be devoted to separate varieties and others allotted to several different kinds.

What are the advantages in growing beds of one variety? In the first place, strong and comparatively weak growers should not be mixed. The stronger variety develops an elaborate root system which will eventually encroach on the roots of its weaker companions. When the very vigorous variety outgrows the weaker variety — and this happens very soon after planting — it will deprive it of light and air. For example, Peace, Margaret, Sutter’s Gold, Tallyho, Eden Rose and other extra vigorous hybrid teas ought not to be grown next to moderate growers like Cleopatra, Ulster Monarch, Bridal Robe, Fantasia or Picture. Pruning, feeding and spraying are also troublesome when a number of different varieties adjoin one another.

If space permits beds of one kind try to plan a really pleasing colour scheme for all the beds. Colour associations are, however, matters of opinion, not fact, and the contiguity of two or more colours which may appear objectionable in a dress material or a wallpaper is not necessarily displeasing in the open. The colours of the earth, sky, grass, trees and other plants which may be in the background, all contribute to the general effect.

Even where two beds of different colours are inoffensive to the eye, the individual beauty of the two varieties may still be lost because one variety ‘kills’ the other. McGredy’s Ivory and the white Message would never make good neighbours, similarly Royalist and Rubaiyat. Colours such as cerise, carmine-pink, orange-pink and so on, are always hard to place. Charlotte Armstrong, Glory of Rome, Tallyho and Rubaiyat are typical examples in the hybrid teas. Orange Triumph is also very difficult, as are all orange shadings like Fashion, Spartan, Orange Sweetheart, Fire Opal and Vogue. Really deep colours such as crimsons, scarlets and yellows should be kept for the centre beds. Light tones are usually best next to dark tones. For example Burnaby would look well next to Crimson Glory, but not adjacent to Coy Colleen or Ophelia. In the floribundas, the aptly-named Eddie’s Cream contrasts admirably with the dark crimson Red Favourite or the cherry-red Firecracker. Whites such as Message and Virgo harmonise with deep reds like Etoile de Hollande and Red Ensign, indeed, white usually harmonises with any colour. Yellow and blush-pink do not quarrel, so you can plant Lady Sylvia adjoining Golden Masterpiece or Isobel Starkness. Red and yellow associate well. Try the crimson-scarlet Ena Harkness adjoining Ethel Sanday. Avoid contiguous plantings of two reds, two pinks, two yellows and so on. Crimson Glory or Karl Herbst are dulled by Ena Harkness; Fantasia or McGredy’s Yellow will ‘kill’ Spek’s Yellow.

Growing Mixed Beds. If you have a number of different varieties, say two or three of each, the effect can be very pleasing, provided you remember not to plant tall growers next to dwarf ones. Thus Gail Borden and Pink Spiral are not out of place next to Admiral nor is Spek’s Yellow unhappy growing near Sutter’s Gold. They would, however, almost certainly fight each other if grown in adjoining beds of one variety only. A mixed bed of reds and yellow can also be attractive, though some whites relieve the contrast. Lilac Time, Prelude and other varieties in the new lilac and lavender shades associate well with deep yellows like Isobel Harkness or Peace. Note that generally speaking, hybrid teas and floribundas do not mix and are unhappy companions, as the habit of growth, type of bloom etc. are so very different.

Growing in Company with Other Plants. Generally speaking, the modern hybrid teas and floribundas grown as bushes give best results when planted on their own. They prefer plenty of light and air, which is impossible if the plants are crowded among many different subjects all competing for soil nutrients, air, moisture etc. Standards are admittedly satisfactory planted at intervals in a herbaceous border or even climbers and ramblers as pillar roses at the back.

Edgings of agcratum, alyssum, portulaca, violas etc. are permissible, although on light rich soils they can ramp away and hinder proper cultivation around the trees nearest the edges. Some people use these and similar low-growing plants as ground cover distributed throughout their rose beds. The same objection regarding cultivation applies — only more so.

The old-fashioned roses seem happier mixed with other flowers than do the modern hybrid teas and floribundas. Hosta (plantain lily), hollyhocks, Anemone hupehensis (japonica), nepeta (catmint) and grey-leaved plants generally are good companions.

So are some bulbs, e.g. cyclamen, crocus (species like Crocus longiflorus, C. susianus, C. tomasinianus), Hyacinthus azureus, Iris reticulata, Iris histri-oides major, Muscari botryoides, narcissus species and so on, all flowering before or after the roses.

