All About Roses – C. Simone
GIVEN a writer with a willing pen, a day of June, a garden across which the soft wind comes full of the mingled scent of rose blossom-the delicate fragrance of the Teas, the deep scent of the full colored Hybrid Perpetual’s and the old garden roses such as Cabbage, Provence and Sweetbriar, and the aromatic odor of the Musk Rose, as sweet as in far Himalaya-these, and an arbor with its face to the flowers and leaves and its back to the sunshine, and what realms of romance are not readily conjured up! One’s thoughts are carried to the early years of the rose, to the lands of its youth, even to the Garden of Gethsemane, where, now as then, the rose blooms on sacred soil. To ancient Greece and Rome, where the rose was ever cherished by the people, ” in their joys and in their sorrows the rose was their favorite flower.” Nero is said to have expended at one feast 30,000 Pounds in roses; 11 a nice little order for the nurseryman ” is Dean Hole’s characteristic comment. Our thoughts are carried to’ far China and Japan, home of the lovely creeping wichuraiana Roses that have given us such a favorite as Dorothy Perkins; to Syria and Persia, even to the lands of the midnight sun. What tales the rose could tell had I space to act as spokesman!
It would seem as though the entire world and his wife was growing roses nowadays; and how better can spare time are spent? Rose growing brings fresh beauty into sordid lives, and intensifies the interest of those that are already full. Chance moments snatched from busy days, long hours from those of leisure, all are repaid in full and with compound interest, not in coin of the realm, but in an increased appreciation of the beautiful, brought home, perhaps, to those who have never felt the magic attraction of flowers, and in steps directed to a closer communion with Nature. For is it not true that many can trace their love of gardening, which, rightly regarded is no more, no less, than a practical demonstration of a real abiding love for flowers, from the time when the rose, the queen of flowers, made her first appeal? With some, indeed, the rose was not only the first, but is still, the last and only love. When the late Dean Hole, whom. we may regard as one of the most ardent and constant of rose lovers, first fell under the spell of the flower, he tells us that, ” I dreamed about roses that summer’s night, and next morning hurried over my early breakfast that I might canter to the nearest nursery.” Many of us have been equally fascinated, and while nothing else has been able to drag us from our beds at six o’clock in the morning, the rose has done it, and many of us now regard it as the most natural thing in the world that our roses should be the first care at the beginning of each new day.
In rose growing, as in growing everything else, one has to begin at the soil, for it is the soil that nourishes the roots, the roots that feed the leaves, the leaves that support the blossoms. “Take care of the soil,” might I say, ” and the flowers will take care of themselves,” if you ” take care of ” that unwelcome little grub that comes with the coming of spring! But let us. write of pleasant things first, though not counting our roses before they bloom. Why should not soil preparation and planting be considered among the pleasant things of gardening ? The gardener who approaches these prosaic tasks with a mind rightly attuned will dream dreams of bursting buds and wide-opening blossoms; there will be soft showers and bright sunshine for him, even though a pall of gray obscures the heavens and a chill wind makes face and fingers tingle. For whatever may be the actual conditions that obtain, they will but serve to heighten the contrast between the real and the unreal, and render anticipation still more delightful. The gardener has an advantage over many practical workers, if he is an enthusiast, in that the pleasant shadow of the future hovers always over the present, the glamour of the unseen veils with a rose-colored cloak the trials and difficulties of the moment. And if the reader would like to have these pleasant dreams without the sharp contrast (though this, I assure him, makes them all the more real), then let him have the digging and planting done by a jobbing gardener who, whatever his qualifications for the work, and they vary greatly, may occasionally be trusted to do it with some appreciation of its importance if not of its possibilities. For the reader’s own sake I trust if he is able he will do his own planting, for the gardener who entrusts his planting to another is likely, sooner or later, to form, one of that already fairly large number of people who find gardening disappointing. And why? Simply because they leave to others that which they should do themselves. Everyone must have felt a pride in homeraised cuttings or seedlings; and what is pride but the outcome of love, fond and real ? Only, as a mother with her children, does the gardener come to know and to love his plants and flowers when, from planting to blossoming, he and he alone has tended them. The longer he gardens the greater will be his love for the flowers he grows. Let us, then, plant our own roses and for a time relapse into the prosaic and practical, for in plant growing, full flower beauty waits only on those who till the soil.Additional article and “How To” about rose gardening: