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The Perpetual Rose

The Perpetual Rose

Roses were one of the most popular Victorian flowers. The one depicted here was called the Perpetual Rose, a result of a varied crossing of the China and Bourbon roses.

The ‘hybrid perpetuals’ were believed to be the most useful of roses for the garden: they had a strong scent, handsome foliage and full rich flowers.

If planting an entire bed of roses, gardeners were advised to plant a number of dwarf varieties as well as standards, and to plant in deep, rich and moist loam – for large and very double flowers the soil also needed a goodly amount of manure forked in. The standard English rose, or brier, needed a ‘stiff soil’, deeply dug and liberally manured. Standards were suited to clay soils. Where the soil was thin and stony and dry, the best rose was the ‘Manetti’ – roses grafted onto the Italian brier of that name.

All roses needed good drainage.

The principle enemy of the Victorian rose gardener was the aphid or ‘green fly’. Hibberd suggested that the best deterrent for aphids was plenty of water applied to the roots, which would make the rose grow vigorously, and also as frequent copious showers to the leaves of the plant to wash the pest away. If all else failed the gardener could apply tobacco-powder as an effective fly-killer, dusted on the young leaves and shoots and washed off soon afterwards with the use of a garden syringe.

Roses should be planted in the autumn and winter, but if you could only plant in spring, then the roots needed to be mulched over with a goodly amount of stable manure.

See also the page on the York and Lancaster Rose.

Information and image taken from F. Edward Hulme and Shirley Hibberd, Familiar Garden Flowers (Cassell, Peter, Galpin and Co.: London: c. 1890), 5 vols.

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