Rose Borders:

A border devoted entirely to roses enables the enthusiast to obtain a more extensive knowledge of different varieties than is possible where planting is restricted to beds of separate kinds. While care must be taken to space the trees correctly according to height, this is no more difficult than arranging plants in a herbaceous border, and there is the added advantage that roses do not spread in the same way as many perennials. Once planted, therefore, the border can remain a more or less permanent item, though any failures must obviously be replaced. If a wall or fence already exists at the back of the proposed border, it can be clothed with suitable climbers or ramblers such as Crimson Conquest, Golden Glow, Albertine, Climbing Goldilocks or Danse du Feu (these two are more or less continuous-flowering). If a border with two fronts is possible, no real background is necessary. Nothing sets off roses better than grass and this should be at both sides of the border. The number of rows of plants depends on the width of the border. Where space allows, some of the taller species such as Rosa Davidii, R. hugonis, R. macrophylla, R. Moyesii and R. Willmottiae may be planted at the back. The taller-growing hybrid rugosa such as Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, Nova Zembla and Sanguinaire would also be effective, and many of the well-known climbers and ramblers may be grown as pillars. Allow about 8 ft. between individual specimens. Less tall-growing species like Rosa pomifera, the apple rose, may be planted as a middle group, or any of the hybrid musks. In the foreground use hybrid teas or floribundas in variety. If space allows, a further group may be made consisting of the polyantha pompons, or any of the miniature roses, like Baby Masquerade, Humoreske, Maid Marion, Pour Toi and Rosina.

Pruning Newly Planted Roses:

Bushes and standards are usually cut back hard in late February or early March to about 6 in. from the base in order to stimulate fresh basal shoots. However, on very light, thin and dry soils which are lacking in plant foods, it is sometimes best to avoid severe pruning the first year and simply ‘tip’ the shoots, otherwise the tree may die back badly. In the second year such trees can be pruned in the usual way for established roses.

Ramblers and climbers should be left alone except to remove any obviously dead wood. Shrub types like the wild or species roses, the hybrid rugosas, hybrid sweet briars, hybrid musks, damask etc., are treated similarly. For pruning of established roses generally see Pruning later in this entry.

General Cultivation:

Mulching is always helpful in conserving moisture during dry periods, but wait until the soil has warmed up and all weeds have been removed. Water the soil freely if dry at the time and put on the mulch not less than 2 in. deep. Damp peat, lawn mowings (but make sure they are free from weed seeds), bark fibre, leaf mould, compost or well-rotted farmyard manure can be used. Regular hoeing always helps to keep the soil open so that rain etc. can penetrate without difficulty. If watering is unavoidable do not sprinkle the surface since this merely encourages the feeding rootlets to come to the surface instead of going down deeper to draw on the reserve moisture. One method which is practicable where there are only a few trees is to sink a flower pot into the ground, placing about 9 in. from each tree, the rim being level with the soil surface. Fill with water and replenish until the tree has had about half a gallon of water.

Standards will take rather more water, while climbers and ramblers, especially climbers grown alongside walls where the soil may dry out very quickly, should have at least 1 gallon. Where large numbers of trees need watering, dig trenches about 6 in. deep and give the same quantities. With this method, great care must be taken not to disturb rose roots.

Amateurs are often warned not to use inorganic fertilisers of any kind during the first year after planting. Such advice should be ignored as it has no basis in theory or fact. Quick-acting nitrogenous fertilisers are always helpful to stimulate backward trees, e.g. sulphate of ammonia, dried blood or ‘Nitro-Chalk’. Trees planted the previous autumn can be given an application of complete fertiliser after the spring pruning. Established trees can be fed at the same time. The exact proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash do not matter very much, although a 4 : 12 : 4 mixture is favoured by American growers. Foliage feeding with roses has given very promising results but will not necessarily supersede the conventional method of application to the roots. Animal manure is often given after pruning. Allow one barrow load per 10 sq. yds. Cow or pig manure are best for light land, but use horse manure for heavy ground as this heats up more quickly which is not desirable on light, sandy soils. Do not apply animal manures in autumn or winter with the idea of ‘protecting’ the trees. Manure prevents air and sun reaching the soil which is in any case cold and damp. Bonemeal is relatively slow-acting and can be applied in autumn or winter at about 2 oz. per sq. yd. It supplies phosphates, as does superphosphate of lime which is more rapid in action and best applied in spring. Basic slag is another phosphatic fertiliser which is particularly valuable on heavy land. Light, sandy soils are frequently deficient in potash and sulphate of potash can be given in late winter or early spring. Wood ashes are also useful.

Rose Suckers. Some people make a tremendous fuss about suckers as if they were a major drawback to successful cultivation. A sucker is a growth from the stock on which the particular rose variety has been budded. It may occur on any rose propagated by budding, though some stocks, e.g. rugosa, are more prone to suckering than others. The multiflora stock which is first rate for floribundas suckers very little. Climbers usually suffer less than bushes or standards. Suckers start growing from the base of the plant and may run horizontally for several inches before emerging — as with raspberries.

Standards budded on rugosa are especially liable to produce suckers, often 2 ft. or more away from the base of the plant. They are frequently caused by insecure staking, as the plants tend to send out extra growths to secure anchorage.. Suckers may also appear along the main stem.

There is no hard and fast rule for distinguishing suckers except that they all break from below the point of union between rose and understock. The leaves are usually paler and smaller than those of the rose proper. The number of leaves is not a reliable guide. Some suckers have an abundance of closely-set thorns.

Always cut away suckers to their base on the roots or neck of the understock, with a knife, immediately they are noticed. It is useless to break them off, otherwise they will simply grow again. If left to themselves, they impoverish the plant, and may even outgrow it in time.

PRUNING. Experts often make rose pruning unnecessarily complicated. The main point is to remove all soft, unripe wood before pruning proper begins. If one understands the principles involved, pruning becomes much easier.

With cultivated garden roses the aim is to produce shapely, well-balanced trees with evenly spaced branches, bearing plenty of blooms. Pruning also allows light and air to reach all parts of the plant, so that the wood ripens more readily.

The art of pruning bears some relation to the rose in nature. If one takes a typical wild rose such as Rosa canina, the dog or briar rose, of the hedgerows, it will be noticed that in July or August, after flowering, new growths arise from the base. These may attain a height of 5 ft. or more by the end of the year, and the following summer they will produce side shoots or laterals, which bloom in the normal manner. The older growths, however, are losing their vigour, producing less flowering wood, until eventually they collapse and their place is taken by the younger shoots. Some pruning is therefore necessary when a rose tree is grown in the artificial conditions of a garden.

Hard pruning was at one time very popular, especially among exhibitors. It may, however, eventually kill a weakly tree and is a risky business in areas liable to late spring frosts. It should always be practised with caution on light porous soils, especially when the situation is one exposed to the effects of cold winds. If the trees are pruned down to 2 or 3 eyes and drought or cold winds arrive in April and May, they are unable to grow properly, die back, and even after subsequent rain will probably fail to develop into really satisfactory plants.

Very little pruning often produces extra tall and sometimes lanky plants which require staking. Where space is limited, the amateur may prefer to concentrate on different varieties, mainly of the bedding type, rather than on growing a few enormous plants. Long-pruned roses do, however, come into flower a week or two before hard-pruned plants. It is also claimed that varieties with weak, drooping flower stalks carry their blooms on stiff stems. One point often overlooked is the fact that even when roses are lightly pruned, they will not necessarily respond by increased growth, unless they are in really fertile soil. This probably explains why light pruning is sometimes unsuccessful. Therefore supplement it with proper feeding. As will be seen later, the best method is a compromise between hard and light pruning. Before giving instructions on pruning different types of roses, a few general points must be made. A first-class pair of secateurs, provided you keep the blades properly adjusted and the rivet oiled regularly, is almost as good as a knife. The next essential is a pair of gloves. The usual gardening gloves are rather awkward and by no means always thorn-proof. Stout white cotton twill gloves are probably the best. To remove old, hard wood, a small pruning saw may be used, though a really good pair of secateurs will usually cut away all but the very toughest growths. All pruning cuts are made just above a dormant ‘eye’ or bud — I.e. a small protrusion on the stem which ultimately develops into a shoot. Why must the eye be dormant? An eye that has broken into growth prematurely is almost certain to have been frosted, and will for this reason produce blind, flowerless shoots. Pruning cuts must be slanting, and made to an outward eye — any varieties which tend to sprawl are best pruned to an inward eye. A correct cut is most important, because if made too far beyond the eye the useless piece of wood that is left may develop die-back. The reason for a slanting cut as opposed to a horizontal one is that with the former there is only a continuous flow of sap as far as the eye. Moisture also runs away more easily, thereby allowing the wound to heal quickly.

