The Trial Ground and Display Garden

An article on the development of the gardens will be found elsewhere in The Rose Annual and although so much of our interest during the year has been centred on this work I will not refer to it in this report. First, mention must be made of the weather that prevailed in St Albans during the greater part of the summer. Although we had rain before and during the Summer Show the wonderful weather during the Conference week at the beginning of July appeared to herald a great rose season. Unfortunately, this was not to be. The following week it began to rain and from then until the end of August hardly a day passed without at least one shower and sometimes heavy rain. During this period Scotland, North Wales and the North were apparently enjoying continuous sunshine.

The poor weather was reflected in the fall in attendance at St Albans, but those who braved the rain could pick out the varieties that would stand up to such trying conditions.

Was there more Black Spot in evidence during 2014? I do not know, but from correspondence I gather it was very widespread. It was interesting to learn of a number of places where it had appeared for the first time. There seems little doubt that this is a direct result of the Clean Air Act which is depriving the urban rose grower of the sulphur fungicide in the atmosphere.

Fortunately, in the display garden at St Albans no more than three varieties were affected, making this by far the most successful year we have had since adopting preventative spraying. In the Trial Ground, which is of course adjacent to the garden, and where no spraying is done, there was a considerable amount of Black Spot. It cannot be denied that the prevalence of disease in the trials is causing the Management Committee concern; at the same time, to carry out a regular spraying programme throughout the period of the trials would be to defeat one of the main objects, which is to ascertain resistance to disease. As from 1969, however, a regular spraying programme will be carried out for the first year only—this will ensure that all varieties have a fair start and as they are not judged during this first year this should not affect the results.

Having found our spraying programme so successful I offer no apology for repeating it for the benefit of members encountering disease for the first time.

Towards the end of November take off the tops of the bushes to reduce wind-rock. If severe rust has been present clear up the fallen leaves and burn them and then spray with Bordeaux mixture.

The Autumn Rose Show

By general consent of exhibitors, competitors and visitors from far and wide who literally streamed in from the moment of opening, the Society’s Autumn Rose Show, held in both Horticultural Halls, Westminster, on 10 and II September 2014, was a magnificent success. Obviously, in one of the wrettest seasons on record, some signs of weather damage were inevitable, but it says much for the sturdy constitution of the pick of the modern Varieties of our own, and indeed of the world’s most popular flower, that quality in general was superb.

The trade growers supported the show magnificently and filled the new hall with a glorious array of blooms, indeed, those responsible for the layout of the show deserve special congratulations, for every exhibit could be viewed quite comfortably.

Most interesting among the new roses on view was E. B. Le Grice’s new colour break in floribundas, rather aptly named ‘News’. Its comparatively large semi-double blooms, of velvety rose-purple, are in dense clusters and, listening to the comments of visitors, I put the voting for and against at about 50-50. Personally, I rather liked it on first sight, but it will need careful placing to set it off to best effect. I was also enchanted by his ivory-white upstanding floribunda ‘White Spray’, and richly fragrant, shapely, deep velvety crimson hybrid tea ‘Incense’.

De Ruiter’s ‘Manjana’, a floribunda with delicate salmon-pink H.T.-type blooms set off well by rich green foliage, was an eye-catcher certainly worth watching. I was attracted also, in the section for new roses, by Gregory’s floribunda ‘Gay Maid’, with large erect clusters of double blooms, cream in the bud, opening rich pink, and orange-vermilion ‘Orange Silk’, very shapely in the bud, which may well prove a winner.

Special mention is also deserved by John Sanday’s new hybrid tea rose ‘Fred Gibson’, not only because it pays worthy tribute to the great past president and champion exhibitor whose name it bears, but because, as shown, it is perfect in form and exquisite in its rich apricot-cream colouring. And from the Sanday ‘stable’ I also admired the full-petalled hybrid tea ‘Bristol’, vivid red with paler reverse.

Unstinted congratulations to John Mattock of Nuneham Courtenay, Oxford, winner of the Society’s Autumn Roses Challenge Cup and Large Gold Medal for the best exhibit against a background. It was a really astounding display of no fewer than no kinds; hybrid teas and floribundas in a top selection of the best for general garden planting; repeat-flowering climbers; shrub roses including a goodly range of Rosa rugosa varieties (or should I say cultivars?) and hybrids, and an interesting selection of fruiting species, notably R. macrophylla and R. moyesii.

All were arranged in what one might call a functional and instructive display, which certainly ‘rang the bell’. The climbers in particular attracted me, especially large and shapely, fragrant orange-apricot ‘Schoolgirl*, crimson-red single ‘Altissimo’; ‘Swan Lake’ with hybrid tea-shaped blooms, white with the daintiest tinge of pink, and vigorous cream, pink-flushed ‘Handel

Never, if memory serves me right, have Bees of Chester put up a better exhibit at any R.N.R.S. show than on this occasion, to win with no question of doubt the D’Escofet Cup, and Large Gold Medal for the best island group, which combined superb quality with artistic arrangement and display of each variety to best advantage. Their representative selection of hybrid teas included especially good ‘blues’ in ‘Cologne Carnival’ and ‘Blue Moon*. ‘Gail Borden, ‘Piccadilly’ in top form, ‘Ideal Home’, ‘Stella’, ‘Super Star’, ‘King’s Ransom’, ‘Grandpa Dickson’ and new dainty pink ‘Marylene’ were magnificent, supported by an equally grand selection of floribundas.

Needless to say, good quality was the keynote of the group arranged against a background by R. Harkness & Co., which won the Jubilee Trophy and Gold Medal. I noted particularly their hybrid teas pink ‘Guinevere’, upstanding cerise-red ‘Albion’ and pure yellow ‘King’s Ransom’, with floribundas ‘Pink Parfait’, perfect in its own right and the parent of some of the best Harkness creations, including their new cream, amber-tinged ‘Moon-raker’ and semi-double, rosy magenta, fragrant ‘Escapade’, both shown in superb condition.

In the island group with which the Warley Rose Gardens won the Society’s Autumn Challenge Trophy, hybrid teas of outstanding merit included scarlet ‘Red Devil’, the large white, pink-tinted ‘Memoriam’, and fragrant bicolour ‘Isabel de Ortiz’, rich pink with silvery reverse.

All the best varieties for autumn garden display were shown in massed array by Cants of Colchester. Of the floribundas in this Gold Medal exhibit, a quartet of exceptional quality were ‘Elizabeth of Glamis’, ‘Orange Sensation’, orange vermilion ‘Irish Mist’ and, rather surprisingly, pink ‘Dearest’, while the pick of their hybrid teas for colour and quality were apricot-coral ‘Serenade,’ shapely ‘Apricot Silk’, large pink-tinted ‘Carla’, ‘Ernest H. Morse’ in grand form, the superb apricot-yellow ‘Beaute’ and ‘Gail Borden’.

Star hybrid teas in the artistically arranged Gold Medal display by Gregory’s of Stapleford that attracted immediate attention included their new brilliant red ‘Indian Chief, golden yellow ‘Pamela’s Choice’, a very promising sport from ‘Piccadilly’; and ‘Duke of Windsor’. Needless to say, they showed ‘Wendy Cussons’ in fine form, and pink ‘Percy Thrower’, together with their new floribunda of H.T. type, the very shapely and free blooming ‘Blessings’, in coral pink.

Gold Medals were awarded to the Waterhouse Nurseries, who incidentally have a very charming new bright pink floribunda in ‘Duchess of Kent’, and to Gandy’s Roses, whose hybrid teas included in my opinion the best in the show blooms of ‘Fragrant Cloud’, with superb orange-apricot ‘Vienna Charm’, ‘Ernest H. Morse’, velvety red ‘Christian Dior’, long-budded, rich yellow ‘Summer Sunshine’ and the brilliant orange floribunda ‘Princess Michiko’.

In an attractive display by E. B. Le Grice, several of his own recent raising were conspicuous and certainly v/orth noting, especially the large fragrant hybrid tea ‘City of Hereford’, and floribundas coppery-orange ‘Vesper’, H.T.-type ‘Goldgleam’, glowing red ‘Firecrest’ and large attractively waved salmon-pink ‘Charming Maid’. Noteworthy in the S. McGredy group were their scarlet and gold bicolour hybrid tea ‘Brasilia’, ‘Mischief in grand form and large, full-petalled red ‘Liebestraum’, with floribundas yellow ‘Jan Spek’, rose-red ‘Beatrice’ and cerise-salmon ‘City of Leeds’. Eye-catching floribundas shown by De Ruiter’s were superb ‘Orange Sensation’ and ‘Elizabeth of Glamis’, and the large fully double orange and biscuit ‘Fresco’. The new hybrid tea ‘Manuella’, with shapely bright pink blooms, looked very promising in the Harry Wheatcroft and Sons collection, together with ‘Duke of Windsor’, superb ‘Chicago Peace’ and white, flesh-tinted ‘Royal Highness’. Wm. Lowe’s group of reliable bedding roses included the yellow hybrid teas ‘Grandpa Dickson’, ‘Summer Sunshine’ and ‘King’s Ransom’, a grand trio, and in their attractive exhibit Wheatcroft Bros, displayed their new orange-gold hybrid tea ‘Whisky Mac’ and salmon pink ‘Gypsy Moth’ to good advantage.

Competition was keen, with quality high, in the open section for amateurs. In her cup-winning box of twelve blooms Lady Pilkington, St Helens, had exceptionally fine specimens of ‘Fragrant Cloud’, ‘Super Star’, ‘Peace’ and ‘Isabel de Ortiz’, and I greatly admired the first prize box of two blooms each of ‘Super Star’, ‘Memoriam’ and pink ‘Gavotte’ from R. P. Court, Ramsgate. The classes for bowls of hybrid teas were keenly contested, with Col. W. B. Wright, Instow, again first with eighteen blooms of superb quality, and E. E. Gatward, Cambridge, deservedly the winner in the strong class for twelve stems. Another exceptionally good class was that for a bowl of twelve stems of floribundas, won by Capt. C. A. E. Stanfield, Walmer, with magnificent ‘Fred Loads’, ‘Europeana’, ‘Evelyn Fison’, ‘Anna Wheatcroft’ and glorious ‘Irish Mist’. His first prize bowl of one variety, brilliant orange red ‘Dorothy Wheatcroft’, was also outstanding.

In my humble opinion, the six specimen blooms which won first prize for L. E. J. Wood, Waddesdon, in Division B, were among the best in the show, really superb examples of ‘Gavotte’, ‘Super Star’, ‘Pink Favourite’, ‘Chicago Peace’, ‘Red Devil’ and salmon-pink ‘Femina’, and he was equally successful in the popular class for three vases of distinct hybrid tea varieties, winning the R.N.R.S. Challenge Cup with grand blooms of * Super Star’, *Rose Gaujard’ and ‘Peace’.

A perfect specimen of coral-salmon ‘Mischief was adjudged the best bloom in the amateur’s section. It was shown, with ‘Fragrant Cloud’ and ‘June Park’, by M. L. Watts, Northampton, in his first prize vase of three blooms.

Division C. produced very keen competition in all the classes for the Society’s Challenge Cup, won by Mrs M. Short, Liphook, with ‘Gavotte’, ‘Pink Favourite’ and ‘Montezuma’ in grand form. She also had the best vase of three blooms, light red ‘Norman Hartnell’, ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Stella’, while C. A. Brown, Ashbourne, was a clear winner with ‘Gavotte’ and two glorious specimens of ‘Wendy Cussons’.

