Today I'm posting some information about roses from the 19th century. There was a lot of cultivation of this flower done during this century. This information comes from The rose: It's history, poetry, culture and classification ©1860.
Pruning & Training
Pruning roses at the time of transplanting, the principal object to be attained is relief to the plant by taking away all the wood and branches which the diminished root may not be able to support. The mode of pruning depends very much upon the condition of the plant. If it is very bushy, all the weaker branches should be cut away, leaving not more than three or four of the strongest shoots, and shortening even those down to a few eyes. If it is desired that the plant should continue dwarf and bushy, the new wood should be cut down to the last two eyes, and every half grown or slender shoot cut out. These two eyes will each throw out a branch; then cut these branches down to the two eyes and again their produce until a symmetrical habit is formed, with close, thick foliage. There should not be sufficient wood allowed to remain to make it crowded; and if there should be danger of this, some of the branches, instead of being cut down to two eyes should be cut out altogether.
Climbing roses, when planted, should be cut down almost to the ground, and also carefully thinned out. Only a few of the strongest branches should be preserved, and the new wood of these cut down to two eyes each.
The preceding remarks are applicable to roses at the time of planting; they should also be pruned every year—the hardy varieties in the autumn or winter, and the more tender in the spring. For all roses that are not liable to have part of their wood killed by the cold, the autumn is decidedly the best time for pruning; the root, having then but little top to support, is left at liberty to store up nutriment for a strong growth the following season. The principal objects in pruning, are the removal of the old wood, because it is generally only the young wood that produces large and fine flowers; the shortening and thinning out of the young wood, that the root, having much less wood to sup port, may devote all its nutriment to the size and beauty of the flower; and the formation of a symmetrical shape. If an abundant bloom is desired without regard to the size of the flower, only the weak shoots should be cut out, and the strong wood should be shortened very little; each bud will then produce a flower. By this mode, the flowers will be small and the growth of new wood very short, but there will be an abundant and very showy bloom. If, however, the flowers are desired as large and as perfect as possible, all the weak wood should be cut out en tirely, and all the strong wood of the last season's formation should be cut down to two eyes. The knife should .always be applied directly above a bud and sloping upward from it. The preceding observations apply principally to rose bushes or dwarf roses ; with pillar, climbing and tree roses, the practice should be somewhat different. The two former require comparatively little pruning; they require careful thinning out, but should seldom be shortened. The very young side shoots can sometimes be shortened in, to prevent the foliage from becoming too thick and crowded.
Pillars For Roses can be made of trellis work, of iron rods in different forms, or of wood, but they should enclose a space of at least a foot in diameter. The cheapest plan, and one that will last many years, is to make posts of about l.J. or 2 inches square, out of locust or pitch-pine plank, and connect them with common hoop-iron. They should be the length of a plank—between twelve and thirteen feet—and should be set three feet in the ground, that they may effectually resist the action of the wind. The Rose having been cut down to the ground, is planted inside of the pillar and will make strong growths the first season. As the leading shoots appear, they should be trained spirally around the outside of the pillar, and sufficiently near each other to enable them to fill up the intermediate space with their foliage. These leading shoots will then form the permanent wood, and the young side shoots, pruned in from year to year, will produce the flowers, and at the flowering season cover the whole pillar with a mass of rich and showy bloom. If the tops of the leading shoots lie down at all, they should be shortened down to the first strong eye, because, if a weak bud is left at the top, its growth will be for a long time weak. The growth of different varieties of roses is very varied; some make delicate shoots and require little room, while others, like the Queen of the Prairies, are exceedingly robust and may require a larger pillar than the size we have mentioned.
Climbing roses require very much the same treatment as pillar roses, and are frequently trained over arches, or in festoons from one pillar to another. In these the weak branches should also be thinned- out and the strong ones be allowed to remain without being shortened, as in these an abundant bloom is wanted more than large flowers. In training climbing roses over any flat surface, as a trellis wall or side of a house, the principal point is so to place the leading shoots that all the intermediate space may be filled up with foliage. They can either be trained in fan-shape with side shoots growing out from a main stem, or one leading shoot can be encouraged and trained in parallel horizontal lines to the top, care being taken to preserve sufficient intermediate space for the foliage. Where no shoots are wanted, the buds can be rubbed off before they push out. No weak shoots should be allowed to grow from the bottom, but all the strong ones should be allowed to grow as much as they may. When the intermediate space is filled with young wood and foliage, all the thin, email shoots should be cut out every year and the strongest budi only allowed to remain, which forming strong branches, will set closely to the wall and preserve a neat appearance.
