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Rose Growing as a Hobby (1925)

We have another little treat from the past for you this week. This time it’s from the 1925 Rose Annual from the National Rose Society (now the Royal national rose society). We think it’s a wonderful little article to get all you Rose growers in the mood for the spring and summer season to come, so read and enjoy.

Transcript follows the pictures.

Rose Growing As A Hobby

By J. N. Hart, Potters Bar, Middlesex 

It’s a good thing for a man to have a hobby, be it collecting objects or art, books, silver, breeding cattle, gardening, or a hundred other pastimes that could be mentioned. It gives him something to do, something to be interested in outside his regular occupation, and some ideal to work at. Some hobbies can only be followed by the lucky rich, but a hobby that will suit all pockets and that takes us into the open air, should surely be a popular one. Such a hobby is gardening, and I am certain that one of the most fascinating branches of gardening is The Culture of the Rose.

Rose-growing will keep us busy practically the whole year round, and the result of our labour is delightful.

Then there is the strong bond of brotherhood which gardening produces – I think this is because gardening brings us into closer touch with Nature than any other hobby, and that being so we see and feel things in a bigger way, forgetting the worries and annoyances of everyday life. The bond of brotherhood is certainly much stronger among Rosarians than any other branch of specialists in gardening, and I think this is due to two things – the one, because the Rose is our National Emblem, and subconsciously we feel the the tradition of England behind it : the other, the Rose being the Queen of Flowers keeps us, her courtiers, around her all trying our best to work together to do her commands and further her interests.

Rosarians are always ready to help one another with advice, labour, stocks, plants or buds, but they are especially happy when they have succeeded in interesting somebody who, hitherto, has not been a rose grower, and with their recruit they will take any amount of trouble to try to make him proficient.

Rose-growing may be as expensive, or as cheap a hobby as we care to make it, and in these days, when money is a most illusive commodity, I think the majority of us – I write with some feeling of self pity – want to make it an inexpensive one.

From the commencement we can, with a little advice and help do all the necessary work for the Roses ourselves, and what is a hobby if we only provide the money and let somebody else do all the work? Many of us who are in business, and who are rather tied to our vocation, may require help, especially as we increase the number of our plants, but we can do a large amount of the practical work ourselves, and then when we obtain good results, either in the garden or at the Shows, we can honestly feel we have achieved something.

A word of advice to people who are about to increase their Roses or to fill up gaps in their Rose beds. I notice at all the shows numbers of people who make notes of the names of the Roses which appeal to them both for colour and form, and they seem to specially not the names of blooms which have won medals as “Best Blooms”. Some of these blooms may be extraordinarily fine ones, but they may be blooms from a variety difficult to grow, and one that seldom comes good. To avoid disappointment  and waste of time in the garden, I would advise all those who do not know the variety they have taken a fancy to, to ask the grower they intend purchasing their plants from, or inquire of the Honorary Secretary whether that particular variety is suitable for their purpose.

Spring-time in the Rose garden is, I think, the happiest time of the year. We have gone through the rather uninteresting period of Winter, we have finished our pruning, the beds begin to look tidy, and soon the lovely new rosy or pale green shoots will give us a promise of things to come. We watch these growing day by day, hoping that the late frosts will not damage them. A little later we cut away the in-growing and blind shoots , keeping a sharp look out for pests. The buds will soon begin to appear and later to show colour, and then in the last week in June we have our Roses in all their glory. This is the time to early rise in order to enjoy one’s Roses in the height of their beauty.

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