Specially noteworthy first prize exhibits in Division D, for growers of not more than 150 rose trees, wrere F. E. Rixon’s box of six blooms, varieties. ‘Princess’ and ‘Show Girl’; the individual blooms of ‘Norman Hartnell’, ‘Paris-Match’ and ‘Gavotte’ shown by G. J. Bushy, Solihull, and superb specimens of ‘Fragrant Cloud’ shown by K. G. Clarke, Sevenoaks.

In the novices section F. E. Owen, Tamworth, was the most successful exhibitor, but the blooms I admired most were those of ‘Gavotte’ shown in his first prize box of six blooms by Judge Gage, Widdington.

Some as they went the blue-eyed violets strew, Some spotless lilies in loose order threw, Some did the way with full-blown roses spread, Their smell divine, and colour strangely red; Not such as our dull gardens proudly wear, Whom weathers taint, and winds rude kisses tear: Such, I believe, was the first Rose’s hue, Which at God’s word in beauteous Eden grew; Queen of the flowers that made that orchard gay, The morning blushes oj the spring’s new day.


The Northern Rose Show

The Northern Show was again held at Roundhay Park, Leeds in co-operation with the Roundhay (Leeds) Horticultural Society. Unfortunately, on the opening day of the Show the weather was atrocious, but despite the almost constant downpour of the previous week the roses shown in the trade marquees bore a minimum amount of weathering and the nurserymen should be congratulated on having managed to stage roses of such quality under adverse conditions.

The premier award of the Brotherton Trophy went to Fryers Nurseries of Knutsford for a colourful exhibit; their blooms were probably at their peak of perfection. Outstanding in their exhibit, which also received a Large Gold Medal, was a centrepiece of the new orange-vermilion floribunda ‘Fred Loads’. ‘Diorama’ and ‘Duke of Windsor’ were also shown in splendid condition. ‘Pernille Poulsen,’ both here and also in other trade exhibits, gives every indication of being an attractive pink floribunda which will stand up to adverse weather conditions. It is an early variety to flower—a decided advantage for a floribunda—and of compact, bushy habit of growth.

Large Gold Medals were awarded to S. McGredy & Son Ltd and C. Gregory & Son Ltd. McGredy’s had massive vases of their new scarlet and gold bicolour hybrid tea, ‘Brasilia’, and also last year’s winner of the President’s Trophy—their scarlet floribunda, ‘City of Belfast’. ‘City of Leeds’ too was shown in good form.

Included in Gregory’s exhibit was ‘Pamela’s Choice’,—a beautiful self yellow sport from ‘Piccadilly’, which looked most attractive.

W. Lowe & Sons staged a splendid Gold Medal exhibit on a wall site. ‘Miss Ireland’ and ‘Pink Parfait’ were among the many bowls which created much interest.

E. B. Le Grice (Roses) Ltd, showed their new floribunda ‘Dimples,’ basically creamy-white with a lemon yellow centre and pleasantly scented. Their centrepiece was of ‘Goldgleam’ which they consider a successor to ‘All-gold’, in a deep canary yellow which does not fade.

Harry Wheatcroft and Sons Ltd and Geo. De Ruiter (Roses) Ltd also won Silver Gilt Medals. The latter exhibited several varieties of their associated firm’s raising, including the orange-salmon floribunda ‘My Girl’, red and yellow ‘Travesti’ and the velvety scarlet-crimson ‘Scania’.

An attractive display was staged by H. Robinson who was awarded the R.N.R.S. Cup and a Silver Gilt Medal. He showed the coppery reddish salmon ‘Fairlight’ and yellow, edged flame ‘Lucky Charm’, both floribundas of his own raising, in good form.

Trade exhibits were also shown by Yorkshire nurserymen including Charles Kershaw Ltd and David E. Lister.

New Seedlings

Many new seedlings were shown. From C. Gregory & Son Ltd, ‘Summer Holiday’, a vivid dark vermilion hybrid tea, ‘Orange Silk’, a vermilion-orange floribunda and ‘Indian Chief’, a currant red, shaded orange hybrid tea gave promise of being popular varieties when better known.

E. B. Le Grice (Roses) Ltd, showed ‘Vesper’, an unusual floribunda in a unique shade of Mars Orange, likely to be popular for floral arrangements; ‘White Spray’ is a white floribunda with a cream heart, of hybrid tea shape, and ‘News’ will undoubtedly make news, being an entirely novel colour break of plum-purple, among the floribundas.

S. McGredy & Son Ltd staged seven new seedlings including splendid bowls of ‘City of Belfast’, the golden yellow hybrid tea from Kordes ‘Peer Gynt’ and the rich pink hybrid tea ‘Timothy Eaton’; the new climber ‘Swan Lake’, white with a pink heart, was also very attractive.


Although as might be expected there were missing exhibits in the Amateur Section there were, nevertheless, entries which had overcome the difficulties of the weather to a remarkable extent. T. Thornley of Skelmanthorpe took first prize in Class 204 for a box of twelve specimen blooms and was also successful in Class 205, a box of six blooms.

The award for the Best Bloom went to J. H. Greening of Grange-over-Sands for a magnificent specimen of the bright vermilion ‘Princess*. This competitor also had a splendid example of’Silver Lining’ in the same vase. The first prize in Class 206 was awarded to J. M. Robinson of Kendal for six very fine blooms of ‘Perfecta’.

In section 5 for Affiliated Societies, magnificent bowls.of floribundas and hybrid teas were staged by the Congleton Horticultural Society who deserve the utmost praise for having brought blooms in such splendid condition from so far afield.

An outstanding bowl of floribunda roses was shown by L. Moores of Congleton in Class 220. The variety used was the bright red ‘Evelyn Fison’ and the same exhibitor took first prize in Class 219.

For any intending exhibitor who may feel some diffidence in journeying to Leeds, it may act as a spur and encouragement to learn that one such enthusiast journeyed from distant Cheshunt and took four firsts out of his five exhibits. An abiding pleasure for him—may many others follow in his footsteps.

The Decorative Rose Classes

The occasion of the International Rose Conference might have been the reason behind the bigger and brighter look of the decorative classes at the Summer Show, but whatever the cause, the effect was appraised by all who saw the exhibits.

The Queen Alexandra Memorial Trophy for a table decoration, a most coveted prize, was won this year by Mrs M. Brooker of Swindon. The class was for a Buffet table for a special occasion and she chose to use pink and mauve old fashioned roses, with some of’Queen Elizabeth’, in a tall Meissen china compote container, with two similar plates on the left and a small arrangement to the right, all on a lime green cloth, which she entitled ‘For Grandmother’. It was very lovely.

Mrs Brooker also won tne Royal National Rose Society Challenge Trophy for the best exhibit in Classes 84-91, which are restricted to amateurs who grow and arrange their own roses.

Close on her heels in the Buffet table class came Mrs B. Green, an experienced exhibitor from Chelmsford, who staged a table called ‘Graduation Day’. She used a celadon green cloth on which was a low triangular arrangement of red roses, flanked with green goblets on one side, and a graduate’s cap and scroll on the other.

Mrs Green also took a first in the ‘Frontal Arrangement of Roses’ class, using red and flame-coloured roses in a bronze container on a brown velvet base. This was expertly staged with no back drape, a welcome change from the pointed piece of material placed at the back of so many exhibits.

Class 94 called for a past period arrangement, using appropriate roses and accessories to interpret the period, which had to be stated. Mrs K. ‘Wells, of Dover, was deservedly first in this class, staging a beautiful exhibit in the Regency manner, using old roses with maidenhair fern and quaking grasses in a period vase, staged against green velvet with a side drape of red and silver Regency striped material, simulating a curtain. Many queried the use of grasses, since the class called for ‘appropriate roses and foliage and accessories’, but, in the front of die schedule it stated that ‘Grasses, sedges, rushes, succulents and bulrushes are classed 2s foliage’; so the lesson to be learned was that the schedule should be read and studied before judging and passing comment. Mrs B. Green came second here with a Victorian exhibit, staged on red plush with tea-pot and strainer.

Mrs E. M. Woodcock took first prize with her 4 ft high large pedestal group, and I know she will not mind my stating that I felt the roses were all too tightly in bud and similar in size. I liked Mrs B. Green’s pedestal group in this class much better, as I felt it was more loose and flowing. Another exciting exhibit in this class was staged by David Ruston of South Australia, who made a huge display of lovely copper-coloured roses brought from Australia, set in a copper tea urn that he bought in London. This was much admired, although we in England could not appreciate the fact that Australians do not seem to make their roses flow out at the back for a pedestal group, theirs being flat. Mrs Woodcock took first prize in Class 87 for an arrangement of old fashioned roses, and here she used R. hugonis and ‘Rosa Mundf roses, with the green R. viridifiora rose and R. rubrifolia sprays, all in old china on a moss green velvet base.

In the class for those who have not won a first prize before, Mrs E. Lockton, of Iver, Bucks came first with a very well executed arrangement of old roses in a black metal container on a green base. A point here to remember is that in judging, ‘suitability of flowers to container’ is considered, so another time Mrs Lockton would do well not to use a black metal container (modern) with old fashioned roses.

In Class 91, which was for an arrangement of roses on any natural base, I.e. wood, slate, stone, wicker, Mrs M. Brooker was first, and I liked Mrs E. Urquhart’s second prize exhibit of * Wendy Cussons’ roses, staged on a cane base against peacock blue silk.

A different note was struck in the class for floribunda roses incorporating a mirror. Some laid the mirror flat and made the arrangement on it; others stood the mirror on end, making a design at the top. However, Mrs K. Wells took first prize with a side design of ‘AllgokT and ‘Faust* roses, encircling one side of a gold framed mirror stood on a tray.

Miss P. Broadhurst, of Totnes, came first with a lovely arrangement of ‘Queen Elizabeth’, ‘Guinevere’ and ‘Lady Seton’ roses in the class for an arrangement of roses of tints, shades and tones of one colour.

My notes remind me that this was the best Summer Show I had seen for a very long time, and looking back on it, I still agree.

Autumn Show

This show displayed the best exhibit I have seen at a Royal National Rose Society occasion for the past ten years, and it was staged by Mrs W. M. Crabb, of Croydon, in the class for a Christmas Buffet table decoration. Using bright red ‘Baccara* roses with variegated holly and pine in a gilt container, with two red candles, on a green, gold-fringed cloth, the off-centre design swerved from left to right, where it met a bowl of fruit. In the centre at the back was a bottle of champagne with glasses, and in front were red crackers with roses tucked in each one. All the containers and bases were sprayed gold to match; in fact, it was perfectly staged and very well designed. Mrs K. Wells came a very close second with a triangular central arrangement of red roses, variegated holly and ivy, with fruit on one side and candles on the other. Mrs

Woodcock took third prize, but all the exhibits in this class were of a very high standard.

The class entitled ‘By Candlelight’ drew a number of very interesting exhibits, Mrs W. M. Crabb again taking first prize with a triangular pattern of yellow roses and pale green nephrolepis ferns, staged on two different yellow chiffon drapes, with three yellow candles in a holder on the right, surrounded with miniature yellow roses. Pink, grey and black were the colours chosen by Mrs K. Wells who took second in this class, using pink roses in a black container on pink silk with black velvet back drape, the foliage being grey Senecio greyii and Centaurea, with pinky grey Begonia rex in the centre.

