In Search of Lost Roses

Thomas Christopher, Author Summit Books $18.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-66220-2
Well known are the rambling rose and its literary equivalent--the rambling gardening book. Both are venerable genres that cover a lot of ground, and horticulturalist/writer Christopher's brief account of his journeys searching out the hardy yet subtle shrubs classified as ``old roses'' provides many satisfactions. A reader learns that ``Autumn Damask,'' which has its legendary roots in Damascus, may be the most fragrant of all roses; and that the Chinese ``Gigantea'' boasts canes as long as 50 feet, while those of ``Rosa Rouletii'' reach only six inches. Chapters, organized loosely around the author's visits with old-rose aficionados, include some satisfyingly tall tales, particularly of his jaunts with Texan rose ``rustlers'' who travel, caravan-style, to find and take clippings of plants growing by abandoned houses or in graveyards. Christopher's knowhow can explain why the rustlers soak their cuttings in water in which they have previously soaked willow chips: willow hormones promote rooting. Illustrations not seen by PW. Garden Book Club alternate. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-7475-3009-1
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-7475-3695-6
Paperback - 978-0-380-71987-7
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-226-10596-3
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