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THE PROPERTIES

OF

FLOWERS AND PLANTS.

THE PROPERTIES OF A FINE ROSE.

THERE is no flower more difficult to define than the Rose, and the difficulty arises out of several curious facts. First, the Rose is the only flower that is beautiful in all its stages-from the instant the calyx bursts and shows a streak of the corolla, till it is in full bloom. Secondly, it is the only flower that is really rich in its confusion, or that is not the less elegant for the total absence of all uniformity and order. The very fact of its being beautiful from the moment the calyx bursts, makes the single and semidouble Roses, up to a certain stage, as good as the perfectly double ones are ; and there is yet another point in the construction of some varieties, which makes them lose their beauty when they are full blown. For instance, the Moss-rose is a magnificent object so long as the calyx is all seen, but so soon as the flower fully expands, all the distinction between a Moss-rose and a common one has departed, or is concealed. From this one fact we insist that Roses, even for show, must be divided into distinct families, and those qualities for which families are most distinguished, must be exhibited to the best advantage. This brings us at once to an acknowledgment that the grand characteristic of a Moss-rose is its calyx. These properties must never be estimated by full-blown flowers, and therefore all varieties of moss, from the cristata to the moussue presque partout, must be exhi. bited before they expand enough to hide the calyx. In the present state of Horticulture, we can hardly allow that any other description of Rose should be grown, if semi-double. Those who are more indulgent, consider that a Climbing-rose, or a Rose of peculiar habit, or indeed any other distinction, should be sufficient to justify semi-double and imperfect flowers. Certainly, if we concede anything, this would be the extent ; that a new colour should justify the saving of any Rose, even if it were single. But we are much mistaken if any who have been used to grow the best double Roses, would give much for a semi-double or single variety.

If there be any distinct and valuable feature in a plant, which justifies the growing of a variety, for its beauty as a plant, the bloom is at once out of the question, and we hardly take such a variety to be worth the florist's keeping. There are, however, some properties which apply to all Roses, whatever be their characteristics in other respects, and, therefore, must be taken as

an estimable point in the construction of a flower.

1. The petals should be thick, broad, and smooth at the edges.

Whether this be for a Moss, which is never to be shown fully opened, or the florist's favourite, which is to be shown as a dahlia, this property is equally valuable, because the thicker the petal the longer it is opening, and the longer does it continue in perfection, when it is opened. There is another essential point gained in thick-petalled flowers : The thicker the petal the more dense and decided the shade or colour, or the more pure a white, while the most brilliant scarlet would look tame and watery if the petal were thin, transparent, and flimsy. Hence many semidouble varieties, with these petals, look bright enough while the petals are crowded in the bud, but are watery and tame when opened, and dependant on their single thickness.

2. The flower should be highly perfumed, or, as the dealers call it, fragrant.

Whether this is to climb the front of a house, bloom on the ground, or mount poles or other devices, fragrance is one of the great charms which place the Rose on the throne of the garden as the queen of flowers. .

3. The flower should be double to the centre, high on the crown, round in the outline, and regular in the disposition of the petals.

This would seem to be a little contradictory, after saying that in a Moss-rose the full-blown flower cannot be allowed, because it conceals the grand characteristic of the plant. But it

is not contradictory, because we defend it on grounds which render doubleness equally valuable to the moss family, which should not be shown in full bloom, as to those which are so exhibited. The more double the flower, even when amounting to confusion, the more full and beautiful the bud in all its stages. Those who have noticed the single and semi-double Mossroses will remember that the buds are thin and pointed, and starved-looking affairs, while the old common Moss-rose, which is large and double as the Cabbage-rose, is bold, full, rich, and effective, from the instant the calyx bursts. At this point, we shall have to branch off and take families ; perhaps the Moss family is the best to commence with. Those who now follow through the different species or varieties, will find the first three rules are essential to all, and are therefore repeated with each division.

PROPERTIES OF MOSS-ROSES.

· 1. The petals should be thick, broad, and smooth at the edges.

2. The flower should be highly perfumed, or, as the dealers call it, fragrant.

3. The flower should be double to the centre, high on the crown, round in the outline, and regular in the disposition of the petals.

4. The quantity of moss, the length of the spines, or prickles, which form it, and its thickness, or closeness, on the stems, leaves, and calyx, cannot be too great.

This being the distinguishing characteristic of Moss-roses, the more strongly it is developed the better.

5. The length of the divisions of the calyx, and the ramifications at the end, cannot be too great.

As the entire beauty is in the undeveloped bud, the more the calyx projects beyond the opening flower, or rather the more space it covers, the better.

6. The plant should be bushy, the foliage strong, the flowers abundant and not crowded, and the bloom well out of the foliage.

7. The colour should be bright or dense, as the case may be, and if the colour or shade be new, it will be more valuable ; and the colour must be the same at the back as the front of the petals.

These seven properties would constitute a Moss-rose a valuable acquisition, and probably, at present, the greatest acquisition would be a yellow one.

8. The stem should be strong and elastic, the footstalks stiff, so as to hold the flower well up to view, above or beyond its foliage.

PROPERTIES OF ROSES FOR STANDS, SHOWING

THE SINGLE BLOOM LIKE DAHLIAS.

1. The petals should be thick, broad, and smooth at the edges.

2. The flower should be highly perfumed, or, as the dealers call it, fragrant.

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