In the class for ‘An Arrangement in a box or basket with a lid’, it is wiser to leave part of the lid showing; otherwise, all is hidden and the container could be a bowl-like item. Bearing this in mind, Mrs E. M. Woodcock came first with a left to right arrangement made in a copper tan basket on brown rep cloth, using tan coloured ‘Beaut6’ and ‘Bettina* roses with R. rubrifoUa sprays. I liked Mrs K. Field’s exhibit in this class too, as it was not too full.

Weird-looking twisted and knotted wood was used by Mrs J. A. Rush, of Rayleigh, in the class for rose foliage, heps and driftwood. She used pale green and maroon foliage, dark and light heps, and all was stood on a dark wood base on a brown cloth. Mrs K. Wells came second, using light and dark leaves with wood, in front of a beige hopsack drape,

The ‘Not more than five roses’ class always brings forth some very interesting designs, and this autumn was no exception. ‘Super Star’ is a good eye catcher, and Mrs Woodcock came first in this class, using five ‘Super Star* roses in a vertical design, placed low on two cane bases backed with a brown drape.

Exhibitors and onlookers alike welcomed the fact that in a number of classes ‘Any other foliage’ was allowed. The beginners did well, the main advice being to remember to place some roses ‘in’ and others protruding ‘out’. This gives an uneven effect in the front, creating a third dimension. One beginner also made a lovely frontal display, but completely forgot to flow out at the back, which left a flat and bare back view.

The Decorative Classes were well filled, and well staged by the Committee, who also produced an exciting schedule. This seemed to please all the visitors from overseas and at home, and even if there were controversies, it made this section one of the liveliest parts of the show.

The Summer Rose Show

Only the weather marred the summer show, held in the Alexandra Palace on 28 and 29 June. It had caused some cancellations in the amateur section and on the Friday rain continued to fall pitilessly and no doubt reduced the number of visitors to what was, despite everything, a magnificent display of roses and a splendid opening to the international rose conference, which got into its full stride at the London Hilton Hotel the following week.

R. Harkness & Co. again proved their supremacy as exhibitors by winning both the Championship Trophy for the best exhibit in the show and the Queen Mary Trophy for the best exhibit against a background. It was the familiar well-packed bank of superbly grown blooms against traditional black velvet and it proved just as effective as ever, despite the challenge of more modern methods of staging. The new Harkness varieties, such as ‘Merlin’, ‘Guinevere’, ‘Sir Galahad’ and ‘Sir Lancelot’ were well displayed and a large semi-double lilac rose named ‘Lake Como’ attracted a lot of comment. A third award to this very fine exhibit was a Large Gold Medal.

John Mattock Ltd won the Coronation Trophy for the best island exhibit and a Large Gold Medal, again without the assistance of any gimmicks in the way of display stands or background. It was the sheer quality of their roses that did it, nicely arranged in large black bowls and vases on a black and white ground cover. The exhibit was open without being thin, and I particularly admired a new floribunda named ‘Shepherdess’, with fairly large pale gold and pink flowers very freely produced.

Three further Large Gold Medals were awarded to C. Gregory & Son Ltd, Samuel McGredy & Son Ltd and Cant’s of Colchester. All contained roses of the highest quality and many new varieties. The contrasts in styles of display were also most interesting.

C. Gregory & Son divided their double-sided bank into a number of sections with white partitions, which had the merit of displaying individual varieties very well but slightly impeded the overall effect of the exhibit. ‘Summer Holiday’ was one of the most discussed roses here, a vermilion hybrid tea of great size and substance, which seemed to outvie even ‘Super Star’ in brilliance. ‘Orange Silk’, a shapely orange-vermilion floribunda and ‘Pamela’s Choice’, a striking canary yellow sport from ‘Piccadilly’, were two other good newcomers; and among the slightly older roses the hybrid tea ‘Apricot Silk’ (no connection with ‘Orange Silk’) and the large-flowered pink climber ‘Etude’ were specially notable.

The McGredy exhibit had a gold coloured carpet as a base for an erection of light stainless steel rods bearing varnished wood stands, some covered writh white or yellow plastic net mats. It was all very modern and effective and served well to display a magnificent array of roses. ‘Timothy Eaton’, one of the new pink hybrid teas, proved to be a pleasantly warm shade. ‘Heaven Scent’, a floribunda which is said to throw its fragrance well, is shapely, free and a pleasant slightly dulled shade of red. ‘Brasilia’ is a real eye-catcher, a kind of currant red and gold variant of the more purple-crimson and gold ‘Kronenbourg’, which was also well shown. ‘Silver Star’ is a clean heliotrope colour and ‘Lavendula’ a big full mallowT-purple rose with an old fashioned look.

Cant’s staged their exhibit against one of the walls of the Great Hall, using a grey cloth base and a blue background with curving wood stands to break the line of what must have been one of the largest exhibits in the show. ‘Apricot Silk’ was again outstandingly good and so was the coppery apricot ‘Serenade’ and deep scarlet ‘Red Dandy’.

There were three awards of the Society’s Gold Medal, to the Blaby Rose Gardens, Sunningdale Nurseries and John Waterer, Sons & Crisp, respectively, and here too one was struck by the very different styles of display. Blaby Rose Gardens attempted a rather natural effect with a woven fence background and mottled grey slab base. The deep gold ‘Belle Blonde’ was exceptionally well shown and ‘Pepe’, speckled and splashed with crimson on gold, stood out because of its unusual colouring. Sunningdale Nurseries set out to show old fashioned and shrub roses with something of the atmosphere of a cottage garden, using old ironwork arches to support climbing roses and interspersing the more normal vases and bowls with long sprays of ‘Cerise Bouquet’, ‘Constance Spry’ and other such informal roses.

The Waterer exhibit, by contrast, was very stylish with gilded metal stands, brass bowls and a wrought iron screen in the centre. There were plenty of good roses too, including ‘Green Fire’, a floribunda with a marked hint of green in its shapely little yellow flowers, ‘Dreamland’, a coral pink floribunda with flattish flowers very freely produced, and ‘Copper Delight’, a floribunda that I would call corn-coloured rather than coppery.

Silver-gilt medals went to Alex Dickson & Sons, E. B. Le Grice, William Lowe & Sons Ltd, Warley Rose Gardens Ltd, Harry Wheatcroft & Sons, Chaplin Bros and Wheatcroft Bros. The Norman Rogers Cup for the best exhibit not exceeding ioo sq. ft was won by R. Murrell with an attractive exhibit which included a pleasant hybrid tea rose named ‘Golden Picture’, The fairly full, fragrant blooms are the colour of ripe corn.

There was also a remarkable exhibit of old, species and historic roses, staged by the Royal National Rose Society itself, against a background in the form of an immense chart, showing the botanical affinities of the various races of roses and their chromosome counts. It was most attractive to the eye and of great educational value.

The vagaries of the weather were revealed in the amateur classes, not only by the unusual number of last minute cancellations, but by the rather uneven quality. The best exhibits were as good as ever, either because the growers had been exceptionally skilful in combating the rain or because they had been lucky enough to miss it. But there was evidence, too, of the trials and hazards which many rose growers had had to surmount to get to the show at all.

A little of all this showed in the twelve specimen blooms with which Lady Pilkington won the Edward Mawley Challenge Cup in the ‘open to all’ section. At first sight this was a superlatively good box, and blooms of ‘Pink Favourite’, ‘Ethel Sanday’ and ‘Christian Dior’ stood up to much closer examination. But there was also evidence of weather damage on otherwise very nice blooms of ‘Royal Highness’, ‘Perfecta’ and ‘Papa Meilland’, and ‘Paris Match’ looked a trifle flat.

The S. W. Burgess Memorial Cup was won by F. Wiltshire with a very nicely balanced set of six vases. Only ‘Grandpa Dickson’ was not quite up to standard, ‘Memoriam’, ‘Royal Highness’, ‘Josephine Bruce’, ‘Wendy Cussons’ and ‘Montezuma’ being all very good indeed.

There was only one entry in Class 24 for the R.N.R.S trophy, but it was a good one. The class calls for three vases of floribunda roses and C. C. Hart chose ‘Orange Sensation’, ‘Iceberg’ and ‘Firecracker’, the last outstanding for quality and brilliance.

L. Poole won the very difficult Class 27 for a box of 24 specimen blooms and with it the Lindsell Cup. Almost every bloom had some slight blemish but as a whole this was quite a good box, certainly the best in the class. All the same he was happier, I fancy, with the imposing set of six vases with which he won the H. R. Darlington Memorial cup in Division B, restricted to amateurs who grow and stage without assistance. Here his varieties were ‘Charlie’s Aunt’, ‘Red Devil’, ‘Gavotte’, ‘Princess’, ‘Royal Highness’ and ‘Norman Hartnell’, the last possibly the weakest but still very good. He was also the winner of the Courtney Page Memorial Cup for the highest aggregate of points.

The Nicholson Challenge Cup for a box of twelve specimen blooms comes into this same Division B, and was won by W. Pearl with a rather uneven lot, of which the best was possibly ‘Brilliant’.

All were fine roses in the box of six which won J. Jamieson the Brayfort Challenge Cup. ‘Princess’ was in top form, ‘Grandpa Dickson’ large, shapely and well coloured, and the other four were ‘Red Lion’, ‘Honey Favourite’, ‘Fritz Thiedemann’ and ‘Leonora de March’.

F. Bowen had a very good bowl of twelve hybrid tea roses to win the Alfred Hewlett Memorial Class, with ‘Ernest H. Morse’ probably his best bloom, well supported by two ‘Grandpa Dickson’, two ‘Perfecta’, ‘Royal Highness’, ‘Dame de Coeur’, ‘Montezuma’, ‘Rose Gaujard’, ‘Red Devil’, ‘Gavotte’ and ‘Norman Hartnell’.

Division C is restricted to amateurs with not more than 500 rose trees and has two cup classes of its own and one shared with divisions A and B. This last is the Rev. H. Honywood d’Ombrain Memorial Cup, awarded to the best exhibit in Classes 26, 39 or 46, all of which are for a bowl of flori-bunda roses, not more than twelve stems. It says a lot for the keenness of the smaller growers that it was Mr. H. V. Mitchell’s exhibit in Division C that won this award. His varieties were ‘Iceberg’, ‘Circus’, ‘Evelyn Fison’ and ‘Lilli Marlene’.

Had there been a similar overall prize for a box of 12 specimen blooms it might well have gone to Division C too, for L. E. J. Wood’s entry in Class 40 was outstandingly good. He had a huge, unmarked ‘Ena Harkness’, excellent blooms of ‘Ernest H. Morse’ and ‘Klaus Stortebeker’, a very good ‘My Choice’, a really lovely specimen of’Diamond Jubilee’ and good blooms of’Peace’, ‘Montezuma’ and ‘Dorothy Goodwin’. Only his ‘Anne Letts’ was a little small, and ‘June Park’ had a faulty centre. This fine exhibit won the Sam McGredy Challenge Cup. Moreover he capped this success by winning the other cup class in the division—the Edward J. Holland Memorial Cup for three vases of hybrid tea roses with ‘Montezuma’, ‘Pink Favourite’ and ‘Memoriam’. Not surprisingly he was awarded the Edward Mawley Memorial Medal for the highest aggregate of points in Division C.

