Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
"A Life with Roses" by David Ruston (with Sue Zwar) was released by Rosenberg Publishing. Wonderfully written and beautifully conceived, this is a fitting tribute to one of the worlds’ leading rosarians. Ruston, a native of Australia, has devoted his life to promoting roses, particularly with respect to floral design. I highly recommend this title for both novice and experienced floral designers.
This book truly lives up to its name. It provides autobiographical information from all aspects of the author’s life and career with roses and flowers. One chapter is devoted to the countless honors he has received over the years. There is an in-depth account of the author’s rose gardens. Although few flowers can compete with his love for roses he does recommend hollyhocks for rose gardens.
This book is beautifully illustrated with hundreds of examples of floral designs the author has created during his career. The profiled floral designs by the author feature masterpieces he has created over the years. One is a flower carpet that is just breath taking. Some of his specialties include floral designs for special events and interpretations of art by renowned artists. There are rustic seasonal designs he has done for country gardens along with garden sculptures he has made from floral materials of various sorts.
From beginning to end this volume is overflowing with all sorts of practical and inspirational information relating to roses and floral design. Some of this is included in articles by the author that appeared in various publications and are reprinted in this volume. Practical information that floral designers can put to good use includes detailed information on roses, their culture, and uses in floral design. The author also gives a history of floral design as well. Throughout the book there are color photos and brief profiles for hundreds of different rose varieties.
Several chapters explain how to grow specific types of roses, how to irrigate, grow, and care for rose bushes, and how to choose containers for floral design. I especially love the fact that he recommends specific varieties of roses for floral design. The author also explains which is his favorite rose and the top six roses for floral design along with the twelve best floribundas. He particularly recommends heirloom or heritage roses, and devotes a chapter to the various heritage rose groups that promote these worthy plants.
This title also has chapters on rose judging and on the various world rose conferences that the author has participated in during his career and the various rose gardens he has visited around the world. He provides an in-depth tour of each garden.
There are also chapters on harvesting and conditioning flower stems. There is an in-depth listing and discussion of cut flowers that keep especially well. The author also discusses ephemeral flower stems that have a short vase life.
This title devotes chapters to other floral design topics, such as fruits and vegetables for floral arrangements, winter arrangements, and seasonal spring flowers. The author also discusses the many ways that floral designs can be displayed in the home.
For disclosure purposes I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.