Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In Search of Lost Roses

In Search of Lost Roses By Thomas Christopher (1989)

I’m back in my Winter Gardener mode – time to read garden books.

This little book introduced me to the Rose Rustlers - a posse of Texas old rose enthusiasts that gather in November to scour the countryside in search of lost roses. (The term “old rose enthusiasts” does not refer the age of the rustler.)

They start out with buckets and shovels to find roses of Texas’s past. They search through cemeteries, abandoned towns, fields and private yards. Their sense of adventure and quest for discovery encompasses a passion that rivals Columbus. Texas hot, dry climate makes roses that have survived for decades truly a treasure. I would like to read more of their personal adventures.
(Climbing Rose Blaze - 1932)

Lost Roses chronicles rose history from the wild roses of Greece and Rome through Napoleon’s Josephine’s 10,000 seedlings. Roses that crisscrossed continents with opium traders and settlers. China’s natural order to modern hybridization and genetic engineering. Damask, bourbon, gallca, cyrene, moss and many others are carefully indexed.


(‘Madame Isaac Pereire’ - Bourbon 1881)

As I read I sometimes googled the rose mentioned to get an idea of what it looked like. With only a thimble of old rose understanding, I found tracing roses from France, Italy, Greece, England, China and America complicated. But, I came away with an appreciation of the depth of knowledge necessary to identify the old roses. The book illustrates the obsessive passion of old rose collectors.


Anonymous said...

Cool post as for me. I'd like to read more concerning that matter. Thanks for sharing this info.
Joan Stepsen
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maría cecilia said...

Marie, great info about roses and you truely are in a winter mode investigating about roses... I would love to hear what would you do next in your garden, with roses of course!!!
I clicked in the book but it didn´t opened... uuuuh
Muchos cariños,
Maria Cecilia

Marie said...

Maria Cecilia,
I added a yellow Knock-out rose to my garden last year. It's a very nice little rose but not as large or bright as the old roses that I have. I am content to look at your pictures of your beautiful roses.

You can "look inside" Lost Roses at Amazon dot com.

donna said...

I luv the thought of these old rose enthusiasts ( I know, old roses not old enthusiasts), scouring the countryside with their buckets and shovels. Sounds like a good read.

Yesterday, I pulled out my old Sunset Book called How To Grow Bulbs. Copyright 1973. It's fun to get info via the internet, but nothing beats holding a book in my hands.


Marie said...

I agree. It's great to curl up with a garden book on a cold winter day. I have a few more in my pile for this winter.