Pruning of Established Roses. Which is the best time of year to prune established roses? Some amateurs favour winter pruning as this gives an earlier first crop of flower, the shoots being sufficiently forward to escape any serious check from late spring frosts. In mild winters this sometimes works quite well but if a really cold spell arrives after December or January pruning, the trees will be held back and in the long run there will be very little advantage over early spring pruning. On balance, pruning at the end of February or in early March is probably best. It is, however, a good plan to tip back any extra long shoots in October to prevent damage by autumn and winter gales, as they may cause the trees to sway in the wind and become loosened in the soil.

Begin by looking out for any shoots that have been frosted. These are » easily recognised by the yellow or brown pith in the centre — normally it is greenish-white. Cut back to sound, healthy growth. All shoots which are weak, unripe, diseased, exhausted or dead, must be cut right back to sound wood, and if necessary, to the base. Note that failure to remove unripe shoots is responsible for much subsequent die-back, discoloration of foliage etc. To test for ripeness pinch the wood hard between thumb and finger and if it gives, it is unripe. Discoloured pith is another sign. Weak, twiggy growths are often found clustering at the centre of the tree, and these should also be removed. After this has been completed, only the strong and well-ripened lateral shoots of the previous summer will be left. Cut these back to half their length, and the trees will eventually attain a height of 2 — 4 ft., according to variety. The result should be a well-balanced plant, with the shoots equidistant as far as possible. This may be termed moderate pruning and will usually give more and better blooms than severe cutting.

Three or four weeks after pruning, if time permits, go over the trees again, rubbing out surplus shoots so that one shoot only is left to each eye. By so doing, one obtains strong, sturdy stems rather than a greater number of thin, spindly growths.

Standards. The pruning of standards is just the same as for bush roses’ except that symmetry is more important. The aim is to keep the centre of the plant open and it should be remembered that fresh basal shoots are less frequently produced than with bush roses. It is also best not to leave the previous year’s shoots too long or the head will soon look untidy. Generally speaking, pruning should be a little lighter than with bush roses.

Bush Polyantha Pompons:

Remove all exhausted, dead and diseased wood in autumn or early spring, also older flower stems. Wood which has not bloomed the previous year may be cut down to the base. New-basal growths come more readily than with hybrid teas, therefore prune as hard as you wish. Do not cut away thin shoots unless essential in order to keep the centre open, as thin stems are characteristic of all varieties.

Bush Floribundas:

Varieties like Frensham, Korona and Masquerade, in fact, any variety of floribunda, should not be hard pruned. On the other hand, light pruning usually results in a plant choked with weak, thin growths. The best method is to cut back the previous season’s growths thrown up direct from the base to the first or second eye below the flowering head and to prune back two-year-old wood down to a few eyes from the base.Weak and exhausted wood is removed completely and the centre of the bush kept open by cutting away any shoots which cross one another. This ensures a continuous supply of bloom.

Ramblers and Climbers:

Varieties of the wichuraiana rambler type such as Dorothy Perkins, Lady Gay, Minnehaha, Excelsa, Crimson Shower, Sanders’ White and Francois Juranville, bloom on the new growth of the previous year and this must be trained in during September. At the same time all old wood should be cut away. Large-flowered wichuraianas and wichuraiana climbers such as Albertine,

Alberic Barbier, Chaplin’s Pink Climber, Emily Gray and Paul’s Scarlet Climber require less drastic pruning. It is sufficient to remove one or more older stems occasionally — if this is not done the lower portion of the plant tends to become bare. Laterals can be tipped back in early autumn. The modern continuous blooming climbers like Aloha, Coral Dawn, Danse du Feu, Hamburger Phoenix, High Noon and Parade should be pruned as little as possible. Simply remove any very old or thin shoots.

Climbing Hybrid Teas and Floribundas:

Very little pruning is needed, as severe cutting may discourage the production of flowering laterals, and in addition cause the plant to revert to the bush form. Thin, exhausted and dead wood should be removed in early autumn and any new growths tied in. The flowers are borne on laterals and sub-laterals emanating from the main stems and these may be tipped back in spring. Bareness at the base may be countered by bending over the shoots horizontally, causing them to throw out lateral growths lower down. Another method is to cut back one or two of the main stems. If a bush form of the same variety has been planted at the same time alongside the sport, this will usually cover any bare space at the base of the plant.

Other Types of Roses:

Generally speaking, other types of roses require very little pruning. It is usually sufficient to cut away exhausted and dead wood and obviously weak shoots, and to tip any very strong growths. The more vigorous the plant, the safer it will be to prune lightly. Should it show a tendency to occupy too much room, cut back completely one or two of the older stems.

