I personally own and love all of these books about roses! At a time in history when we supposed to have everything we need accessible by google, insightful information about roses is still hard to find on the internet. Plus there is something magical in being able to open a gorgeous book to get the information you need. The inspiration, information, and knowledge that I’ve gained from these books about roses have been amazing! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! If nothing else, they make gorgeous coffee table books and can hopefully inspire you to plant a rose or two!
As much as I love and look forward to spring, I do enjoy the slower pace of winter that comes after Christmas and allows more time for reading. Something warm to drink and a good book.
I recently purchased some new rose books and repurchased some that I read in the past but lost during multiple house moves. All of those books are full of useful rose info and not just a collection of lovely photos with 3 pages or so related to propagation, pruning etc… Those books will sure to make a big difference in your gardening experience this winter (spring/summer/autumn).
1.) Roses for Dummies – a book about roses with lots of useful tips
Author: Lance Walheim & Editors of the National Gardening Association
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Paperback: 384 pages
This book really covers just about every possible question you might have about how to grow beautiful roses, rose history and many more. This is a really good reference book for a gardening newbie, but even a rose expert will find a few useful tips in this book.
This book has become my go-to resource for all things roses. The sections are clearly laid out, it’s easy to read, and the information is laid out in such a way that it’s easy to understand. There’s a wonderful section on pests with pictures, plus a section on various diseases. I’ve got quite a few books on roses, but this one is my favourite reference book.
2.) The Rose, A True History – A detailed book about the rose history
Author: Jennifer Potter
Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition
Paperback: 560 pages
Reading this book is a joyful pleasure. Scholarly, well written and enlightening, it tells of the rose in history and culture. Highly recommended by me if you want to know the true history of roses and craving a good educational read. This book is a page-turner for a devoted rose lover, but not an easy read due to its academic nature. You have been warned.
3.) The Rose a Colourful Inheritance – a book about rose history by Peter Harkness
Author: Peter Harkness
Publisher: Scriptum; 1st edition
Paperback: 336 pages
If you don’t favour scholarly texts but want to know more about rose history than check out the book The Rose a Colourful Inheritance.
Roses are valued for many reasons including beauty, symbolism, fragrance, and history. The Rose a Colourful Inheritance tells the fascinating story of this treasured flower accompanied by lively text and sumptuous full-colour 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 explores 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.
This book also features the captivating archival illustrations 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.
4.) RHS Encyclopedia of Roses
Author: Charles and Brigid Quest-Ritson
Publisher: DK; 1st edition
Paperback: 448 pages
There is a brief history of roses in the beginning and then a very beautiful and extensive, alphabetically-organized picture encyclopedia of very many roses, rose breeders, famous rose parks. Of course, you can’t have them all and newer roses are omitted, but this book is really what every rose lover should have to wade through the winter months when we are longing to see the first buds of Spring. Beautiful pictures, well-written descriptions, and so much useful rose information.
5.) The Rose (RHS) – rose book with 40 rose prints which can be framed
Author: Dr Brent Elliott
Publisher: Welbeck Publishing; Box Pck Pa edition
Paperback: 176 pages
It is the most stunning rose book, with fascinating facts and some wonderful illustrations from over the centuries. A plus is the addition of prints that can, if wished, be framed. Each of the 40 roses is illustrated with extraordinarily beautiful images from the library and accompanied by a beautifully reproduced print of the flower which can be framed, allowing the reader to truly appreciate these magnificent plants. It is an absolute treasure!
This remarkable book reveals the history of the rose through the tale of 40 of the most popular and interesting species and hybrids. Arranged chronologically in the order in which a particular rose arrived in European gardens, the book also covers the history of the layout of rose gardens, discusses the various myths that have grown up about the history and introduction of roses and the confusion over the identity of roses in the Renaissance and looks at the role that roses play in the “language of flowers”.
A plus is that this book is written by Dr Brent Elliott – Historian at the RHS and has worked there for almost 40 years.
