I read the softcover edition of this book called "Growing Beautiful Roses." Absolutely wonderful resource for anyone interested in learning how to grow roses organically, without any sprays. The main thing is to choose low-maintenance, disease-resistant varieties, and the book profiles hundreds of choices. Both old (alba, damask, gallica, centifolia, etc.) and new (Kordes, Svejda, rugosa hybrids, etc.) varieties are included. There are detailed instructions for preparing the soil, siting the roses, planting, and caring for the plants organically and easily. There are also chapters on designing mixed gardens with roses, including several garden plans. Lots of nice photos throughout. The gallery of recommended roses has a photo of each one.
I've never tried to grow roses organically, but this book has definitely convinced me that it is doable.
It's a nice, comprehensive guide to growing roses organically. I also like the directory (with photographs) of roses that are fairly resistant to disease and can be grown organically.
However, I've found a few pieces of advice in this book, that I'd take with a grain of salt. For instance, she recommends growing stinging nettle, horsetail and Russian comfrey in part of the garden and adding leftover plants to the compost pile. In my experience, inviting invasive plants into any part of the garden is a recipe for eventual disaster - even if you don't put them directly into the flower beds. She also tells the reader to add sand to heavy clay to improve it - from what I've read other places, this is an excellent way to make bricks, rather than to improve the soil (I'd add organic matter). And, though I love rugosas, I really think a book like this should at least mention that they send up suckers everywhere - that's one piece of advice a novice really should know before planting.
On August 9th, 2005, AS added the following:
I was also appalled to see the sentence \"And if you like the idea of rabbits and other mammals frequenting your garden, try to create a green \"highway\" of plants to connect your landscaped areas with nearby wild areas.\" Has this woman ever actually *had* bunnies in the garden?! Sure, they\'re cute... but even if you don\'t grow any of the 101 other ornamental plants the rabbits decimate, new rose foliage and flower buds are one of their favorite foods in the spring. Not to mention that they chew any dormant rose canes they can reach down to the ground in winter.
As a newly converted rose gardener, I bought this book as a primer. (Actually there is now a softcover edition that has been renamed Growing Beautiful Roses.) It is filled with very useful info to help not only with ongoing gardening, but, most importantly for me, selection of varieties that should preclude the need for spraying to avoid both disease and insects.
Furthermore, the sections on designing with roses in the landscape and to attract wildlife helped me to use roses in my yard in a way that is consistent with the rest of my approaches to gardening. Despite their obvious beauty, I didn't want a 'rose bed' but, rather, roses that will be an integral part of the rest of the yard.