To complete the triumph of Division C exhibitors one of them, M. L. Watts, had the best bloom in the show from an amateur. It was a huge ‘Gold Crown’ exhibited in a vase of six hybrid tea roses which won Class 44.

Exhibitors in Division D must grow no more than 250 rose trees. The Gilbert Burch Memorial Class for a box of six specimen blooms was won by T.J. Vale with nice clean flowers of medium size. The Slaughter Memorial Cup, for three vases of hybrid tea roses, went to J. S. Jellyman, who staged superb flowers of ‘Rose Gaujard’, ‘Isabel de Ortiz’ and ‘Silver Lining’.

There is only one cup class in Division E, restricted to amateurs with not more than 150 rose trees and this, carrying the Charles Rigg Cup, is for a box of six specimen blooms. It was won by F. E. Rixon, who may not grow many roses but certainly grows them supremely well. Perhaps some of the larger growers were lucky not to have to face the competition of this fine box with its outstandingly good specimens of ‘Gail Borden’, ‘Perfecta’ and * Grandpa Dickson’.

The corresponding class in Division F for amateurs with no more than 100 rose trees is the Kathleen Louise Mahaffy Class, and it was won by J. H. Kirsop. His roses were all large and well grown, but some of them looked a bit tired.

The really small growers with no more than 50 rose trees have a chance to compete in the Albert E. Griffith Memorial Class for a vase of six hybrid tea roses. This year only two exhibitors had a go and R. Holmes was successful with ‘Pink Favourite’, ‘Isabel de Ortiz’, two blooms of ‘Piccadilly’, ‘Peace’ and ‘Femina’, the last a large coppery-salmon rose. L. J. Foad won the Gardeners Company Challenge Cup with the highest aggregate of points in Sections 5 and 6 for the novice exhibitor.

Finally there are two cups for the Affiliated Societies, the Hereford Centenary Cup for a display against a background on a table space 5 ft long and 4 ft wide, and the Franklin Dennison Memorial Cup for two bowls, one of floribundas, the other of hybrid teas. The first attracted some fine entries, the cup going to the Worcester Park Horticultural Society for a very professional-looking exhibit in which the various rose colours were well handled against a background of green and black drapes. ‘Zambra’, ‘Evelyn Fison’, ‘Orange Sensation’, ‘Masquerade’ and ‘Dorothy Wheatcroft’ made an exciting mixture of red, orange and yellow; ‘Daily Sketch’, ‘Ama’ and ‘Iceberg’ gave red and white, and the pale yellow and pink of ‘Peace’ was effectively used to intensify the vermilion of ‘Super Star’.

The bowl class was won by the East Kent Rose Society with very good blooms of’Princess’, ‘Grandpa Dickson’, ‘Red Lion’,’Anna Wheatcroft’ and ‘Korona’.


Upon the garden of my heart there grows

A radiant rose; nor fades the smell Of scented dew that all around you flows,

By day the petals gaily tell Of love that overflows; at dusk they close

With silent sighs into the shell Of sleep. So like this rose is your repose,

So moist your petalled eyes. How well Upon your tranquil face the moonshine glows

With mystic grace, and casts its spell Upon my cell of beating breath. Who knows

When God will transpose her to dwell In Heavens Garden dell? But when she goes

Nothing will quell my breath*s farewell Or stem the tears left by my rose.


Climbing Roses

I am very glad to have the chance of speaking about climbers, because they are plants that I am extremely fond of and I think, from the gardener’s point of view, there is no way in which you can spend a few shillings and get a longer and more generous reward. At the same time, although I do recognise and appreciate the advances that are being made in climbers, I think that in many respects we are still some way from what I would consider my ideal.

To me, a climber is a plant which must first of all satisfy the plantsman’s desire to have beauty of growth, attractive foliage and pleasant appearance as a plant. I seem to observe nowadays that there is a tendency to say, ‘Well, any old angular scraggy thing with no leaves at the bottom, as long as it’s got a few large flowers on it in the summer, and a few more in the autumn—can be described as an ever-blooming new miracle climber.’ I am dead against this.

Climbers really need selecting quite carefully according to the way that you choose to grow them. To my mind the most beautiful—those I really love myself —are the old-fashioned ones which I am for ever budding too many of at the nur- sery and getting ticked off by the foreman next spring when we still have about 250 ‘Felicite* et Perpe’tue’ left on our hands. But still, you are so fond of them that you do these silly things.

The most beautiful types to my own mind—and I am not asking anyone else to go along with me in this, just putting my own ideas—are the old Wichuraianas, and the most beautiful way of growing them is so that the whole of the plant can be seen most of the way down. And this really means, for those which are not too vigorous in growth, a pillar.

Now pillars are a glorious way to grow roses, and I would much rather myself grow pillar roses than standards. The method is merely to knock in a fairly sturdy post, and then just tie the plant to it. When you want to prune the plant, you can just shave the side shoots back close to the pillar if you are in a hurry; or if you are going to give it a thorough pruning, you can cut the whole plant from the post, thin it out and then re-tie. It is really only necessary to do this every two or three years.

I mink a lot of mistakes are made in pruning these old types of climbing roses. Where there are good strong shoots, even if they are a few years old but still producing nice side shoots, I can never see the sense in taking them all out and reducing the poor plant to a few rather bare growths of the current year. If the wood is going to produce more flowers, why not leave it in?

And again with a pillar, you know where the post goes down, and sooner or later it rots or is blown over. But there is no great difficulty in knocking another one into the same place. The more particular may make more permanent arrangements.

Another way we have of growing these Wichuraiana types is in beds; this may sound rather improbable, but it has been done to provide something tall in our rose garden. We bought a cheap lot of old metal piping and second hand copper wire. I won’t pretend that these are ideal materials to use, but they certainly work like a dream. We make something the shape of a wigwam, as high as we have got a reasonable length of piping; we drill holes in the top of the piping and fix pegs at the side of die bed, running the copper wire down from the top of the pipe to the side of the bed. In this way you make a bed of rambler roses looking like a tent. This is very beautiful because there is an outward and downward slope from the top to the ground at your feet, and the flowers tend to come out absolutely looking at you.

Regarding the varieties we grow on these pillars and wigwams, I think my favourite of all, or one of them anyway, is ‘Francois Juranville’, an old rambler which came from Barbier of France in the early 1900s. It has lovely dark shiny foliage, right from the top of the plant to the base; the flowers are a clear glistening light pink, shaded yellow at the base of the petals, absolutely perfect in conjunction with the foliage, the whole thing a-shine and a-glitter and a beauty from the time that it starts growing in the spring until the foliage goes off in the winter.

And of course another thing about die Wichuraianas is that many of them have very persistent foliage. One of the very best is ‘Sanders’ White’, which is the most marvellous plant for covering itself with flowers. Here again we have this choice, either to have something which is one mass of beauty for a few weeks, or something which is so-so for a few months. I go for the short life and the merry one, and ‘Sander’s White’ certainly fives it; you do, incidentally, get quite a nice bonus of occasional later blooms. Again there is beautiful burnished foliage, quite small in the case of that variety, and a very pleasant scent.

Another one which is very well-known is ‘Alberic Barbier’, the variety we always recommend to all those people who say, ‘I can’t grow any roses here’. I have seen it flourishing in the most unlikely places, and I think it the very best rose to plant where you have a difficult position, either in shade or even on north walls* ‘Dr W. Van Fleet’ is very easy to manage. Handsome in foliage, and with the most glorious scent, it bears lovely light pink flowers, beautiful as cut flower material. My cousin Ena is very good on flower arrangement, and what she can do with some sprays of Dr W. Van Fleet or ‘New Dawn* and some perennial flowers is just ‘out of this world’.

Then we have a variety which was mentioned yesterday, ‘Crimson Shower’, raised by Albert Norman. This is a good red, a very nice pillar rose because it is not too rampant, and it usually comes out with us about 20-25 July ana* is flowering most of the time up to the end of August.

Another old one which we still love is ‘Emily Gray*. Here again, there is absolutely first-rate foliage and a very pretty shade of yellow, just slightly oiF yellow, almost a hint of coppery yellow in it, with very elegant buds.

And to go back to something which may seem an absolutely crazy choice, there is a little rambler rose called ‘Jersey Beauty’, one of the parents of ‘Emily Gray’. This has very small single creamy-yellow flowers, which spangle the plant and show against the dark shiny foliage to perfection. It is very transient but beautiful.

One more in this genre is ‘May Queen’, a variety I never met until I saw it in the Tillotson catalogue which we have from America, and I wrote and got some bud-wood from them. ‘May Queen’ again has the attractive Wichuraiana foliage; it has a double flower, in a clear pink, a nice satisfying colour, with nothing pale about it. It has the most charming quartered form and I consider it a great variety.

I do not think that one can go wrong with this Wichuraiana strain as long as one keeps away from those mildew addicts like ‘Dorothy Perkins’ and ‘Excelsa’. Most of them do not give you a lot of trouble from disease.

While we are discussing this sort of rose, there are a few of the old types which are not so pleasing in foliage as the Wichurai-anas, but which have such beautiful flower form that one would not be without them. One of my favourites is ‘Felicite et Per-petue’, again with beautiful, quite small white flowers, the formation absolutely symmetrical and lovely. This has rather duller foliage, a little greyer than the dark shiny green of the Wichuraianas, but it is a very beautiful and rewarding rose to grow. It has quite a nice long flowering period and I have seen it used most effectively in our district as a wall plant.

Another one that I love, and we grow this one on pillars ourselves, is ‘Zephirine Drouhin’. This is celebrating its hundredth anniversary this year, and I do not think I need stop and tell such a distinguished audience very much about this almost thornless rose, except that its bold carmine pink colour and its lovely scent please nearly everybody who comes to our home. We have got about six or seven pillars of it, and we love it.

One more which I like to have about the place is ‘Climbing Cecile Brunner’. I do not think anybody would regret planting it, not necessarily in the showplace of the garden, but where you will be passing by. It is hard to resist whipping off a fingcr-nail-sized buttonhole, a perfectly formed miniature of a shapely hybrid tea. It is a wonderful climbing rose to grow, and one which I think would never pall, with rather handsome foliage.

When we come to look at other sorts of climbing roses, for growing on walls, we may well want something which is a little bit stiffer, somewhat more upright and with larger flowers. I am not a great lover of climbing hybrid teas, as I think they are very often disappointing, but you do see some very lovely plants on walls flowering quite early in the summer, as you go about the country. I rarely see anything better than ‘Climbing Etoile de Hollande’ in established plants; ‘Climbing Mrs Sam McGredy’ can be very nice; ‘Climbing Golden Dawn’ is I think a good one, which perhaps has faded out of popularity rather sooner than it deserved. Of the newer climbing sports I think the two best I have seen are ‘Climbing Sutter’s Gold’ and ‘Climbing Isobel Harkness’. The latter is not very well known and we have never grown many of it; it sported in America, and came back to us from Armstrong’s, and it certainly is quite a nice yellow hybrid tea sport.

Of the other large-flowered types

Elegance takes a lot of beating. The only thing that makes it an embarrassment to a nurseryman is that the customers think it is about as yellow as ‘Spek’s Yellow’, whereas actually it is only creamy yellow, but in such a satisfying flower, so good in form, and with that nice yellow at the base. It really looks very handsome, but is difficult to tram and keep under control. It makes a forest of thorns, is a terrifically strong grower and, to my mind, is the ideal rose to grow on an open post and rail fence.

