Tea Roses for Beds by Eben Eugene Rexford

No part of my garden affords me more pleasure than my bed of Tea Roses. I cut dozens of flowers from it nearly every day from June to the coming of cold weather, for buttonhole and corsage bouquets, and for use on the table, and in the parlor. One fine rose and a bit of foliage is a bouquet in itself. If I could have but one bed of flowers, it should be a bed of Tea Roses—and yet, I should want a bed of Pansies to supplement the Roses; therefore, a bed of each would be a necessity.

If you want to give a friend a buttonhole nosegay that shall be "just as pretty as it can be," you must have a bed of these Roses to draw from. A half-blown flower of Meteor, with its velvety, crimson petals, and a bud of Perle des Jardins, just showing its golden heart, with a leaf or two of green to set off the flowers—what a lovely harmony of rich color! Or, if your taste inclines you to more delicate colors, take a bud of Luciole, and a Catherine Mermet when its petals are just falling apart. Nothing can be lovelier, you think, till you have put half open Perle des Jardins with a dark purple or azure-blue Pansy. When you have done that, you are charmed with the manner in which the two colors harmonize and intensify each other, and you are sure there was never anything finer for a flower-lover to feast his eyes on. Put a tawny Safrano or Sunset bud with a purple Pansy and see what a royal combination of colors you have in the simple arrangement. Be sure to have a bed of Tea Roses, and make combinations to suit yourself.

In order to make a success of your bed of Tea Roses—though perhaps I ought to say ever-bloomers, for probably your selection will include other varieties than the Tea—you must have a rich soil for them to grow in. When a branch has borne flowers, it must be cut back to some strong bud. This bud will, if your soil is rich enough to encourage vigorous growth, soon become a branch, and produce flowers. It is by constant cutting back that you secure new growth, if the soil is in a condition to help it along, and only by securing this steady production and development of new branches can you expect many flowers. All depends on that. If proper treatment is given, you need not be without flowers, unless you cut them all, from June to October.

If I were to name all the desirable varieties, I might fill several pages with the list. Look over the catalogs of the florists and you will see that the variety is almost endless. If you do not care to invest money enough to secure the newer varieties, tell the dealer to whom you give your patronage what you want the plants for, and he will make a selection which will include some of the best kinds, and which will be sure to give you as good satisfaction as you would get from a selection of your own. Better, in most instances, for you make your selection from the description in the catalog, while he would select from his knowledge of the merits of the flower.

By all means have a bed of these most sweet and lovely Roses. If the season happens to be a hot and dry one, mulch your rose bed with grass clippings from the lawn. Spread them evenly about the plants, to a depth of two or three inches, in such a manner as to cover the entire bed. By so doing, you prevent rapid evaporation and the roots of the plant are kept much cooler than when strong sunshine is allowed to beat down upon the surface of the bed. When the mulch begins to decay, remove it, and apply fresh clippings. About the middle of the season give the soil a liberal dressing of fine bone meal, working it well about the roots of the plants; or, if you can get it, use old cow manure. Whatever you apply, be sure it gets where the roots can make use of it.