Summer Pruning:

This should be avoided, especially on newly-planted roses. It is equally inadvisable to cut flowers for indoor decoration with very long stems, except with very large, well-established trees — cut to an outward eye just below the neck of the bloom. Remember that every healthy leaf plays its part in the production of foodstuffs for the plant and with hybrid teas most of the leaves are borne on the actual flower stems, not towards the base of the plant. Early cutting with long stems is particularly harmful in a dry season.


Greenhouse Roses: It is not difficult to grow roses in either a moderately-heated greenhouse or even a house with no heating at all. Every bloom develops to perfection, as the unreliable English climate matters little with the protection of a greenhouse. If heat is available you can time the flowering to suit your convenience. Cultivation in pots is probably the best method for amateurs. Pot-grown specimens may be purchased, or if preferred, the ordinary bushes obtained from the nurseryman in autumn may be potted immediately on receipt into 7 or 8 in. pots. A potting mixture consisting of 3 parts moderately heavy loam, 1 part well-rotted manure and 1 part coarse sand or grit will give good results. Bonemeal and sulphate of potash may be added at the rate of 5 — 6 oz. to each bushel of potting mixture. To encourage root action plunge the pots in ashes in a sheltered corner of the garden. They are best left to grow as they will until the following October when they should be allowed to dry out for approximately 3 weeks. The pots are then well watered and subsequently taken into the greenhouse in late December or early January before the worst weather comes, the trees being pruned hard back to about 3 eyes from the base of each stem. Light or even moderate pruning results in lanky, unmanageable trees. If heat is available do not force the trees unduly at first.

The pots are removed from the greenhouse the following June and stood outdoors in a sunny position. Before re-housing in December or January remove the top 2 in. of soil from each pot and replace with a mixture similar to that recommended for the initial potting up. Treatment for the second and subsequent years under glass is along similar lines to the recommendations for first-year cultivation. Where no heat is available roses can be flowered under glass the first spring after planting. This is because they are not forced to the subsequent detriment of the plant’s vigour.

As an alternative to bush trees, half standards on rugosa may be tried. These are usually very successful under glass. Some difficulties do however attend the growing of roses in a greenhouse.

Black spot is rarely troublesome but powdery mildew, which is caused by careless ventilation, faulty watering or dryness at the roots, is common. A good plan is to paint the pipes with sulphur. A Karathane fungicide gives some control. Air should be admitted both during the daytime and at night in suitable weather. Once the trees are in full growth they should be watered when necessary, but never in daily ‘driblets’. Downy or black mildew is deep-seated, I.e. it penetrates die inner tissues, unlike the familiar powdery mildew. It occurs mainly under glass, young plants wilting very visibly. Infected leaves are brownish-purple on the outside and greyish-white on the reverse. They shrivel up and drop to the ground or fall in quantity if the branch is shaken. The fungus usually spreads to the stem as well. Sometimes the effects are not too serious as flowering is simply delayed for a few weeks, but with severe infections the entire rose tree will droop and ultimately collapse. Excessive humidity, sudden temperature changes and poor ventilation are probable causes and should be corrected as far as possible.

Bronzing is usually confined to greenhouse roses. Infected leaves have mottled bronze patches with yellow edges. They fall to the ground and the tree is weakened. The cause is not altogether clear, though overfeeding may be a contributory factor.

Aphids are often serious pests in a greenhouse. Use gamma-BHG (lindane) smoke generators. A malathion aerosol is also effective and should be directed into the air space above the roses, not on to them, as this ensures a more even dispersal throughout the greenhouse. Red spider can be a nuisance if the atmosphere is too dry. Spraying with liquid derris is helpful, or a malathion aerosol can be used. The following hybrid teas do especially well under glass: Ballet, Dorothy Anderson, Eden Rose, Lady Sylvia, Margaret and Pink Spiral in the pinks; reds: Baccara, Brilliant, Crimson Glory, Ena Harkness and Karl 37°

Herbst; yellows: Ethel Sanday, Fantasia, McGredy’s Yellow, Peace and Spek’s Yellow. The light red and silvery-white Grand Gala, one of the best of all bi-colours despite a percentage of split centres, is outstanding. Perfecta is very satisfactory. The multi-coloured Grand’mere Jenny and Signora are good. For a white, grow Bridal Robe or Message. Lilac Time, Grey Pearl and Royal Tan are excellent. Among the flori-bundas, Elsinore, Firecracker, Spartan and Yellowhammer are notable.

