300 color illustrations beautifully reproduced in large scale... Harkness is an engaging writer who delivers serious science between slices of historical trivia. ( Publishers Weekly 18 08 2003)
Harkness's narrative makes highly interesting reading, but the jewels of this book are the beautiful illustrations. (Philip Oliver Library Journal 01 10 2003) A spectacularly illustrated reference.
Roses are valued for many reasons including beauty, symbolism, fragrance, and history. The Rose tells the fascinating story of this treasured flower accompanied by lively text and sumptuous full color illustrations. The book is divided into three sections: Roses of Nature, Roses of History and Roses by Design.
Each section traces the links that tie the wild roses of nature to the earliest roses of civilization. It also explodes a few myths along the way and tells how the tireless efforts of horticulturists from many nations have brought into being the full-petalled beauties of today.
The captivating archival illustrations are from the Royal Horticultural Society’s collection, home to one of the world’s finest archives of horticultural art. This spectacular collection of roses of every description is certain to capture the hearts of gardeners and art lovers alike.
About The Author:
Peter Harkness is the author of Modern Garden Roses, The Photographic Encyclopaedia of Roses and Roses to Enjoy.
From Asian antiquity to today, fascination, appreciation, and scientific advancement have produced one of the most beloved flowers in the world for gardeners, botanists, nurseries, artists, poets, and governments. The Rose: An Illustrated History, by Peter Harkness (Firefly Books, October 2003), recounts the garden cultivation of roses, dating from 5,000 years ago in China, where many rose species originated in the wild, to the last 150 years, when more than 20,000 rose hybrids were raised. The Rose is a magnificent blend of history, art, and science.
The author brings together a rare depth of knowledge of history and of roses. Anecdotes and fascinating facts are coupled with dozens of exquisite full-color reproductions of botanical illustrations from the archives of the Royal Horticultural Society. This stunning volume is comprised of three sections: Roses of Nature, Roses of History, and Roses of Design.
Lively, authoritative text contains intriguing, new or little-known information, for example:
The most important wild rose, the Chinese Spontanea, is an ancestor of most of the roses in the world today.
The Golden Cherry, mentioned in a Chinese herbal of 1406 AD, was brought to Europe in about 1698, and subsequently to the United States. In the southern states it became naturalized and spread out of control -- a Florida specimen grew to cover 10,000 square feet. Even though, it is still Georgia's state emblem.
In the Sumerian royal tombs of Ur in southern Iraq, 4,000 year-old tablets are inscribed with the Akkadian word silasar or rose, very likely the first written reference.
Northern Persia was home to all three parents of the Damask Rose. Documents show that a Persian province was supplying the Caliph of Baghdad with thousands of bottles of rosewater from the Damask.
Provins, France is the marketing birthplace of Apothecary's Rose (one of many common names) noted for its cosmetic, medicinal, and culinary uses. Originally used by Near East pharmacists, it reached Europe in the mid-thirteenth century, and continues today to be one of the world's favorite old roses.
Japan's contribution to rose history includes the Cherry Rose that was a late 1900s sensation in Europe. In England, Queen Victoria journeyed to see this rose then named Turner's Crimson Rambler," and a lovely picture appeared in a French magazine before nurseryman Turner's customers received their plants.
The Rose discusses the many horticulturists and their techniques that contributed to the development, beauty, and popularity of this time-honored plant. In 1814, PhiIippe Noisette in Charleston, South Carolina, sent plantings of the first repeat-flowering climber to his brother Louis in France. The "Noisette" was an early example of a successful North America-to-Europe introduction. In 1849, Jean-Baptiste Guillot showed that if hips were collected and the seeds sown, the seedlings made better and cheaper understocks than cuttings; when this method was universally adopted the number of roses grown dramatically increased. At the end of World War II, a Hybrid Tea named "Peace" was introduced in the United States; significantly improved by Francois Meilland, Hybrid Teas remain the most popular roses today.
What does the future hold? Harkness believes that it is "not impossible to envisage roses that are thornless, evergreen, blue, with scented foliage, in new color patterns, bearing flowers in spikes and spirals, repellant to aphids, resistant to disease, and universally fragrant . . . new forms will continue to appear, as they have for centuries, in the ongoing quest to bring roses to perfection."
Peter Harkness is a historian who loves roses and has worked with them throughout his career. He is the author of Modern Garden Roses, The Photographic Encyclopedia of Roses, and Roses to Enjoy. He has edited The Rose Magazine, and contributed to the Royal Horticultural Society?s Roses Plant Guide.