The production of roses out of season, by forcing, was, as we have shown, well known to the ancient Romans, and from them has been handed down to the present time. But the retarding of roses by means of a regular process of pruning, owes its origin to a comparatively modern date. This process is mentioned both by Lord Bacon and Sir Robert Boyle. The latter says, " It is delivered by the Lord Verulam, and other naturalists, that if a rose bush be carefully cut as soon as it is done bearing in the summer, it will again bear roses in the autumn. Of this many have made unsuccessful trials, and thereupon report the affirmation to be false; yet I am very apt to think, that my lord was encouraged by experience to write as he did. For, having been particularly solicitous about the experiment, I find by the relation, both of my own, and other experienced gardeners, that this way of procuring autumnal roses, will, in most rose-bushes, commonly fail, but succeed in some that are good bearers ; and, accordingly, having this summer made trial of it, I find that of a row of oushes cut in June, by far the greater number promise no autumnal roses; but one that hath manifested itself to be of a vigorous and prolific nature, is, at this present, indifferently wellstored with those of the damask kind. There may, also, be a mistake in the species of roses; for experienced gardeners inform me that the Musk-Rose will, if it be a lusty plant, bear flowers in autumn without cutting; and, therefore, that may unjustly be ascribed to art, which is the bare production of nature." Thus, in quaint and ancient style, discourseth the wise and pious philosopher, on our favorite flower, and also mentions the fact, that a red rose becomes white, on being exposed to the fumes of sulphur. This, however, had been observed before Sir Robert's time. Notwithstanding his doubts, it is now a well-established fact, that the blooming of roses may be retarded by cutting them back to two eyes after they have fairly commenced growing, and the flower buds are discoverable. A constant succession can be obtained, where there is a number of plants, by cutting each one back a shorter or longer distance, or at various periods of its growth. In these cases, however, it very often will not bloom until autumn, because the second effort to produce flowers is much greater than the first, and is not attended with success until late in the season.
However desirable may be this retarding process, it cannot be relied on as a general practice, because the very unusual exertion made to produce the flowers a second time, weakens the plant, and materially affects its prosperity the subsequent year.
There is, indeed, but one kind of summer pruning that is advantageous, which is the thinning out of the flower-buds as soon as tiiey appear, in order that the plant may be burdened with no more than it can fully perfect, and the cutting off all the seed vessels after the flower has expanded and the petals have fallen. Until this last is done, a second bloom cannot readily be obtained from the Bengal Rose and its sub-classes, the Tea and Noisette, which otherwise grow and bloom constantly throughout the season.
In connection with the subject of this chapter, we would impress upon our readers the absolute, the essential importance of cultivation—of constantly stirring the soil in which the Rose is planted ; and we scarcely know of more comprehensive directions in a few words than the reply of an experienced horticulturist to one who asked the best mode of growing fine fruits and flowers. The old gentleman replied that the mode could be described in three words, "cultivate, cultivate, cultivate." After the same manner, we would impress the importance of these three words upon all those who love well-grown and beautiful roses. They are indeed multum in parvo—the very essence of successful culture. The soil cannot be ploughed, dug or stirred too much; it should be dug and hoed, not merely to keep down the weeds, but to ensure the health and prosperity of the plant. Cultivation is to all plants and trees, manure, sun and rain. It opens the soil to the nutritious gas of the atmosphere, to the beneficial influence of light, and to the morning and evening dew. It makes the heavy soil light and the light soil heavy ; if the earth is saturated with rain, it dries it ; if burned up with drought, it moistens it. Watering is often beneficial, and is particularly so to roses just before and during the period of bloom; but in an extremely dry season, if we were obliged to choose between the watering-pot and the spade, we should most unhesitatingly give the preference to the latter.