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A richly illustrated celebration of the world's favorite flower offers a definitive overview of every class of rose, from ancient varieties to the latest hybrids, detailing the fascinating array of colors, shapes, and sizes found among the rose family. Garden Alt. Dorling Kindersley publishes the most beautiful of illustrated books; their expertise with layout and color photography is especially welcome in books on plants and gardens. The minute you open the cover to find front and back end papers in rose pink, you get a clue about the quality of this volume. Four hundred color photographs celebrate the long history of the rose, paying tribute to this most beloved of all flowers.
What flower is more immediately recognized than the rose? Despite this icon status, there is much confusion about the various kinds of roses. Thus, choosing wisely for the garden can be a puzzle. It is far too easy to be seduced by those silky petals and sweet perfume, but do you really need another hybrid tea? This book can be enjoyed simply as a reference for identifying roses or as an exploration of the history and significance of roses. Because it's arranged by kind of rose, it makes clear the differences between species: noisettes, hybrid perpetuals, etc. The most stunning flowers of all (and of course you may well have a different opinion) may be the old moss roses, with their fuzzy stems and flowers so doubled as to appear ruffled. Pages are filled with close-ups of breathtaking roses, individual blossoms photographed against a black background to highlight form and color.
Whether Ultimate Rose is an art book or a garden book doesn't really matter. It has managed to capture the magic and compelling beauty of roses, identify each, compare the looks and virtues of the various types, and give clear and thorough information on how to place and care for them in your garden. --Valerie Easton