Growing Miniature Roses Indoors:

Amateurs are often anxious to grow the miniatures in a living room. Unlike many other plants, they are not really happy for long in the dryish atmosphere of the average room, especially if centrally-heated. They tend to drop their foliage and deteriorate generally. The best plan is to grow them on in a frame or greenhouse until they are in bud and then bring them indoors and give the coolest possible surroundings, especially at night. Spray morning and night with clear water. After the first crop of bloom is over, return the pots to the frame or greenhouse and grow on again.

PROPAGATION. Roses are increased by budding, cuttings or layering; the last is restricted mainly to climbers and ramblers. Grafting is practised commercially under glass during the winter months. These four methods are described as vegetative propagation, I.e. by another method than from seed.

Note that roses increased by cuttings do not normally flower until 2 years have elapsed, as they have to establish their own root system, whereas budded plants already have the root system provided by the stock and will produce a good crop the following summer. A shoot which provides several satisfactory buds only makes a single cutting; accordingly the nurseryman propagates by budding and from the gardener’s point of view this means that rose trees are much cheaper in consequence.


Budding is by no means a difficult operation, but cannot be accomplished with any speed until one is really expert at the job. The following directions and the accompanying diagrams should make the various operations quite clear, though the ideal way to learn is by watching someone else. Budding consists of taking a scion — this is a small piece of bark containing a bud of the selected variety — and inserting it in the bark of the wild rose, referred to as the stock. The stock supplies the roots of the new tree. If the budded stock is allowed to remain in situ, growth is sometimes better than with transplanted trees, as difficulties arising from exposure or drying-out of the roots in transit do not occur. The many types of stock react differently, depending on locality and soil. It is doubtful whether one stock is really better than another, though on deep soils with good moisture-holding capacity, briar (canina) is best; on light soils seedling multiflora is often favoured. Experiments have been going on for many years to find an ideal stock, but so far no standardised root stocks similar to the East Mailing classification for fruit trees are available. Briar is actually a rather loose term, as over 100 variants oiRosa canina are known.

Budding of Bush Roses:

Briar stocks can be obtained from some nurserymen and should be planted between November and February 1 ft. apart, allowing 2 ft. 6 in. between rows. Multiflora stocks can also be bought and give a very high take. They are particularly useful for budding floribundas. Keep down all weeds after planting.

Briar cuttings can be taken in October from the hedgerows. Choose them from bushes which have borne deep pink flowers. Cuttings should be about 9 in. long from well-ripened growths of the current year. Remove all the eyes, save 2 at the top, heel in a shady corner until February, and plant in drills, two-thirds of the cutting going in the soil. Leave the cuttings for a year, then transplant ready for budding 4—5 months later. Do not try to bud the first summer.

Stocks bought from nurserymen are ready to bud the following summer. June to early September is the usual budding period, though the state of the stocks and buds rather than the calendar provides the best guide. Early budding is always an advantage as one can often bud again on the other side of the stock if one side fails to take. If possible do not attempt to bud while the stocks are wet. A wet summer gives poor takes, as in a wet season both stocks and buds are soft.

Stocks are ready to bud when the sap rises freely and bark parts readily from the wood. The best time is probably after a few days of showery weather. If the weather is very dry and they have temporarily stopped growing — the tips of the shoots will indicate this — give a pail or two of water so that growth may start again. They are then fit for budding. Begin by making a T-cut in the neck of the stock, just below soil level — low budding minimises subsequent risks of suckers or growths from the stock, as opposed to growths from the rose proper. Note that the bar of the T is uppermost. Take the buds from a stem which has carried a bloom, the flower having just faded. The best buds are generally about half-way down the shoots, not those nearest the base of the blooms, which are too small, or those at the bottom of the stem which are probably undeveloped. On an average, from 3 to 5 good fat buds are obtained from a stem 9 in. long. As the shoots are gathered plunge in a pail of water to keep them fresh. If several varieties are being budded, label immediately to avoid confusion later.

To remove the buds use a sharp knife with a thin blade. Special budding knives are best. First trim off thorns and foliage and make a cut leaving about y2 m- of the leafstalk so that the scion can be handled later without damaging the bud. Then make a cut in the stem from approximately y2 in- above the bud to I in. below. This cut should penetrate to about one-third the thickness of the stem. So far, the scion consists of the leaf stalk, the bud, a piece of bark usually known as the shield and, behind this, a thin strip of wood. The next step is to remove this strip of wood without damaging the bud, a tricky job which needs some practice. Hold the scion between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand and ease up the piece of wood with the right. A final sideways tweak as the bud is approached will usually enable the wood to come away clean without taking with it the whitish matter at the base of the bud. Next trim the scion to y2 in. long-

The bud is now ready for insertion in the stock. Use the thin end of the handle of your budding knife (or the back of the blade if employing an ordinary penknife), to raise the bark on each side of the vertical slit and, holding the bud by the leaf stalk, push it in from the top as far as it will go. If a piece of bark still remains outside the top of the T-cut, trim it off level.

