Game of Thorns

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The following essay was written in 1925 by Louis Boeglin, who was the Horticulturist for the MPLS Park Board at the time. I am just beginning to find out about this influential and talented man.

SOME INTERESTING FACTS On “GARDEN ROSES IN THE NORTHWEST”

March 5, 1925

By

Louis Boeglin,

Horticulturist,

Board of Park Commissioners,

Minneapolis, Minnesota.

GARDEN ROSES IN THE NORTHWEST

To be successful with roses, one must love them and know how to treat them properly. I think it is not so much the soil and the climate as it is the care and skill of the cultivator that wins success.

Roses love a well-drained, deeply prepared, and well fertilized soil. Hybrid remontants and heavy growing climbers like rather heavy soil, whereas teas, hybrid teas, and Bourbons revel in lighter and warmer soil. In our locality, budded plants are far superior to own-root plants.

Spring planting is preferable to fall planting in the Northwest. Before setting out the plants, the soil should be well prepared and the holes dug in advance and large enough to accommodate the roots in a natural and un-cramped position. Remember to keep the roots covered with damp burlap and dip them into a mud bath before setting out.

Plant the rose plants firmly – not too deep nor too shallow – just about one inch deeper than they were when growing in the nursery. Water after planting.

Hybrid remontants should be planted two and one-half to three feet apart; climbers not less than six feet; teas, hybrid teas, and Bourbons twenty to twenty-four inches apart.

When planted, trim them back, removing all but three to four of the strongest shoots, and trim them back also to about three to five eyes or buds.

Roses need continuous cultivation during their growing season. Keep the soil stirred so that it does not cake, but do not cultivate deeper than two inches, or you will injure the feeding roots of the plants. Water your roses thoroughly when necessary; do not sprinkle and think you are watering – soak the ground when you do water them, and then do not repeat until the surface is quite dry.

Protect your roses against disease and pests by taking proper care of them. Remember that a vigorous growth will act as the best protection against insects and disease. Well-rotted cow manure is the old standby fertilizer of the rose grower. Use plenty of it – roses seldom die of indigestion.

Green Aphis or plant lice can be easily overcome by spraying with a soap or weak nicotine solution, such as “Black Leaf 40”. The rose caterpillar or leaf roller can be destroyed by crushing them between thumb and finger. This crushing process is not an agreeable pastime, but it must be done, since it is the only solution. Watch out for them when the flower buds are forming and begin to show signs of plumpness.

“Black-spot” and mildew are the worst fungi diseases of our garden roses. Both can be prevented to some extent if the plants are regularly dusted with a mixture of nine parts of dusting Sulphur to one part of powdered lead arsenate. Repeat the dusting every two weeks during the summer, it will protect your plants against fungoid growth and certain insects. The “Black-spot” is a fungoid parasite which lives over the winter in dead rose leaves only. For that reason, in the fall all leaves should be removed from the rose plants and burned.

Mildew is mostly caused by great and sudden atmospheric changes and by long continued spells of damp weather. The best proven remedies are sulphur and soot. One of the two should be applied the moment the disease makes its appearance. The plants should be sprinkled with water so that the substance will adhere when applied, or else put it on early in the morning while the dew is still on the plants. Some localities are much more subject to visitation by this disease than others, and in such places care should be taken not to plant varieties that are known to be especially liable to mildew. Bear in mind that prevention is far better than cure, and keep your roses in a healthy condition and watch them closely every day during the growing season.

The most important problem which confronts rose growers in our locality is their winter protection. Special pains must be taken to ripen the wood of our rose plants before the frost comes, and late growth should be discouraged by stopping watering and cultivating in September. Water only once in October, if the soil is too dry to supply the plants with the necessary moisture over the winter months.

Before the frost arrives, tie the rose shoots closely together and pile the soil around the plants as high as possible. Let the plants stand in this condition until there is about four to five inches of frost in the ground; then cover hill and plant with dry leaves. Do not pack down the leaves, but protect them from wind with brush, chicken wire, or any other material at hand,

Roses must be protected against mice and rabbits during the winter. If the hill of soil around the plant is frozen, mice will do hardly any damage, but rabbits will, so a protective measure, such as chicken wire, should be employed to keep the rabbits off.

In protecting roses over winter, the following three points are of utmost importance:

  1. Cover and protect them from sunshine, to prevent thawing after frost has set in.
  2. Protect them from the drying effects of our strong winds and also against mice and rabbits.
  3. Do not prevent the free circulation of air about your plants, but do protect your covering material against rain with boards or any other waterproof material.

Do not uncover your plants too early in the spring – better wait until danger of frost is past. The most violent changes in weather occur during the early spring. If The weather is fine by the middle of April, you may uncover them, but keep your covering material close ayt hand – it may come handy if the weather should change.

The pruning of roses in our climate should not be done before the 15th of April. The tender varieties such as teas and hybrid teas, should not be pruned before the sap begins to flow and the buds begin to swell, for at this time dead and weak wood may be more easily distinguished and cut out than earlier in the season. Hybrid remontants and other strong growing kinds can be pruned any time weather permits. Austrian briar roses and Bourbons need very little pruning. Wichurainas and multifloras should be pruned just as soon as they have finished blooming during the summer.

Proper pruning is an art – it improves the productive power and the appearance of the plants. It consists of two distinct operations: First, the removal of dead, weak and superfluous wood; second, the shortening of the shoots which are allowed to remain on the plants after the thinning-out process has been completed.

