Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rose Readings

I've been long in the midst of a wonderful book combining some of my favorite roses and their histories.  Titled Pink Ladies and Crimson Gents, by Molly and Don Glentzer, this one is a must read for any rosarian who loves old garden roses.  Molly is the writer and Don is the photographer and they've collaborated on a unique project.

This colorful text looks at fifty different roses, most of which are old garden roses but some of which fall into the modern category.  For each rose, there's a delicious full-page photograph of a perfect specimen of that rose, taken against a pure white background to be free of distractions.  No insect damage or blackspot on these roses! You can almost feel the roses on each page and sometimes you think that the briefest wisp of old rose scent has passed by on a draft as you read.  'Mme Eugene E. Marlitt', 'Mme Isaac Pereire', and 'Lady Banks', 'Sir Thomas Lipton', 'Napoleon', and 'Don Juan', all the cultivar-honored names of history are there, along with the individual stories of both the breeder of the particular rose and a short biography of the honoree.  

It's a highly readable book, and in a perfect format, one of those books that I refer to as "throne reading."  You know, those books that can be read a page or two at a time while you are otherwise briefly occupied in a sitting position on a white porcelain chair and biding your time with necessary physiologic pursuits.  It takes me a while to get through a book in that manner, two pages at a time, but I'm pretty sure that 'Gertrude Jekyll' and 'Graham Thomas' don't mind, as long as I get to their stories at last.

Old Rose fanatics will appreciate that the authors acknowledge that many of the blooms were taken at G. Michael Shoup's Antique Rose Emporium in Texas and at Vintage Gardens.  I myself grow several roses from the former, having enjoyed its Brenham, Texas establishment once as a sort of side-trip pilgrimage during a visit to friends.


  1. I got that book for Christmas -- and it's a great read! I like to wander around the Antique Rose Emporium too. My old rose 'Spice' is blooming now and I'm reminded that I really do like roses.

  2. This is a book that has long been on my short list of rose books to add to my library. Can you believe that Antique Rose Emporium is one of the only online nurseries that I haven't yet ordered from? I think it's the fear of the cost of mailing 2-gallon roses, with the two gallons of dirt, from Texas to Virginia. I would LOVE to visit there.


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