The final step is to tie the bud with moist raffia, leaving only the leaf stalk and bud visible. Tie firmly, but not so tightly as to cut into the bark. Do not use the raffia too thick, but split it along its length. This will assist it to rot, and make the tying of a neat bandage, covering the entire incision, much easier. In a couple of months the growth should burst the raffia.

After a few weeks it will be easy to see if the bud has taken. If it is green, the take is successful, if brown or discoloured it is a failure. In this case you can bud again on the other side of the stock. The following February the head of the stock must be completely cut away just above the bud. Staking of the new budded growths should be undertaken a month or two later when they are about 5 — 6 in. high, as they are easily knocked over by a gust of wind.

Budding of Standards:

If you are able to obtain standard briars from the hedgerows, always trim the roots before planting. Such briars should be about ¾ in. in diameter. Do not choose any shoots of the current year. Plant in November about 1 ft. apart, allowing 3 ft. between the rows. In addition, remove the top growth so that the stem is about 4 ft. long and cut out all eyes except 2 opposite each other at the top. Firm staking is essential. Budding may be undertaken the following summer, one bud being inserted in each of the lateral growths which have developed from the 2 eyes left at the top of the stem. Make the cut as close as possible to the main stem. The process is precisely the same as when budding bush roses. Note that the raffia ties do not rot off from standards, so slit them up a month after budding to allow the buds to expand.

Two buds are also used for rugosa standards, but these are inserted in either side of the main stem immediately below the top growths and not in them, as with briar standards. Careful staking is necessary and the stake should extend above the point of union, to provide support for the head when it has developed. The rugosa stock is drought-resistant and does well on all soils except those which are very chalky. It is rather prone to suckers but regular inspection of the trees and prompt removal of any suckers will be well repaid.

Budding of Climbers and Ramblers:

These are just as easy to bud as bush or standard roses, though more difficulty is experienced in obtaining plump buds for this purpose. It is best to bud in the position where the tree is likely to remain. The process is precisely the same.


Whether roses grown on their own roots, I.e. from cuttings, eventually develop into trees comparable with budded plants is extremely doubtful.

Note that the modern hybrid teas have a very complicated ancestry and are a doubtful long-term proposition. Many fail to root, or develop very slowly. It is only fair to add that red, pink, white and cream varieties are more successful than yellows and fancy coloured kinds. Floribundas offer a better chance than hybrid teas. Climbers, ramblers and old-fashioned roses generally, whether species or their immediate descendants, can be grown on their own roots without much trouble.

It is possible to root cuttings from July to November,, though late July or early August are probably the best times, since those taken later will root more slowly, particularly on cold, heavy land. Some prefer March or April cuttings, using the prunings for this purpose. Cuttings are taken from well-ripened shoots of the current year’s growth without laterals. They must not be soft or sappy. It is quite unnecessary to use only shoots which have carried flowers (this is essential when budding), nor is it necessary to take cuttings with a heel, I.e. a piece of the older wood. Greater success is obtained when the cutting is taken from the base of the selected shoot. It should be 9 in. long. Make a clean, straight cut immediately below the lowest eye, the lower leaves being removed, but not the upper. Avoid damaging the little eyes or buds in the axils of the leaves, as it is from these that growth will emanate. Insert the cuttings in trenches 6 — 8 in. apart and about 6 in. deep. A sheltered position is necessary and the trench should contain some sand at the bottom. Tread the ground firmly after inserting the cuttings. Rooting can be assisted by treating the cuttings before inserting in the trench with a plant hormone preparation. It is also a good plan to place cloches in position over the cuttings. If the soil is fairly dry, give a thorough watering — this is also advisable during dry periods until the cuttings are rooted. After a sharp frost, cuttings may be loosened in the soil and it is best to go over the rows and tread them down again. Leave the cuttings in situ until the following autumn when they can be safely transferred to their permanent quarters. They should flower the next summer, though often it takes another 12 months to secure a really first-class plant. As already pointed out, this is a much slower process than budding.