We are not really terribly well off for large-flowered dark red climbers. After mentioning ‘Climbing Etoile de Hollande’ and ‘Climbing Ena Harkness’, you are soon coming down to ‘Guinee*. Of course, ‘Guinee’ is a climbing rose which can be a great delight to people who really long for this dark blackish-crimson flower, but as a climbing plant I must say it is rather scraggy.

Then one of the roses which I should never want to be parted from is ‘Mermaid* —that beautiful primrose-yellow hybrid, which does not get established very easily; we plant it on a west or south wall round our place and we now have some very nice plants.

One more of these large-flowered types that I would like to mention, because it is surprising how often it is sent to us to be identified, is ‘Madame Gregoire Staechelin’. This is a large, rather floppy pink rose with frilled petals, a most delicious scent and a climber which just covers itself with bloom in the early part of the summer and gives nothing else later. But if there is a spare wall that can accommodate a ‘Madame Gregoire Staechelin’, well, for two or three weeks in June you are certainly going to be very thrilled with it,

Just in passing, there is another little section of climbing roses which I think is absolutely beautiful, and that is the two or three climbing miniatures that we have. Unfortunately, these are neither very well-known nor are they very popular as far as I can see, but we have been growing ‘Pink Cameo’ and ‘Perla Rosa’ in the climbing form, and these actually can be grown just on a stout bamboo cane, to make plants about 4 or 5 feet high. They flower right down to the ground; they have quite a long flowering season and are exceptionally pretty. When we were all listening to the 75 requirements of the users last night at the breeders’ Symposium, I do not think anybody said anything about climbing miniatures, but this is certainly one of the objectives that we have in our breeding programme. I think a range of plants like that, which would grow up in a lovely column of flowers to about 5 feet and flower over a long period, would be absolutely marvellous. To my mind you could then throw all the standards on the fire—I would rather have climbing miniatures in the garden any day.

Of the more modern climbers we have great successes in the Kordesii types, ‘Maigold’, ‘Parkdirektor Riggers’, ‘Lever-kusen’ and so forth. These are what I consider nice strong durable plants which are going to give the average person a lot of satisfaction. I must confess that, apart from ‘Maigold’ (because its scent, colour, foliage and thorny stems are so attractive) they seem utilitarian to me; not quite so beautiful as a plant as some of the older ones which have been mentioned. Perhaps I am just a little prejudiced on this subject, but I have not come to love the modern climbers as well as I love the older ones.

But among them, one of the best is ‘Danse des Sylphes’, and the signs of an advance to something even better in larger flowered repeating climbers are coming, I think, largely from Sam McGredy in the form of ‘Handel’, ‘Bantry Bay* and ‘Schoolgirl’. Here he is getting the sort of purity of colour and the attractiveness in the form of flower which we want to make this type of rose a success. Alex. Cocker’s ‘Rosy Mantle’ is another good example.

It is very difficult to recommend a really good orange climber. In fact I don’t think there is a large flowered bright orange climber, in the ‘Reveil Dijoimais’ colour that the Brigadier was talking about. ‘Ruth Alexander’ is perhaps the nearest and is a wonderful colour.


Why does the Rose its scented favours bring When I stalk through my garden in a rage And round my garments send its thorns to cling As if to hold me as a serving page?

Is there soft sentiment about this flower That likes its world subservient, at rest, And goads itself to regulate the hour With that regality its buds attest?

For I have known when tired and out of joint With dull routine and penance of my days A ‘Crimson Glory in its pride anoint My head with odours and my path with praise.

So I would have the peonies in their place Hard by the Rose to hold the balance fair; In puce and purple to proclaim my pace And Hollyhocks aloof to stand and stare.

Yet shall the Rose still hold us all in fee Right till the end when rage has spent its lease; Bringing my garden in tranquillity After the storm to heaven scented peace.


Roses with Other Plants

My gardening background, I am sure, is pretty much the same as that of the more ordinary mortals. I didn’t start gardening until, due to a rapidly rising family, I had acquired a house. I then had to garden. I started off, however, and have remained ever since, what you might call a catholic gardener. I love nearly all flowers and I had a garden of about ij acres, in which I could grow a great many things that I liked, including quite a lot of roses.

I started off by reading all the books and all the authorities and I followed what my masters told me to do. I grew my hybrid tea roses, and indeed most other roses, in a very formalistic manner, bed by bed, spaced out according to what the authorities told me, and I grew some very nice roses. I used to take great care in producing beautiful blooms. That was forty-odd years ago, when we used to grow roses such as ‘General Jacqueminot’, ‘Mrs Wemyss Quin’, ‘General MacArthur’ and ‘Emma Wright’, that lovely little dwarf orange rose, one of the very first orange bedding roses there ever was. This was a time when the hybrid tea had not yet asserted its ascendancy over the hybrid perpetual, and we were still growing a lot of hybrid perpetuals and pernetianas produced by Pernet-Ducher.

As the years went by things changed and there was a war, and one came back to very different social conditions. To cut a long story short, about ten years ago my wife and I decanted ourselves into a cottage, with the smallest garden we have ever had; it extends only to about a third of an acre. I may say my wife chose the house; I wanted another one which had about one acre of woodland and a little stream running through it. I rubbed my hands and said: ‘Ah! Asiatic primulas, rhododendrons, camellias and all that’. But it was the feminine choice of house that decided the issue, and being, as I say, a very catholic gardener, I had to ask myself: How on earth am I going to grow in this very small space all the things that I want? Also, how am I, with the years increasing as they do, going to create a garden where I shall not only break my back, but perhaps my heart as well? So I thought out a plot very carefully of how I could cram everything into this little garden, and give myself no more work than was necessary when I was eighty; that was the basis of my planning. I tried several experiments, some of which failed.

Obviously for me roses had to predominate and anything else that I wanted to grow had to make a suitable marriage with roses. And so I conceived the idea of mixing roses with other plants all through the garden, or nearly all through, but I could not find a satisfactory answer to marrying the hybrid teas with anything else. This was purely due to the preconceived notion that I had had from way back in 1927: that you must grow hybrid teas in a formalised kind of way, that it was a sin to mix them with anything else. That was the teaching, and it still is the teaching of a great many people.

So I have never solved that problem, except that round the edges of my hybrid tea beds I do grow things like Alpine pinks, prostrate thymes and Gentiana acaulis, where I can grow it. You will find that it will grow at this end of the bed, but not at that end, so I keep on experimenting until I find a place where it will grow and then I leave it. And, of course, violas, especially blue violas. You can grow these, I find, amongst hybrid teas without offending any kind of aesthetic sense at all—in fact, I believe they improve the aesthetics of the garden, because you have a dainty shape, and you have in your true blues colours that roses don’t provide.

With floribundas, the problem solves itself fairly easily. The basis of my planting with floribundas is to mix them with dwarf azaleas. I rather questioned my own wisdom when I started on this, but it has in fact proved very successful. When you start mixing roses with other plants, you have got to be sure that they are plants that like the same conditions and the same treatment. Anything that you grow with roses must be capable of being mulched and fed with the same things that you apply to roses, and they must also be capable of standing the same sprays. Dwarf azaleas are ideal from this point of view, because you mulch them all, roses and azaleas alike, with manure and with peat; that is the basis of my treatment. I don’t give them manure every year; I give it to them every two or three years, and in other years they have a dressing of peat with a little stimulant, plus a midsummer tonic. Together with the azaleas I include a few dwarf rhododendrons, of which ‘Carmen’, impeditum and keleticum have proved ideal.

My notion in this azalea-rose marriage was to have, first of all, something nice to look out upon from the house windows in winter and early spring, when to my eye a forest of naked sticks is no object of beauty at all. In a small property it is important to be able to look on a scene that pleases the eye in winter, and a lot of rose sticks do not pass the test. So the foliage of the evergreen azaleas hides all that, and you get your flush of azaleas from April until the end of May, even going on into early June, what time the taller deciduous azaleas in the background continue the theme until the roses take over. As the foliage of the roses grows, they give to the azaleas in their turn the light shade the azaleas like. So to me there seemed to be a perfect marriage, and it has worked out very well. Of course, some of these azaleas grow quite big, so you have to have strong-growing varieties or cultivars to go with them, and I find that some that grow very well indeed with the big azaleas are varieties like ‘Red Dandy’, which is a superb success, ‘Iceberg’, which grows to about five or six feet high and wide with me, ‘Pink Parfait’ and ‘Golden Wings’, a wonderful rose to grow among azaleas; k reaches five or six feet high and about six feet broad, with a constant succession of bloom.

Other plants that I grow among flori-bundas are lilies. They fill a very useful gap, and of course, they are very diverse in their habits and desires and you have got to find out the spots that they like. Some of them you can ‘put your shirt on’ straight away, like the mid-century hybrids. They will grow anywhere where a daffodil will grow, and such clones as ‘Enchantment’ and ‘Destiny’ are very easy, very beautiful and, with other lilies such as ‘Limelight’, ‘Thunderbolt’, ‘Golden Clarion’ and so on, they scent the whole garden when you come out on a summer evening in July. The slightly more dim-cult ones, like L. auratum and speciosum, grow in the shade away from the roses, but you can see them beyond the rose beds; these grow among camellias and dwarf rhododendrons.

I grow a little ground cover in these rose-azalea beds, but rather towards the back, with the twin objects of suppressing weeds and providing a leafy background. I don’t know if anybody would be horrified if I said that one of my favourites for this job is the Labrador violet, Viola labradorica, a little plant, four inches high, with greeny-purple foliage and the sweetest of violet-coloured violets in spring; it spreads like mad if it likes you, and I suppose the purists would say that it spreads too much, but it is one of those things that you can easily pull out and scrap, give to your neighbour or transplant somewhere else. It creeps about mainly below the azaleas and we don’t let it invade the roses too much. Consequently we have very little work to do. But if you grow that sort of thing, or any other carpeting plant, you cannot mulch, and you have to face that fact.

When one comes to other types of roses, of course there is not much problem. The old roses and the species roses can with perfect propriety be consorted with something else, in fact they have got to be in a small garden. Many and diverse plants can be used. For a ground-cover, one of the most effective is Gaultheria procumbens, only two inches high, spreading around by underground runners. You see white flowers, like little lily of the valley, in

II spring and little red berries in the autumn. It is evergreen and dense. If it starts to shoot under your roses you can pull it out, but it is a wonderful saver of labour. G. miqueliana is choicer but not so easy.

Things like the true geraniums, (I don’t mean pelargoniums, of course) are the obvious answer that comes to your mind at once for planting at the feet of tall species or other old roses. Campanulas are also excellent to grow with almost any kind of rose, and almost any kind of campanula will do, providing it is not one of the rampant ones. Campanula persi-cifolia, the peach-leaved campanula, seeds itself all over the garden with me in forms of blue and white, and I let it grow wherever it seeds itself; it grows up in the middle of thujas; it puts itself right at the very base of ‘Paprika’ and a blue spire of Campanula persicifolia with a rose like ‘Paprika’ is really wonderful. You couldn’t think of it yourself, but Nature thinks of it for you. Another kind of plant that grows well among the old-fashioned roses is the artemesia, particularly the beautiful ‘Landbrook Silver’, which is a fountain of fine silver foliage. Stachys olympica (lanata), the old ‘lamb’s-ear’, is very acceptable, if you keep it within bounds. Hostas always look lovely, but their roots are terrific, very tough and very choking, and so you must keep them away from anything precious, but if you can plant them a few feet away from an old rose, they do a very good job as weed barriers as well as being beautiful.

