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ROSE AMATEUR’S GUIDE;
AMPLE DESCRIPTIONS OF ALL THE FINE LEADING VARIETIES OF ROSES,
REGULARLY CLASSED IN THEIR RESPECTIVE FAMILIES,
THEIR HISTORY AND MODES OF CULTURE;
IN TWO PARTS.
PART I. THE SUMMER ROSE GARDEN.
THE WHOLE ARRANGED SO AS TO FORM
THE DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE
THE SAWBRIDGEWORTH COLLECTION OF ROSES,
BY T. RIVERS, JUN.
AND SOLD BY
So many rose amateurs have complained that it is extremely difficult to select from the multiplicity of roses now under cultivation such varieties as are distinct and adapted for particular situations, though accurately enough described in a catalogue, I have presumed some practical observations might be acceptable. I have also long felt the conviction, that a mere enumeration of the form and colour of the flower is not enough, particularly for the amateur with a small garden; for he, of course, wishes to select a few varieties, and those well adapted to the situation they are to occupy.. As a guide, then, to the lovers of roses, this little treatise has been written in the few leisure moments allowed me by the unceasing cares of a general nursery business. I give the result of twenty years' experience, gained by the culture of choice roses on a much larger scale than any where in Europe. I say this advisedly, as from five to six acres are here devoted to the cultivation of select named varieties. In noticing and describing the different roses in the following pages, though a cultivator of them for sale, I have endeavoured to lay aside all business prejudices, and only to view them as an admiring amateur. Varieties inserted in the catalogue, and not noticed here, are, in many cases, equally beautiful with those that are; but in these instances they perhaps much resemble them, • or at least have no particular distinguishing traits. It may
be asked, Why, then, are so many varieties enumerated in the catalogue, if so few comparatively can be recommended ? To this I reply, that some roses resemble each other in the form and colour of their flowers, yet differ much in the character of their leaves, branches, and general habit; some will also often bloom out of character, and imperfectly, one or two seasons consecutively, while others of the same colour and of the same family are blooming well ; and then, perhaps, for a like period, the former will have their bright seasons of perfection, while the latter receive some blighting check, so that it is almost necessary to have plants of different natures bearing flowers alike. I may also mention that in moist, showery weather, the flowers of some of the extremely double roses cannot open, but those of others, less double, but like them in colour, will open freely, and bloom in great perfection. These little facts are well known to the experienced cultivator.
Some new roses inserted in the catalogue have only bloomed here one season, and perhaps not quite in perfection, so that an accurate description could not be given of them : many of these are most undoubtedly fine varieties. In classing the roses in the following pages, and in
the catalogue, I have retained those that are but slightly hybridised in that division to which they have the nearest affinity; for instance, if a rose between the French and Provence roses has more of the characters of the former than of the latter, it is retained with the French roses, as it
will group well with them, though not a pure French rose : . this helps to avoid those numerous subdivisions with which
most of the French catalogues are burdened, as they only
tend to confuse the young amateur. In the descriptions, the colour of the flower is not always given, as the catalogue, of which this guide is only a companion, generally gives that correctly.
In forming a collection of roses from the French gardeners, great difficulty is often experienced by their incorrectness in the names of their plants : this inattention, to call it by no worse name, has long been the bane of commercial gardening. In this country almost every nurseryman is now aware of the great responsibility he is under as to correct nomenclature. But in France they manage these matters differently, certainly not “ better;" for if a Parisian cultivator raises a good rose from seed, and gives it a popular name, a provincial florist will immediately give some one of his seedlings, perhaps a very inferior rose, the same, so that there are often two or three roses bearing the same name: and if the original, or most superior variety, is ordered, ten to one if you get it, as the French florist generally gives you that which is most convenient for him to send, quite regardless of what you wish for: this is carried to an extreme, of which only those well and intimately acquainted with roses can form a just idea.
I have now only to beg the indulgence of my readers. A man of business must be deficient in the many requisites of correct composition. I have endeavoured to be plain and explicit; and cannot help flattering myself, that the instructions conveyed in these insignificant pages may be the means of restoring many unfortunate, neglected roses to health and vigour.
Nov. 20. 1837.