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Roses - Ordering

( Originally Published 1914 )

HAVING gone carefully over the chapter on "Varieties" and considered the lists of roses, the reader will be ready to order his plants. It is believed that the suggestions hereinafter given will aid in avoiding many of the errors and disappointments usually connected with this necessary work.

Ordering is indeed one of the most- important features to be considered; when properly done it insures success, and when improperly done it is sure to bring disappointment. An understanding of the conditions which beset all nurserymen would do much to help. The main trouble is that the average man does not properly specify just what he wants and when he wants it, and he does not consider substitution.

The nurseryman receives his greatest number of orders in the spring and autumn when he and his entire force are overworked. He has only so many varieties and only so many plants of each, and his roses are in a certain condition, which may or may not be good. Therefore, the man who sends his order early, specifying exactly what he wants, stands the best chance of securing what he desires. Later orders, unless very specific, naturally are filled from what stock is left, not always with what was desired, and the fault does not rest with the nurseryman. If the order is properly made out and request is made for its immediate filling, and the nurseryman who receives the order advises that he is unable to ship, then the purchaser has an opportunity to place his request elsewhere; but if the order is not properly made out and does not specify regarding substitutions the shipment may not be satisfactory.

In ordering roses the following requisites should be specified: Field-grown, two-year-old stock, or if possible, three-year-old stock; budded stock, not grafted or own-root roses, except in the case of the most vigorous varieties; dormant stock. In addition instructions should be given for substitutions.

Ordinarily dormant roses are much better for either spring or autumn delivery, but if roses are ordered after the growing season has started it is impossible to get dormant plants. In our opinion plants which have started growth are uncertain but with care will often do well.

If the ordering is done in the fall and the roses are so late in coming that, although the beds have been covered with litter, the ground is frozen hard to some depth and it is impossible to plant them, do not, under any circumstances, have them kept indoors during the winter, for they will then generally sprout, and if planted early, will be set back by the late frosts, or if kept until later will be set back on account of their change after growth has started. It would be wiser to heel the plants in the open ground; that is, dig a trench deep enough to cover the roses half-way up the canes and place the plants therein, filling in with dry earth.

As we believe that the greater number of budded roses can be properly secured from almost any large nurseryman, the nearest one would be the best from whom to order.

Recently, as mentioned in "Propagation," there have been some American firms who have tried budding on Japanese Multiflora. We have grown these plants for a number of years past and have had very good success with them.

In ordering from such growers the planter has the advantage of securing stock more or less acclimated, and does not run the risk of having the heat of the steamers sprout plants directly imported; he is dealing with firms close at hand and is also aiding an American enterprise.

It is, therefore, suggested that when the desired varieties may be secured, the same can be obtained from the following growers, who are budding on the Japanese Multiflora. There may be other firms who are using this stock, but at the present time these budded plants may be secured from George H. Peterson, Fairlawn, N. J.; Bobbink & Atkins, Rutherford, N. J.

The budding of roses by American firms is certainly a great advance in rose culture and of inestimable value to our rose growers. Where it is possible to secure the varieties desired, we recommend American field-grown plants, budded and grown out-of-doors by any well-known firm of nurserymen.

For all large collections when American field-grown stock cannot be obtained, it is suggested that foreign budded stock be ordered through the nearest nurseryman.

In closing, a few words should be added regarding the different times of the year in which planting may be done. The temperature of the ground is as important as the time of the year, and the condition in which the plant is received has more to do with future success than either. Unless the growing season has begun and is well under way plants must be received in a dormant condition. We have planted roses at all times of the year and have found that if the plants were in proper condition and properly handled they have nearly always done well; if plants were not in proper condition. no matter how much care was used, failure practically always resulted unless plants received greenhouse care.

The advantage of planting roses in the autumn is that if they are dormant, i.e., if growth has stopped for the year prior to their shipment, and if they have not been subjected to heat during shipment causing growth to recommence, they will when planted become more or less fixed in their position, and little fibrous roots will have in most instances commenced growth before spring. Roses so planted and which have become so established will start off well in the spring, much better than a rose which has only been in the ground a short time.

This has been found equally true with own-root stock; in fact, if such stock is planted during the growing season little may be expected until the following year, and many deaths have resulted. Only a few own-root growers supply dormant field-grown stock, as most of them strike their cuttings inside. Own-root stock, field-grown, and two years old, is much stronger and better than greenhouse own-root plants, but even then only the very strongest varieties do well.

Our advice to all planters with whom the expense of replacing dead plants is not of much moment is this: From October to May plant your roses as soon as you have decided that you want them. Undoubtedly, you will lose some if you plant after the growing season has begun; perhaps if you plant the last of the winter you will not secure as good roses as if you set out perfectly dormant plants in the late autumn, but no doubt a great many of them will come through and be better plants the following year than if you had waited, say from the early spring to the following autumn. In addition to this there is the pleasure of having the roses.

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