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As he did for English Roses in 100 English Roses for the American Garden, the preeminent rosarian Clair G. Martin demystifies the world of Old Roses - those hardy, fragrant, versatile, and historic roses introduced before 1901. The first section presents the different classes of Old Roses - Gallicas and Damasks, Portlands and Bourbons and Albas and more - and describes the essentials of selecting, planting, watering, pruning, training, feeding, and disease control. Following is a field guide to 100 varieties best suited for American gardens. Each rose is stunningly photographed by Saxon Holt, and each entry includes a detailed description of the cultivar, along with its often colorful history ('Autumn Damask' was listed by Virgil; 'Old Blush,' ubiquitous in California gold rush country cemeteries, was influential in creating modern reblooming roses) and information on availability, fragrance, uses, stature and habit, hardiness, and time of bloom.
This is a nice little book. Like the others in the series, it has a portrait of each rose featured. There is a studio picture of a cut stem, and some information about the rose. Not the most informative book out there of course (see Peter Beales' "Passion for Roses" or "Classic Roses" instead). But this does highlight a few classic roses to choose from which might be good for an absolute newbie to Old roses. I would also wish for multiple photos of each plant, showing the overall habit of the plant, and photos of the plant in the garden rather than studio shots.
This is a great book for anyone from the stark newby to the seasoned rosarian who is looking to grow OGR's and needs to know more about them. I love the REAL photos...these aren't touched up glamour shots! They show the roses with all their spots and torn petals, as do all Martin's great rose reference books. Lots of great info in this book.