In thinning-out, the shoots should be either cut clean away from the base of the plants or from their starting points on the old wood. When the plant has been pruned, it should present a well-balanced appearance on all sides. The rules of pruning are modified somewhat by the character of the plant. The weaker-growing varieties should be cut back farther than the strong-growing kinds. The strong-growing varieties, if cut back too heavily, will run to wood and in some cases will even kill the plants.

The crop of flowers on the rose plants is largely governed by the kind of pruning the plants receive. In fact, other conditions being ideal, the pruning will determine the quantity and quality of the flowers.

LIST OF THE BEST ROSES GROWN IN THE LYNDALE PARK ROSE GARDEN – 1924

                                                            Hybrid Perpetuals

J.B. ClarkCaptain Hayward
ClioFrau Karl Druschki
George ArendsGeneral Jacqueminot
Hugh DicksonMagna Charta
Mrs. John Irving Paul Neyron

                                                            Hybrid Teas

Grus an TeplitzLa France
WillowmereKillarney
RadianceMrs. Aaron Ward
Jonkheer J.L. MockRichmond
Kaiserian Augusta VictoriaGeorge Dickson
Red RadianceMme Karolina Testout
Mme Edward Herriot

                                                            Climbers

American PillarCrimson Rambler
Dorothy PerkinsDr. W. Van Fleet
TransendschonExcelsa

                                                            Polyanthas

Baby RamblerBaby Transenschon
OrleansBaby Dorothy
Anna MullerEdith Cavell
Red Orleans

There is quite a distinction between “good roses” and “good garden roses”. Those that flourish under glass may be worthless in the garden, while some varieties which do very well in mild climates are constitutionally unfit for the gardens of more northerly points. Most of the new introductions – native or immigrant – are really of very little value as garden roses for the northern part of our country. This fact clearly indicates the urgent need for a class of roses which are of undoubted hardiness, more resistant to disease, less liable to mildew and “Black-spot”, and more vigorous in constitution.

To obtain such ideal conditions in garden roses, the crossing and recrossing only of already existent pedigreed varieties – no matter how grand and perfect they are – is not sufficient to attain real improvement. The many wild and untried species of roses found all the way from Alaska to India and Siberia, form the only basis for judicious plant development – especially in order to break away from the everlasting and unavoidable inbreeding. These species are still in a healthy state, just as they came from the hand of Nature, and only in them has the Hybridist the pliable material with which to work towards the creation of real garden roses.

Our rose hybridists are making splendid progress in the improvement of greenhouse roses, but they are not enthusiastic about outside varieties. Small fortunes are made by originators of greenhouse roses, while the rewards for producing new outside roses are too small in comparison.

Our native rosarians are just as competent and persistent in their work as those cross the water, bur as long as they do not get full value for their work, they are justified in ignoring it.

Mr. Pernet Ducher, the eminent French Hybridist, who did as much towards the improvement of roses as any man alive, is still hard at work in his modest garden, living in very moderate circumstances, in spite of his life-long devotion and hard work in improving the “Queen of Flowers”. Honor and glory, I admit, are very desirable, but its market value in hard cash is certainly very low. An inventor of some simple device or toy can secure a patent for his invention and thus secure for himself protection against another person manufacturing a single item of his invention. Writers of songs, composers, and authors can have their works copyrighted, and thus securing their recompence with proper protection.

The originator of a valuable new flower or fruit cannot do so. From the first sale of his new origination, the buyer can begin propagation of the new product and can soon sell in competition with the originator, and often it happens that he sells at cut prices, which prevents the original producer from realizing any profit on his valuable production.

We hardly realize the self-sacrifice and lifelong devotion and study which the successful plant breeder must give before he brings about any permanent improvement in a plant, or the ease with which years of effort may be wiped out in a single season of unfortunate occurrences. Neither do we appreciate the fact that the emoluments which come to the plant breeder are rarely sufficient to cover the expenses of cultivation and care which the plants have required. It is these lamentable conditions, more than any other reason, which is retarding the development of our outdoor roses. When the inducements in returns are more promising to the plant breeder, the iron-clad class of outdoor roses which are able to flourish in our rigorous climate will be developed in a very short time.

The American culture of outside roses in a commercial way is still in its infancy, but in spite of it, our finished products compare favorably with those plants formerly imported from abroad. There is no reason why they should not be superior in a short time – the inducements to do so are certainly very favorable. Since the importation of roses from abroad is now greatly restricted, the future of the rose grower is bright with promise. We shall be able to grow all the roses we need, and grow them right. The rose user is willing to pay the price for fine rose plants. Rose growing is a real business proposition now for our nurserymen, and it is up to them to bestir themselves – the demand for their product is here; the danger of overloading the market with low-priced importations is past.

Real progress in rose culture is in order for the next few years. I believe in our rose growers – they will be ready to serve us well with stock grown for outside use and pot culture.

LOUIS BOEGLIN

Horticulturalist

March 5, 1925

I saw all of these guys on the same day recently. The bee was the size of 1/2 my thumb, while the toad would have fit on the nail of my middle finger.

First spring toad. We like these guys and more are showing up.

Last year’s Japanese Beetles. No one likes these guys.

We would like to thank our new sponsors.

Faceplant, a social media platform for horticulturalists.

The Dorothy Parker School of Conceptual Gardening. When you know your roses kick grass.

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