Climbers haven’t been mentioned so far. There is infinite scope for growing climbers with other plants, some of which have been covered already, not only by Mr Ruston, but also by Mr Graham Thomas. The little garden is just the ideal place, if you have any trees at all, to make use of another art of Nature. I grow R. longi-cuspis, but it doesn’t behave like Mr Thomas’; it grows on a birch tree, but, having climbed over the lower branches, it flops down the other side going away from me into a horrible transformer shed belonging to the electricity people. I have tried several of these species. I have a beautiful specimen of R. gentiliana which I may have to scrap because it is too vigorous; we now can’t get by unless we almost crawl on our hands and knees, but at the present moment it is a magnificent spectacle, absolutely showered with those beautiful white blossoms which you can smell twenty yards away.

In my very small experience, the most effective of these wild climbing roses is R. noisettiana. That doesn’t flop over other branches, it grows straight up; we had it growing up old crab trees and crab apples look pretty dowdy in summer, I think. They want a little freshening up, so I grew R. noisettiana up them, and again what a magnificent spectacle! You would be walking along one day towards the end of June, and you would say: ‘What’s that white thing up there?’. For there would be enormous sprays of the rose on the topmost boughs of crab apples. People going along not only stopped and looked, they used to stop and sniff; it was very pleasing. I regret to say that I had to throw it out because I had to get rid of its host and it then became a nuisance to my neighbour.

Another way of associating roses with other plants is to plant them in adjacent beds, not the same beds. There we find a terrific success in the dwarf heathers and the dwarf conifers. We have on one side of a three-foot path our rather formal hybrid teas, and on the other side a bed of mixed heathers and dwarf golden conifers, which are lovely all the year. When, from our sitting-room or dining-room, we look out in winter, we don’t see the naked roses, but we do see the golden conifers and the dwarf heathers and especially we see them when the heathers are flowering from December right through until April. They are a very comforting and warming sight. We do the same thing in the front, specialising with heathers like Erica carnea and mediterranea] and, as I have an open garden in front, I’m afraid people do ‘stop and stare’.

One or two roses that we grow and which have not been mentioned hitherto, are particularly good for mixed plantings. One is the delightful ‘Reveil Dijonnais’. Many of you will know it, I am sure. It is an orange rose with a lot of red in it, and its habit is rather spreading—at least it always has been so with me—and it will bend gracefully over low herbaceous or other plants, diversifying the scene and extending one’s scope for the use of roses. Some people grow it as a pillar rose, but I prefer to grow it in its natural form, and it is one of the very few roses that associate well with heathers.

Roses in Borders

I think before I get on to the subject of roses in borders, I should say a little bit about my local growing conditions. I live in a hot, dry part of Australia. The average rainfall is about 9 inches per annum; we get no black spot, no rust, very little mildew and six flushes of blooms per year. I gather that John Van Barnveld from California has seven flushes per year and I am wondering just how he gets that extra flush in on me. As far as growing roses is concerned I grow all mine in borders and not in beds. I find in our growing conditions the hard thing is to keep the bush low. I have never seen roses pruned so low as they are in England and on the Continent; I think the effect of the bedding roses is absolutely superb, but I just find that for a bedding rose you must look down on them, mustn’t you? And I have trouble. You really need a step-ladder to look down on them because they are so much higher than you are!

Now as far as roses in borders in England are concerned I have seen several magnificent borders of roses, first at Regent’ Park and secondly at St Albans. I thought both were magnificent for colour blending and general layout. I haven’t been fortunate enough to go to Sunningdale as yet, but I’ll be there as quickly as I can after seeing Mr Thomas’ magnificent slides this morning.

I think there are probably four types of rose borders. Firstly, a border entirely of roses; secondly a border of roses mixed with herbaceous plants; thirdly a border of roses with shrubs mixed with them, and fourthly a border of old-fashioned roses. I think it is better to keep your old-fashioned types in one border and your moderns in another. Now to me a rose border must have a foreground; I think the most suitable foreground is a lawn. A rose border, to be a border, must have a background also. That is where trees, shrubs, climbers 158 and species come in so handy. I think a border should be several rows deep to get that massed effect, and I think almost all borders are viewed more from one side than another, as opposed to beds, where of course you walk right round.

I think if you have a border, too, it should lead somewhere, either to an archway or to a beautiful view in the distance or to a fountain or a garden seat. I think that you must have some interest at the end of the border.

Now dealing with roses in borders by themselves, I think the most important thing of all is grading for height. This is quite a complicated business because roses will grow far more vigorously in one part of the country than in another, but I think heights are always comparative; a low-growing bush will always be low in any part of the world, and a tall grower like * Queen Elizabeth* or buccaneer’ may grow 14 feet high in some parts of the world and 4 in another, but it will still be taller than any other variety. As far as roses in borders are concerned, I do not like them too regimented; I think if you have the front row very even, followed by another row behind a little bit higher and grade up, it looks rather like a row of soldiers, but if you have some of your tall ones coming slightly forward and some of your low ones slightly back into the border, you get much more depth to your border and you get a much more interesting scheme. We find in pruning you can help this a great deal; if you have three of four rows of—say ‘Circus’, well you prune the front row lower than the second row, and then the second row a bit lower than the third, and so we get that tiered effect which is so important in the rose border.

We have a lot more varieties of roses we can use in the rose border than for bedding. The gaunt growers like ‘Bur-naby’, ‘Virgo’, ‘Vienna Charm’, ‘Spek’s Yellow’, which are always bare at the base, can be suitably hidden by the other cultivars in front and this helps enormously. For background work, of course, we can have things like Rosa moyesiiy which are very very gaunt and bare to about 6 or 7 feet, but they can be screened by the other cultivars in front. The foreground planting is quite easy; we have varieties like ‘Pinky’, ‘China Doll’, ‘Meteor’, and Mr Harkness’ wonderful ‘Little Lady’, which I saw for the first time the other day and was most excited about. We can use miniatures for the front row, but I do not know whether they always associate so well; they look a little small compared with the background, but of course, it all depends on the amount of room you have to play with.

I think the middle of the border is quite easy, as there are so many varieties that are suitable. The background, I think, is quite easy too; you have tall varieties like ‘Queen Elizabeth’, ‘Golden Giant’, and ‘Diamant’ and you have all the pillars and all the species as well.

Now I think the next most important thing in the rose border is colour blending, which I feel is absolutely superbly done in Regent’s Park. You go through pink to mauve, to soft creamy-yellow, to white, to red, to orange, to yellow and then back to red; it is a superb piece of colour blending, and I think that is very important. I think perhaps, if you have plenty of room, the most satisfactory way of blending roses in the border is to keep all your bright hot colours in one border, and your pinks, your mauves, your purples and your whites in another, and use them with grey and white foliage and you get a pleasing effect that is very subtle. All the bright colours are lovely together, but if you are going to mix them together, if you are going to mix—say—bright purple with ‘Super Star’ and some of the deep magenta pinks you can have a clashing colour scheme, which might look very nice in Mexico, but I don’t think it looks quite right with us. But of course, if you want to do things like that you can, for after all your border is your own, and you should plant it as you want it.

Well that is all I have to say about roses alone in borders. I think when we come to roses planted with other things, such as herbaceous perennials, we have wonderful scope. The roses here have to stand by themselves, and I think they should be far more lightly pruned than they would be for bedding. You get great big arching shrubs of varieties like ‘Queen Elizabeth’ and ‘Madame A. Meilland’ (’Peace’). Any of the tall growers are marvellous, and just about all the Kordesii hybrids and all the big bushes of floribundas are absolutely wonderful in the herbaceous border. Be careful that you can spray them quite easily. I think if you are going to have a very dense border it is very important that you can get your spraying material at the back of the border as well as the front. You have such wonderful foliage material in England—all the hostas and the various thistles, the grey foliage and the white foliage—you have wonderful material for a stunning mixed border with roses as your most important feature.

Now we come to roses amongst shrubs. I think if the shrubs are fairly vigorous the roses must be very vigorous, or they will have too much competition from the shrubs. Roses and shrubs grow very well with me, but I have good growing conditions and very fertile clay loam soil, and they seem to associate very well together. If you have very big trees in your shrub border you could be in trouble with root competition, but we find that if you plant your trees and your roses together and they grow up together it will be far more satisfactory as far as the roses are concerned, than trying to plant a rose near a well-established tree; that can be very difficult.

As far as old-fashioned roses in borders are concerned, we saw those magnificent slides of Mr Thomas’ this morning and I don’t think I can say very much about them. They were some of the finest slides I have ever seen. That subtle blending of colour, that blending of shapes and forms and sizes was superbly done, and I think probably the less I say about that the better. Mr Thomas is, of course, the great authority in the world on the old roses, and the pictures of the old roses in borders were so good. What can be of great help in the border of old roses are some of the lovely autumn tints on some of the rugosas and the wonderful showy heps on a lot of varieties.

Control of Rose Viruses

The main reason I felt able to accept your secretary’s invitation is the fact that no one really knows anything very much about rose viruses, far less how to control them. Whilst this is not exactly the best of reasons for occupying your time it compels me to restrict myself to generalities based largely on experience with viruses of other crops and which may, I hope, have some relevance to the problems one can anticipate with roses.

It would be surprising if roses—having been cultivated and propagated for so long —were not riddled with viruses. For a parallel one has only to turn to fruit trees and compare the ignorance and complacency of 20 years ago with the extent of modern knowledge and the elaborate apparatus now needed to secure and maintain virus-free material. It has always seemed to me that much of the folk-lore of rose-growing—the superior performance of maidens and the decline and eventual disappearance of once popular and vigorous varieties, for example—must find its explanation in virus infection. Very likely the major problems lie in the detection of viruses that produce no obvious symptoms rather than with the few, about which a little is known and which cause conspicuous effects on the growth and performance of plants.

Horticulturally roses are somewhat comparable to fruit trees in so far as the plants are dual entities—a combination of stock and scion. But there are important differences. Rose stocks are, for the most part, raised from seed and not vegeta-tively propagated like fruit tree root-stocks. Also there is a much more rapid turnover in varieties. I would not care to guess at the rate of introduction of novelties to the rose trade, but it far exceeds that of fruit trees. Leaving aside preferences for old and well-tried varieties, the flood of new seedlings year by year tends to oust the old so that few varieties, unless they remain vigorous, persist for very long.

This has two important implications for control. First, we must be sure that our rootstocks are virus free. Secondly, we need to work towards the ideal objective of virus-free scion material. Most viruses are not seed-borne so that seedlings from infected plants start life virus free. It so happens that two of the groups of viruses known to infect rose—viruses of the necrotic ringspot type and viruses transmitted by nematodes—are very commonly transmitted through seeds of infected plants. Whilst I know of no efforts that have been made to find out, it would be reasonable to assume that these viruses are seed-borne in rose because they are so in other rosaceous plants. Thus, seed sources for rootstock production must be plants selected for freedom from virus and no doubt this specification would tie in well with the need for standardisation of sources of supply. Collections of wild seed, if this is done to any extent, or from old-established hedges will not, in the future, be good enough.