Climbers and ramblers, but not climbing sports of hybrid teas or floribundas, may be propagated by layering. The best times are March or from July to September. The process is very similar to layering carnations, except that the bending over of selected shoots is an essential part of layering roses. Avoid hard-wooded growths. Young shoots are essential, either those on which the flowers have just faded or, when layering in March, any which have not yet bloomed. The selected growth is detached from its support and bent downwards to the soil at right angles to the rest of the plant. Next, starting about 10 in. from the top of the growth, slit the stem from one joint to another, at the same time bending the tongue so that it can readily be pegged into the soil, with a wooden peg, bent nail or strong hairpin.

On heavy ground incorporate sand with the soil to a depth of several inches. Make a firm mound to cover the cut part. Any leaves on the buried part should be removed. Water thoroughly if the soil is at all dry. Rambler roses can also be propagated by a method known as ‘tip’ layering. Bend down one of the current season’s growths and bury in the soil for about 4 in., pegging down firmly as previously directed. The layer should be severed from its parent at the point where it enters the ground, during the following February or March — shoots that have been ‘tip’ layered should be cut away about 1 ft. from soil level. Some consider it best to wait a week or 10 days after severing the layer before transplanting into its permanent position, as there h less of a shock to the rooted layer.

Growing Roses for Exhibition:

The whole essence of exhibiting is timing. Most gardeners at times obtain blooms just as fine as those exhibited in the amateur classes at the shows, but a successful exhibitor’s skill lies in having perfect flowers in the pink of condition at the precise moment of judging.

To ensure this concentrate on a few varieties, growing a number of trees of each, otherwise you will never — save by chance — secure specimen blooms on the day they are required.

Very hard pruning is no longer considered essential, as equally fine blooms can be secured from moderately pruned trees. Pruning should, however, be more severe than if the trees are only required for garden decoration. The object is to restrict the number of stems, allowing to each one perfect bloom. Cut away all branched growths, limit the main stems to 3 or 4 and cut these back to 4 or 5 eyes. Rub out any eyes which subsequently start to grow in excess of one shoot from each stem. Later rigorous disbudding will be necessary.

Special feeding is also essential, beginning about one month before the show. A liquid fertiliser applied about every 10 days is recommended. Some exhibitors are now giving their roses one or more foliage feeds. A conical bloom-protector made from calico stretched over wire is often employed to shield exhibition blooms from sun or rain, also to delay development. Tying the centre of a bloom with thick wool 2 days before the show is less popular nowadays. Although this increases the size of the bloom, it is apt to ‘blow’ quickly when the tie is removed in the show tent or exhibition hall. There is no way of hastening progress of a particular flower at the last moment. A nitrogenous fertiliser such as dried blood, sulphate of ammonia or ‘Nitro-Chalk’ will hurry on a backward tree if applied a month or two before the show date.

At most big flower shows there are classes for different types of roses, e.g. for large specimen blooms shown in boxes or vases, for hybrid teas, covering varieties like Dorothy Anderson, Eden Rose, Karl Hcrbst, McGredy’s Yellow and Perfecta, the medium-sized blooms of decorative kinds such as Picture and Spck’s Yellow, and the floribundas. The last two classes are shown in vases or bowls. At the smaller shows the first two classes may merge. Generally speaking, judges are biased in favour of the larger bloom, providing it is in perfect condition and typical of the variety — a coarse, almost overblown Karl Herbst would not be considered better than a small but faultless Virgo, this being an inherently small flower. Note that some of the decorative varieties, e.g. Mrs Sam McGredy, can be grown to specimen bloom size.

The National Rose Society’s rules for judging are followed by many provincial societies. They stipulate that in judging decorative roses each receptacle should be considered as a separate unit, points being awarded for brightness, arrangement, decorative beauty and form of blooms or truss, and foliage. The relative size of blooms of different varieties is not taken into account.

Most present day exhibition-type hybrid teas are really vigorous growers and bloom with reasonable freedom, unlike some of the older varieties which were often none too vigorous and did not always flower freely. Note that some varieties dislike rain and the blooms must be protected when necessary if growing for exhibition. Such varieties include Ardelle, Dorothy Anderson, Ethel Sanday, Karl Herbst, Magnificence, McGredy’s Ivory, Misty Morn, Red Ensign, William Harvey. The following hybrid teas are recommended for exhibition.

For Specimen Blooms: Yellow, Orange and Buff.

Diamond Jubilee.

McGredy’s Yellow.

Ethel Sanday.


Golden Melody.

Ulster Monarch. Lady Belper.

Ditto: Pink.

Charlotte Armstrong.

Pink Charming.

Dorothy Anderson.

Pink Spiral.

Eden Rose.


Gail Borden.

The Doctor.


Montezuma (a grandiflora variety).


Ditto: Red.

Bacchus Brilliant”

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