Roses for English Gardens  
 
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CHAPTER X

Rose Screens, Hedges, and Trellises  

Many are the opportunities in the planning of gardens for having a screen or hedge all of Roses. Sometimes it may occur as part of the Rose garden design, but more often in some detached portion of the grounds some kind of light screen is actually wanted. There are often rubbishy or at least unbeautiful spaces on some of the frontiers of the kitchen garden, where a Rose screen or hedge will not only hide the unsightliness, but will provide a thing beautiful, in itself and that yields a large quantity of bloom for cutting. Many are the kinds of structure that may be used to support and train the Roses. But with posts of oak or larch, and straight long lengths of sawn larch tips for the top rail, and some wire netting of the coarsest mesh, an effective framework may be easily and cheaply made that in three years will show a perfect covering of blooming Roses. Between this and the elaborately made wooden framings there are many grades and forms of flower wall or trellis that can be arranged according to special use or need. One pretty way is to have a low trellis with posts for pillar Roses at intervals. This can be carried a little further by having chains from post to post. If this should occur on each side of a path, the posts coming opposite each other can be connected by an arched top. This arrangement can also be very prettily adapted to such a Rose trellis at the back of a flower border, either at the two ends of the border or at intervals in its length. It would be an extremely pretty way of having a double flower border in three divisions, with such an open cross screen twice in the length, as well as at the beginning and end. The first division of the border might well be flowers all blue and white and pale yellow, with bluish foliage; the middle one of warm colourings of rose, red, scarlet, orange, and full yellows, and the third of purple, pale pink and white flowers, with silvery and other cool foliage.

Chains are generally used to form the garlands from post to post, and they are the best, as they hang in a good natural line. A cheaper and not bad substitute is wire rope. Whether chain or rope is used it is an excellent plan, and much better for the Roses, to wind thick tarred twine, or something stronger than twine--tarred cord as thick as the diameter of a large Sweet Pea seed--round and round the chain or wire, keeping the coils rather close, so that the Rose branches do not actually touch the iron but rest upon the coiled cord.

For the post and low trellis the posts are planted with any of the good ramblers or Roses of free growth, while the low trellis may have strong growing H.P.s or any of the Teas and Hybrid Teas usually described in Rose lists as "vigorous." In this case two Roses, or three, according to space, preferably of the same kind, would be planted against each panel of the trellis. Another way would be to plant another Rose of rambling habit against the middle of the trellis and train it down over its next neighbour.

Posts when put into the ground should always have the ends prepared either by gas-tarring or by charring in the fire. This preparation should come up the post quite a foot out of the ground, as damp and rot attack it first at or near the ground line. If a better kind of wooden framework is made, the posts are set on stone or brickwork nine inches to a foot out of the ground, as described in the chapter on the pergola.

Roses of the free-growing kinds adapt themselves readily to the form of hedges. One has only to choose a Rose of more or less vigour, according to the height required. The hedge or screen way of growing them has the merit of ease of access for training and pruning as well as that of giving close enjoyment of the living walls of flowers. The tendency of nearly all strong growing Roses is to rush up and leave bare places below. A Rose hedge should, if possible, have a free space on both sides, when this defect can be remedied in two ways; one by training the shoots in an arched form with the tips bent well down, and the other to tip some of the outer strong young shoots that spring from the base. If in july these are shortened about a third, instead of continuing their growth in length, their energy goes to strengthening the shortened piece that is left. This will then, the following season, be thickly set with flowering laterals that will clothe the lower part of the hedge.

Many of the newer rambling Roses, the old Ayrshires and the stronger of the Teas, are admirable for this way of growth, while there are Roses to suit every height. The height of the Rose hedge, as in all other matters of garden design, must be determined in relation to the proportion of the space it is to fill and the size and distribution of whatever may be w@thin view. Nothing is gained by carrying it up to a great height. Eight or nine feet is in most cases the limit of desirable height, while anything from four to seven feet will be likely to suit the wants of most modest gardens. A charming hedge four feet high can be made with the old favourite Madame Plantier. It is all the prettier if there is a short standard of the same at regular intervals. Another pretty hedge of the same class can be made with this good Rose in combination with one of pink colouring, such as the old H.P. Anna Alexieff. I know a pretty Rose hedge where the two are mixed; not planted alternately, but two or three of one kind and then one of the other, and so on in irregular sequence. Or it would be charming to have short standards of Anna Alexieff rising as just described from the low hedge of the white Madame Plantier.

No one would regret some planting of these two excellent old garden Roses. This one example is given as a type of this kind of planting. Any one who tried it and had enough garden sensibility to feel its charm, and enough garden fervour to wish to practise it in varied forms, would soon invent other combinations.

It would be easy to name many such desirable mixtures, but it is more helpful to show one simple thing that is easily understood, and that awakens interest and enthusiasm, and to leave those wholesome motive powers to do their own work, than it is to prompt the learner at every step, fussing like an anxious nurse, and doing for him, what, if his enthusiasm is true and deep and not mere idle froth, will give him more pleasure in the doing, and more profit in the learning, than if it were all done for him. For the very essence of good gardening is the taking of thought and trouble. No one can do good decorative work who does it merely from a written recipe. The use of such a book as this is to describe enough to set the Rose pilgrim on his road, not to blindfold him and lead him all the way by hand.

 

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