Where stocks are propagated vegeta-tively, the risks of producing virus-infected material are, of course, greater. Propagation from indexed and virus-free material will be the ideal, but this depends on progress in the techniques of identifying virus infection and the development of something akin to the programme of virus-free rootstock production which has been developed for tree fruits.

Stocks may contract infection through being planted in soil containing nematode-transmitted viruses. Roses are good hosts for Xiphinema diversicaudatum, the nematode that transmits arabis mosaic and strawberry latent ringspot viruses. The second of these seems particularly common in roses and has been found infecting rugosa stocks. These viruses have wide host ranges and are quite likely to occur in land that has never grown roses before. In the U.S.A. Xiphinema americanum is a virus vector of some consequence because of its wide distribution and ability to transmit tomato ringspot, a virus also known to infect rose. Whilst the best remedy is to avoid planting rose stocks in areas where the viruses and vector nematodes occur—and this demands a pre-planting check on samples of soil—soil fumigants, in particular D.D., are reasonably effective means of freeing soils from contamination. Roses may possibly be subject to other nematode-transmitted viruses and, of course, to other viruses of whose mode of spread we are ignorant.

The known hazards of rose stock production apply with equal force to the production of seedlings and the propagation of scion material. It would, I think, be a counsel of perfection to expect breeders to take the meagre facts into account. But the fact remains that both necrotic ring-spot viruses, of the type which causes rose mosaic, and the nematode-borne viruses, arabis mosaic and strawberry latent ring-spot, are carried in the pollen of plants, so that a proportion of seedlings raised from crosses may in fact be virus infected from the start. If and how frequently this occurs one just does not know. It is, however, a possibility of which breeders may not be aware.

Assuming that a seedling starts life virus free and is budded on a virus-free root-stock, is there anything we can do to prevent it becoming infected? At the moment virtually nothing; for, with the exception of the nematode-borne viruses, we do not know how any of the viruses infecting roses are transmitted and until this essential information is provided we do not know what it is we have to control. What is certain is that once plants become virus-infected, all plants propagated from them are themselves infected and there may be no easy means of ridding plants of infection. Some kinds of plants can be freed from some kinds of viruses by heat treatment and this may well be true of roses. A more sophisticated means of obtaining virus-free plants is by excising a minute portion of the stem tip and inducing this to grow into a plant by culturing it on a synthetic medium. Plants produced in this way are often free from virus although the meristem tips were taken from a virus-infected plant. However, neither of these techniques is fool- proof; it is still necessary to find out whether the plants contain virus and success here depends on progress both in the knowledge of rose viruses and the techniques of detecting them. Ultimately, however, one looks towards a mother tree scheme, such as has been developed for fruit trees, where virus-free plants of standard varieties are maintained in a state of virus freedom and serve as sources of clean bud wood.

This, however, is an expensive exercise and the problem with an ornamental crop like the rose is that of striking a balance between what is desirable and what is feasible. With the vast number and comparatively rapid turnover of varieties, it would obviously be a herculean and impracticable task to produce and maintain virus-free stocks of all but a handful of prominent and well-tried varieties. When the time comes it will be very much up to the industry to make the choice of varieties which seem worth perpetuating.

This is perhaps taking the gloomiest prospect. Roses may be subject to fewer viruses and these may be easier to control than I would predict, but if this proves to be so I for one shall be surprised. At the outset of this talk I promised little in the way of constructive thought and I can only reiterate that the factual basis for a logical approach to control of viruses in rose simply does not exist as yet. The commonsense precautions one can recommend are three: choice of healthy stocks for rootstock production, avoidance of planting in virus-infected soil, and careful selection of symptom-free plants as sources of bud wood.

Methods Used in the Study of Rose Viruses

Professor Colhoun has summarised the present day state of our knowledge about viruses in roses. As he has pointed out, really we know very little about the viruses that are present in roses in this country, and we know even less about their effects on the growth and development of rose bushes.

We have just begun a programme of research at Manchester University into the virus diseases of roses, and we thought it would be interesting for you to hear of what is involved in the investigation of virus diseases.

We have to start off, of course, by catching our viruses, so for the past year we have been collecting plants from all over the country which we thought from their symptoms might be virus-infected. We have collected whole plants and cuttings; the bushes we plant in our experimental grounds at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire, while the cuttings have been rooted and grown in an insect-proof glasshouse under extremely clean conditions to prevent spread of the viruses from plant to plant.

The first step with each of these diseased plants is to prove that the disease is caused by a virus, and that it is not due to any other physiological disturbance caused by unfavourable soil conditions, or chemical herbicides, fungicides, etc. To prove this we must be able to transmit the virus from the diseased plant to a healthy plant and get the same symptoms in the experimentally infected plant as in the original naturally diseased plant.

The type of symptoms in roses that we know or believe to be caused by viruses are varied. Some are obvious; one can hardly miss seeing bright yellow vein bandings which some plants show on the older leaves. In the early stages of infection, however, even this may be less conspicuous. We frequently find what we call ‘line pattern’ symptoms. These may vary from bright yellow zig-zag lines a short distance in from the edge of the leaf, to much fainter green lines barely discernible. There may be regular yellow stripes across the leaf, or there may be diffuse yellow blotches on the leaves. Most of the plants showing these symptoms often do not seem to be obviously suffering any loss in vigour—they grow and flower quite well—but only detailed comparison will tell us whether there are subtle effects on growth.

Marked reductions in growth are caused by some viruses, the infected plants being stunted with small misshapen leaves, sometimes with faint green or yellow flecks.

Even this first step of transmitting the virus to a healthy plant and getting reproducible symptoms may be difficult, because viruses differ in their infectiousness. Some can be easily sap-transmitted; that is, by taking an infected leaf, grinding it up, and rubbing the infected sap onto healthy leaves we can infect the healthy plants through the minute wounds made while rubbing the leaves. Other viruses are much more difficult; they may be unstable, fragile and become damaged when the infected leaf is ground up, releasing the virus from its sheltered environment within the plant cells. We can often add various protective chemicals to the leaves during the grinding process to minimise these effects. With yet other viruses it may be impossible to transmit them by these methods, and we may have to either graft infected buds or stems onto healthy plants and watch for the spread of the disease into the healthy stems and leaves, or use the animal vectors, insects, nematodes, etc. which may be responsible for spreading the virus in nature.

There are roughly 3-400 different types of plant virus known. When I say types, some people would call each type a species of virus. Each type or species exists in many different strains or varieties, as do most other organisms. Related strains possess certain characters in common by which they are grouped together into one type, but in other ways they differ, and frequently the difference is in the type of symptoms they produce in an infected plant.

Some viruses will infect only the genus ofplants in which they are found, but many will infect all sorts of other plants besides the one from which they were originally isolated. At least one virus will infect over 400 species of plant in widely differing families. The symptoms that a virus causes in these different plants will, of course, vary from virus to virus and with environmental conditions such as temperature and light, but over the years the symptoms caused by the known viruses in certain ‘indicator’ or ‘test* plants have been recorded, enabling us to compare the symptoms caused by our unknown virus with those recorded by previous workers for known viruses. The plants which have become popular as ‘indicator’ plants are such things as tobaccos, cucumber, dwarf french bean, and species of Chenopodium.

So we attempt to transmit each virus from the diseased rose plant to a range of indicator plants—we use about 25 different species—and from these results we may be able to say that our virus appears similar to such and such a virus. On the other hand, it may be totally different from anything previously recorded, and then we do not know whether it is a completely new type of virus or simply a new strain of a known type of virus.

To identify viruses conclusively, we cannot rely simply on the symptoms they give on these herbaceous plants; we have to use other techniques. Most plant viruses that have been discovered so far are of one of two basic shapes; they are either spherical or rod-shaped, and different viruses may vary from one another in their length or diameter. I said may vary in shape and size, because two different types of virus may be exactly the same shape and size! These virus particles consist simply of a filament of nucleic acid which carries the genetic characters of the virus, similar to the chromosomes of plants and animals, surrounded by a protective coat of protein. Spherical viruses have the nucleic acid coiled up inside a protein shell; rod-shaped viruses have their nucleic acid in a spiral up the centre of a tube of protein. When a virus particle enters a cell through a wound, the protective protein coat is removed and the nucleic acid takes over the command of part of the cell’s physiological processes and instructs the infected cell to make more virus. These new virus particles then move to neighbouring cells and repeat the process, and so on. It is this disturbance of the cell’s normal processes that causes the symptoms of disease.

The virus particles are very small, from 20-1,000 millimicrons in size (1 millimicron = 1 millionth of a millimetre), so one can see them only in an electron microscope which magnifies them up to one quarter of a million times, using a beam of electrons to produce an image of the virus on a fluorescent screen. So by looking at the sap of infected plants in the electron microscope and measuring the size of the virus particles we may get a further clue to the identity of the virus.

The ultimate technique in identification is that of serology, where we inject the virus into a rabbit and, as with all foreign proteins injected into an animal, antibodies are produced which react with and precipitate the foreign protein, in this case our virus. If the antibodies from the blood of an injected rabbit are mixed in a test tube with the same type of virus as was injected into the rabbit, then a specific white precipitate is formed which can be readily observed, and which tells us that our virus is of the same type. Antibodies against one type of virus will not react with other types of virus, therefore, once we have built up a collection of antisera to different known viruses, we have an excellent method of identifying viruses. The rabbits, I might add, suffer only the discomfort of being inoculated with the virus, and of donating small quantities of blood at intervals; no disease is caused in the rabbit by plant viruses.

Now assuming we have identified our virus, and as you can see this can be quite a lengthy process in itself, what do we do next? Well, we now want to find out more about the disease itself; we want to know what the effects of environment, temperature, light, etc., are on the expression of the symptoms. We know that symptoms vary during the growing season—which viruses produce what symptoms at what time of the year? How do the symptoms produced by any one virus differ in different varieties of rose? Are some varieties more resistant or more susceptible than others? What are the effects of having two different viruses in the same plant?

We also want to know the effects of each virus on the vigour, life, and flowering ability of the plants, and the effects of infection early in a plant’s life compared to infection late in the life of the plant. So we have to set up trials of healthy and infected plants; initially we do this in the glasshouse where we can control the environmental conditions; later we shall do this in the field.

Finally we come to the problem of studying how these viruses are spread in nature. If a virus we isolate is a known virus, then somebody else may have found out already how it is spread. If it is a new virus then we may have to start from scratch and look for whatever is spreading the virus. It may be insects—aphids, leaf hoppers or beetles; it may be soil nematodes or soil fungi; or it may be man himself grafting infected buds onto healthy stocks or vice-versa. Having found a vector that will spread the virus in the laboratory we have to assess its importance in the field.

When we have finally amassed all this knowledge, we shall then be in a very strong position to control these diseases effectively, about which Dr Cadman is to say more later. This preliminary work may take months or years, but eventually we hope that the results of our studies will find their way back to you, the rose growers, so that we may all enjoy healthier roses.

