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The Ultimate Rose Book Review

Just in time for the fall gardening season Harry N. Abrams has released the new expanded edition of “The Ultimate Rose Book.” Originally written by Stirling Macoboy, who has since passed away, this was expanded and updated by rose expert Tommy Cairns.

The oversized, coffee table format does justice to its subject. You won’t find a better book anywhere on roses. This showcases over 1500 kinds, including old heirloom varieties along with modern ones and wild roses as well as miniatures, and mini-floras.

This guide devotes a special section to each group with the roses arranged alphabetically by their common name. At the beginning of each section is a comprehensive history and account of that group along with a classification chart.

For each of the 1500 featured roses there are full color photos and a comprehensive profile giving its accepted names, details on its parentage and breeding, an in-depth description, growth habit, mature size, time of flowering, hardiness zone, fragrance, awards, color, and its official classification.

Though much of the book is devoted to the individual roses, this title offers much more than just that. In fact scattered throughout are feature articles on various rose-related topics. This is truly a treasure-trove for rose lovers with details on every imaginable aspect of rose history to lore, poetry, and art. One article deals with fragrance, while another is devoted to the continuing search for a blue rose.

In addition to the articles scattered throughout the book, there are chapters on other broad topics. One gives step-by-step, color-illustrated instructions on how to choose, plant, prune, propagate, and care for your roses as well as tips on how to keep your plants healthy.

Readers will find all the information they need to grow roses successfully and how to use them in the landscape. A special section is devoted to climbers and ramblers with complete information on the various varieties. There are charts listing suggested varieties for different situations, such as ones for pergolas, pillars, walls and houses.

Gardeners will find this volume includes other helpful lists of roses. One list deals with roses that don’t have thorns. There are also lists of varieties for hedges, greenhouses, the best varieties for cutting, the most fragrant ones, and early flowering kinds.

This book also features a section on the best public rose gardens in the world. It profiles seven of the most famous ones and what they have to offer along with lists of other recommended gardens, arranged by country.

One sure way to choose the best roses is to choose award winning ones, and this book makes that possible with a chapter on award winning roses with details on the various rose awards and trials along with lists of the winning roses.

There is even a directory of the world’s best known rose breeders and their creations.
At the end is a helpful glossary of rose terms.

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