6.) The English Roses – a book about English roses from an expert in the field
Author: David Austin
Publisher: Conran; 1st edition
Paperback: 320 pages
The book on the English Roses by David Austin – one of the world’s leading rose hybridizers. This book has everything: superior photography, printing, and information from the breeding of the English Roses to care, cultivation and use in the landscape. Each rose entry is also packed with essential information on size, growth habits, disease resistance, and use in the garden. All of David Austin’s books are highly recommended for their beauty, quality and informative value.
7.) Roses – Translation of “Les Roses” by Redoute & Thory
Author: Pierre-Joseph Redoute and Claude Antonie Thory
Translation: Deborah Davis Larrabee
Publisher: Baseline Co. Ltd
Paperback: 256 pages
No flower painter has so linked his name and immortality with a single genus as has Redouté with the rose. This three-volume set is Redouté most famous work; its 170 hand-coloured plates are the most frequently reproduced of all botanical images. The original publication of the Les Roses series contained not only drawing of the roses but also detailed descriptions provided by Thory. If you want to immerse your self in the original book than a translation of “Les Roses” by Deborah Davis Larrabee is what you are looking for.
8.) Everyday Roses, How to grow “Knock out” and other easy care garden roses
Author: Paul Zimmerman
Publisher: Taunton; Illustrated edition
Paperback: 192 pages
This book is very helpful, debunking the old wives tales about growing roses and encouraging the nervous to have a go. This book opens a whole new world of roses that can be truly organic with petals clean enough to add to salads! If you follow the book’s instructions in laying the bed, planting the bushes, and caring for them as they laid down their roots, you are guaranteed to have fantastic roses all year round.
9. Arranging Roses
Author: Emma Gray
Publisher: Anness Publishing
Paperback: 96 pages
One of the joys of gardening is bringing cut flowers into the house, enjoying their colours, textures, and perfume close up. It is also undeniable that buying cut flowers and then faffing with them at home is also lots of fun. Arranging Roses: How to Create Glorious Fresh and Dried Displays contains a variety of ideas for making roses last and enjoying them indoors in far more innovative ways than the typical florist’s dozen long-stemmed red roses (not that there is anything wrong with that, either).
Full-page colour photos provide inspiration, and close-up detailed photos illustrate techniques for making garlands, swags, corsages, table arrangements, and wreaths out of fresh and dried roses. The ideas range from simple to more elaborate: dried roses wrapped with raffia packed into a colourful olive oil tin, rosebud candle rings, or an autumnal bundle of orange roses wrapped with leaves. Tiny rosebuds mixed with eucalyptus are wired onto hair combs, red roses and lavender are tightly packed together and tied with ribbons to make a fragrant old-fashioned perfume flower bag, and pale pink roses are laced with conifers for a holiday swag. A wide variety of other garden materials are mixed with the roses in these projects: leaves, cones, pods, wheat, lavender, moss, and dried fruit expand the range of decorating styles from the classic to the modern.
How to handle the roses is explained in great detail, from steaming and drying to wrapping and wiring. If you long to bring your garden inside and enjoy your favourite flower every month of the year, you’ll enjoy making these innovative yet simple arrangements.
10.) Botanica’s Roses Encyclopedia
Author: David Austin (Author), Peter Beales (Editor)
Publisher: Ball Publishing
Paperback: 704 pages
This book is comprehensive, to say the least! For those who love the nostalgia of looking up something that interests them the old fashioned way (in a book), this encyclopedia is for you! Pretty much every rose ever bred through 1998 is highlighted in this book!
I know that there are many great rose books that I haven’t mentioned. Every book has something that can help add to your gardening knowledge and rose enjoyment. It is estimated that there are 1000 books dedicated to roses that are written in English. I haven’t read all of them, so I can’t say that this list is definitive. But I am sure that a rosarian will love all books listed in this post.