I had a list of 20 herbs to study, with Rose being my number one, as part of my Springfield Sanctuary Apprenticeship.
I am a ground up learner, so this year I really delved into the history of roses. I bought two books that I especially enjoyed as good reads, besides learning about roses in history, their lineages and other tidbits such as how to identify by the type of thorns etc.
A Rose by Any Name The Little-Known Lore and Deep-Rooted History of Rose Names by Douglas Brenner, (former Martha Stewart Living garden editor) and Stephen Scanniello, (President of the Heritage Rose Foundation).
From the ancient Apothecary Rose to the modern roses like my Julia Childs, this book has a story behind about 1200 roses. It is not some dry, boring read either. Oh no, it has humor, wit, romance, intrigue, triumph, failure, glory, sadness and danger all included. Great leaders, actors, politicians, Empresses, Queens, Presidents, artists of every stripe, and many of other types of peoples, stories entwined throughout. Even if you are not a rosarian, this little book is a wonderfully entertaining read, and gave me a great appreciation of just how important roses have been throughout history, religiously, medicinally, and of course, for their beauty.
In Search of Lost Roses by Thomas Christopher, ( a horticulture, gardening and environmental author of great renown), is the other book with a historical bent I truly enjoyed for what it taught me as well as the stories.
The book, In Search of Lost Roses, tells the story of how after the first hybrid tea rose, in 1867, many of the old roses were for generations virtually unobtainable or lost entirely. He then crafts a wonderful tale of chasing down , across continents, many of these “lost” old roses and bringing them back so we can enjoy and appreciate their historical importance today. We are introduced to rose rustling, ancient Greece, China, and Rome (amongst other places), necropoli, and bridal beds during this fascination journey through time, in search of old roses. A must read!
These books came from the story of roses from a historical perspective in different ways, and they really don’t have much overlap, so I wanted to share about them and suggest both as superb reads for those of you with an interest.
Stay tuned… I will be posting a few fascinating, stories where Rose was a witness to mankind’s history…
Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx