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In submitting the present work to the public, it is thought desirable to state that it contains an exposition of the principles followed in the Cheshunt Nurseries, where the Rose has been extensively and successfully cultivated for many years. A chief inducement to its publication was, the writer's desire to improve the condition of a favourite flower. It had long appeared to him that a work entering into the detail of Rose-culture, elucidating the various practices by means of Wood-engravings, and furnishing Coloured Plates of some of the choicest kinds, was a desideratum; and that the non-existence of such a work proved a formidable barrier to the agreeable and satisfactory prosecution of this branch of Floriculture.
Holding these views, it was his wish to publish in a form, and at a price, which would place the work within reach of the humblest cultivator; but the great expense attending the production of Coloured Plates in a highly-finished style, and the knowledge that the circulation of a class-work must necessarily be limited, pointed out the impracticability of pursuing such a course, and the idea was ultimately, though with reluctance, abandoned.
The publication did not, however, appear unadvisable because it could not be made more generally accessible. On the contrary, it was evident, from conversation with numerous Amateurs and professional Florists, who from time to time visited the Nurseries, that it was greatly required. It was argued that there were more lovers of Aowers seeking amusement in the culture of the Rose at the present time than at any previous period; that the most difficult and important branches of cultivation were nowhere fully and clearly treated of; and that although other favourites had figured liberally in the Floricultural Periodicals of the day, this had remained almost unnoticed, no series of Coloured Drawings having appeared later than 1820, since which period the Rose had undergone a thorough change. Into the causes of this it is needless to inquire. Suffice it to say, that the neglect could not have originated in an indifference to the merits, or a supposed unpopularity of the flower. We can scarcely enter any garden, however humble, which does not contain a Rose-tree; and many of the noted establishments in England have, like in Rome of old, places set apart expressly for their cultivation. And it is not a slavish obedience to fashion that has led to this. Although cherished alike by peer and peasant, the popularity of the Rose rests on a surer foundation—its intrinsic merit. What other genus of plants embraces so great a variety of character, or gives forth such a number of delicious blossoms for so long a period ? Moreover, it is easy of culture ; suited to a great variety of soils ; lives and blooms even when neglected; yet yields an abundant return for whatever labour may be bestowed
it. The Rose Garden is arranged in two Divisions. The First includes Chapters on The History of the Rose, the Formation of the Rosarium, and the various practices of Cultivation. The Chapters on Hybridizing and raising Seedlings are, it is believed, altogether new, and likely to prove interesting and useful at this particular era in Rose-culture. The Second Division embraces a natural arrangement of all the approved Roses known, with full descriptions of their colours, sizes, forms, degrees of fulness, habit, rates of growth, and purposes for which best suited. The descriptions are chiefly the result of close personal observation, having been taken from living specimens at a great cost of time and labour; which will be granted readily, when it is stated that above 2000 varieties are described. Nevertheless, it was judged desirable to pursue this course, in order to attain to that accuracy in the descriptive part of the work which should render it a safe and efficient guide in selecting varieties.
The execution of the Coloured Drawings has been entrusted to eminent artists, whose design has been, not to fabricate a pleasing flower, but to produce exact representations of nature. This feature of the work presents the cultivator with Roses at all seasons ;-alike when the blasts of autumn scatter his favourites without doors to the winds of heaven, and the rigours of winter surround them with the garb of death.
Before concluding, the writer would acknowledge his obligations to numerous Correspondents for suggestions received from time to time during the period of publication. Such Letters as contained hints on cultivation he has inserted in the Appendix as advertised; and regrets that want of space should have compelled him to curtail some interesting communications. The “ Botanical Notes on the Rose” are particularly valuable, and should be read by all who feel inclined to enter upon the pleasing task of raising seedlings.
NURSERIES, CHESHUNT, Herts,
May 1st, 1848.
TABLE OF CHAPTERS.
Class 1.-SUMMER ROSES.
GROUP 1. The Boursault Rose
GROUP 2. The Double Yellow Rose .
GROUP 3. The Scotch Rose
GROUP 4. The Damask Rose
GROUP 5. The Provence Rose, with its Hybrids
GROUP 6. The Miniature Provence or Pompon Rose
GROUP 7. The Moss Rose
GROUP 8. The French Rose
GROUP 9. The Hybrid French