Rose Viruses—The Present State of Knowledge

Evidence of the existence of a graft transmissible chlorosis of the rose was provided in France as long ago as 1863. Little further progress was made in the study of rose viruses until about 40 years ago. As a result of the information accumulated up to the present it may be suggested that about eight viruses cause diseases of roses. A considerable amount of the information which has become available has been based on symptoms. We have learned, however, that symptoms may vary greatly during the growing season of the rose, and they may not be the same on different varieties and species of ROSA. Symptoms may appear on young leaves and disappear as the leaves become older. Plants which show symptoms at certain times may show no symptoms at other times. It is clear that environmental conditions have a substantial effect on the symptoms of at least certain virus diseases of the rose. Added to this is the fact that roses infected with viruses may show symptoms which are not very far removed from diseases caused by non-infectious agents. For example, we have the group of diseases caused by deficiencies and toxicities of various elements. Moreover, such symptoms may also be associated with soil conditions, for example, soil moisture and no doubt also with other causes. It follows then that diagnosis of virus diseases on the basis of symptom expression alone is difficult and dangerous in practice. Indeed, exact diagnosis must depend on the identification of the causal virus. This may be done by studying the characteristic reactions of a range of herbaceous plants when inoculated with the virus, or by applying serological techniques. The electron microscope may be employed in the examination of the virus particles.

Very considerable difficulties have arisen in trying to identify rose viruses, for they have proved very difficult to transmit from roses to other plants by mechanical8 means. These difficulties have now been overcome to a considerable extent so that some viruses can be transmitted mechanically to a number of herbaceous plants; they can be purified so that their properties can be studied and they can be examined in the electron microscope. These advances also permit serological techniques to be employed in identification, and indeed serology offers a most useful tool in determining the virus entity which causes a disease. At this point it may be mentioned that serology has its basis on the fact that when a virus is injected into an animal such as a rabbit, an antibody to that particular virus is produced in the blood of the rabbit so that an antiserum can be prepared and this will then react with the virus initially injected into the rabbit.

Rose Mosaic

This is the name now given to the disease originally described as infectious chlorosis. The symptoms as first described in North America by White (1932) relate to those appearing on a selection of hybrid tea varieties where the plants were dwarfed, but the degree of dwarfing depended on the variety, the severity of infection and the environment. Buds were often imperfect on short stems and bleached. On ‘Madame Butterfly* the petals were almost white instead of the normal light pink, tinted with gold at the base. Leaves were variously distorted with the midrib often bent and twisted. Leaflets showed chloro-tic areas, especially along the midrib, which causes the leaflets to pucker and ruffle. Usually all leaflets of a leaf showed symptoms, but sometimes one leaflet was free from symptoms.

Workers following White have divided mosaic into different types of disease. For example, Thomas & Massey (1939) distinguished rose mosaics 1, 2 and 3.

Mosaic 1. This is regarded as the typical mosaic of White, with symptoms largely as described above. Some varieties in the field showed pale bands and lines on the leaves, but in general the disease symptoms were more prominent under glass.

Mosaic 2. More conspicuous chlorotic bands and blotches were present on leaves of var. ‘Hollywood’ than caused by Mosaic 1, and occasionally leaf distortion occurred.

Mosaic 5. Symptoms were more severe than those caused by Mosaic 2, but there was a tendency towards the formation of broad chlorotic blotches on the leaves with a decrease in the occurrence of lines and rings. Sometimes a conspicuous ‘oak leaf’ pattern was produced with not infrequently part, or the whole of the leaf exhibiting a pronounced clearing of the veins.

Some workers grouped Mosaics 2 and 3 together as Rose Yellow Mosaic.

Recently in New Zealand, Fry (1967) has referred to the following three types of symptoms belonging to the rose mosaic group:

Vein banding with creamy-white or yellow bands bordering the leaf veins, both primary and secondary or sometimes only on the fine veins near the leaf margin. Symptoms are only found on leaves formed in spring and autumn. No reduction in plant vigour was noted.

Line pattern with symptoms produced throughout the season. These appear on leaves as pale green, creamy white or yellowish wavy lines, broad bands, spots, ringspots or blotches. Reduction of plant vigour was associated with these symptoms. When symptoms of this type were recorded in England in the Lea Valley by Fletcher & Kingham (1962), they reported stem necrosis occurring directly beneath the developing flower bud and causing death of the bud before the flower opened. Prolific development of the lateral buds accompanied bud death so that affected bushes could readily be picked out by this excessive growth.

Chlorotic mottle appearing throughout the growing season. The mottle is formed by creamy-white areas varying in size from small spots to large blotches, with puckering of the centre of the leaf blades and crinkling of the margins. It may be suggested that chlorotic mottle may correspond to Mosaic 1 of Thomas & Massey.

In recent years suggestions have been put forward that rose mosaic is related to viruses infecting fruit trees, for example, Prunus necrotic ringspot virus and also other ringspot viruses. It has been shown that when buds from roses exhibiting symptoms of mosaic are placed in certain varieties of flowering cherry the same necrotic reaction occurs as with Prunus necrotic ringspot. It cannot be accepted, however, from evidence such as this that the virus in the rose is the same as Prunus necrotic ringspot virus.

Recently it has been found possible to transmit viruses of the mosaic type from the rose to herbaceous hosts and then to purify the virus and carry out serological tests. The results of such work makes us even more cautious about accepting the relationship between the rose mosaic virus (or viruses) and Prunus necrotic ringspot virus, but they should help us to understand better the relationships between viruses occurring in the rose and in fruit trees as well as other ringspot viruses.

It has been stated by Halliwell & Mil-brath (1962) that, as a result of their work in North America, they identified a virus from roses showing mosaic which by serological methods was established to be Tomato ringspot virus. Indeed they differentiated by serological methods four strains of the rose mosaic virus related to Tomato ringspot virus. Moreover, by examination in the electron microscope they showed that the particles of the rose mosaic virus were of the same size as those of the Tomato ringspot virus.

Against this evidence of the relationship between the rose mosaic virus and Tomato ringspot virus we have to place the results of a very critical study published by Fulton (1967) also working in the U.S.A. Fulton was successful in isolating in pure form a virus from roses showing symptoms which Thomas and Massey perhaps would have related to Mosaic 2 and 3. By serology he showed very clearly that this virus was not related to Tomato ringspot virus.

Fulton also showed that, in California, roses infected with Prunus necrotic ring-spot virus show symptoms which do not differ from those shown by roses infected with his isolate of rose mosaic virus. He distinguishes the Prunus necrotic ringspot very clearly from the rose mosaic virus in serological tests. He considered that these two viruses have a small proportion of common antigens, but since they have similar host ranges and symptom expression on herbaceous indicators it will be necessary to check all isolates serologically, and to do this in a very critical manner. In view of the evidence presented we cannot conclude that rose mosaic is uniformly caused by the Prunus necrotic ringspot or Tomato ringspot viruses, and we shall have to await the outcome of more work before this relationship is resolved. There is no doubt, however, that Prunus necrotic ringspot virus and Tomato ringspot virus do occur naturally in roses and cause symptoms which would be included under rose mosaic.

Arabis mosaic virus

This virus has recently been shown to be present in England on the varieties ‘Masquerade’ and ‘Jimmy Cricket*. The infected plants of ‘Masquerade’ showed chlorotic ring spots and vein mottling on the foliage and a reduction in plant vigour. On ‘Jiminy Cricket’ symptoms were confined to a faint vein mottling on the young foliage which disappeared as the leaves matured.

Strawberry latent ringspot virus

At the same time as he reported the occurrence of Arabis mosaic virus in roses, Cammack (1966) also reported that Strawberry latent ringspot virus occurred naturally in roses in England on the varieties ‘Ena Harkness’, ‘Sultane’, ‘Super Star* and ‘Peace’. Symptom expression varied considerably with variety but, in the plants tested, infection was associated with a distinct yellow vein mottle on the young foliage, strapping and reduction in size of the leaflets and loss of vigour.

Both Strawberry latent ringspot virus and Arabis mosaic virus are soil-borne viruses transmitted by an eelworm. This must not, of course, lead us to imagine that they cannot be transmitted also by the use of infected rootstocks or infected buds.


This disease was reported as occurring in the U.S.A. in 1933 on a wide variety of roses.

The following three types of symptoms are reported: 1. Brownish rings and brown vein banding in fully expanded leaves, usually accompanied by brownish or greenish, often water-soaked, ring patterns on stems. 2. Green senescence designs similar to the brown patterns which often appear on leaves prior to their being prematurely abscissed. 3. A yellowish-green vein banding in certain hybrid multiflora roses, usually accompanied by greenish water-soaked rings or dull-brownish rings in the canes.

Dark colourations may, according to Schmelzer (1967) occur on the rachis, on the main veins of leaflets and on the stipules.

When streak-infected buds were set in canes of ‘Madame Butterfly’ and certain other varieties, the stock turned black and necrotic above the inserted bud soon after union had been established, and the distal parts of the stock died. As with rose mosaic, field diagnosis of streak is difficult because symptoms may be masked in some varieties. Like rose mosaic virus, Streak can be transmitted by budding or grafting.

Wilt or Dieback

This disease was reported as being epidemic in Australia when first recorded there by Grieve (1931). Affected plants had brittle leaves which appeared incurved and crowded together on the petiole. Defoliation began at the tips of the stem and progressed steadily downwards, leaves turning pale yellow and then brown before dropping off. The remaining stem decayed, becoming translucent yellowish green with the base turning brownish-black within a few hours of the leaves abscissing. Temporary recovery sometimes occurred but eventually the plant withered and died.

This disease is not believed to occur in Europe or the United States.

Rose colour break

Although there are many instances of colour break in flowers caused by virus infection, that in tulips being well known in the 17th century, there are few references to colour breaking in roses. There appear to be only two records of transmission of colour break to a rose variety which normally has self-coloured flowers. One of these records refers to the light red flowered var. ‘Maria Enriqueta’ which produced only variegated red and pink flowers when grafted with buds from a plant which produced variegated flowers. The other record came from New Zealand in 1966 where colour breaking occurred on ‘Queen Elizabeth’ and ‘Super Star’. On infected ‘Queen Elizabeth’ bushes the flowers failed to open normally and the petals were crimped at their outer margins. The petals showed areas of white, pink and deep rose with a distinct tinge of green on the outer petals. This condition has been successfully transmitted by budding. This brief and general review shows how unsatisfactory is our present state of knowledge of rose virus diseases. With substantial advances in the techniques used in such studies, considerable advances should now be possible.


CAMMACK, R. H. (1966). Soil-borne viruses in roses. PL Path. 15, 46-48.

FLETCHER, J. T. and KINGHAM, H. G. (1962). Rose line pattern virus. PL Path. 11, 92.

FRY, P. R. (1967). Virus diseases of roses. New Zealand Gardener, 24, 267-268.

FULTON, R. W. (1967). Purification and serology of rose mosaic virus. Phyto-pathology, 57, 1197-1201.

GRIEVE, B. J. (1931). Rose wilt and die-back. A virus disease of roses occurring in Australia. Australian J. exptl. Biol. Med. ScL, 8, 107-121.

HALLIWELL, R. S. and MILBRATH, J. H. (1962). Isolation and identification of Tomato ringspot virus associated with rose plants and rose mosaic virus. PL Dis. Reptr., 46, 555-557-

SCHMELZER, K. (1967). Die Strickelkrank-heit der Rose (Rose streak) in Europa. Phytopath. Z, 58, 92-95.

THOMAS, H. E. and MASSEY, L. M. (1939). Mosaic disease of the rose in California. Hilgardia, 12, 647-663.

WHITE, R. P. (1932). Chloroses of the rose. Phytopathology 22, 53-69.