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A Rose by Any Name: The Little-Known Lore and Deep-Rooted History of Rose Names Hardcover – Feb 3 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (Feb. 3 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565125185
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565125186
  • Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 2.8 x 18.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #468,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Rose aficionados, acclaimed authors, and dedicated gardeners, Brenner and Scanniello deftly explore the intricate history and enduring mystery behind four dozen of the most famous, obscure, exotic, and unassuming names in rose cultivation. . . .The authors provide plenty of arcane facts and tantalizing revelation in an equally entertaining and educational foray into the competitive, complicated, and frequently comical world of rose naming."―Booklist

“A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but its history would be very different. . . . Covering social and cultural history, technology, art, and science, A Rose by Any Name proves that a whole world can be found within the petals of a single rose. Consider the excerpt that follows our valentine to you.”―Martha Stewart Living

“[Brenner & Scaniello] tell the naming stories of some 1,200 varieties of roses among the more than 15,000 registered rose species and cultivars in their highly entertaining new book, A Rose by Any Name. Each of its illuminating chapters reads almost like a mini biography, albeit of a plant. Best of all, the authors even reveal how you can name a rose after yourself.”―Town & Country

"[A Rose by Any Name's] charming illustrations add to the enlightening origins, history and lore of more than 1,200 rose names."―Kansas City Star

About the Author

Stephen Scanniello is best known as the gardener who transformed the Cranford Rose Garden of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden into one of the world's most acclaimed rose gardens. President of the Heritage Rose Foundation and a member of the American Rose Society, he is a judge for the international rose trials in Europe and the United States. Scanniello has written three books on roses, including A Year of Roses, recipient of the American Horticultural Society’s Annual Book Award. He lives and gardens in New Jersey.

Douglas Brenner writes about gardens, antiques, and architecture for publications such as the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, and Country Living. He is the coauthor, with artist Nancy Stahl, of Real Art: The Paint-by-Number Book and Kit (Workman 2004). Formerly the editor of Garden Design and Martha Stewart Living, Brenner divides his time between New York City and the New Jersey shore. He inherited his first rosebush, 'Climbing American Beauty,' from a previous owner of his house, who planted it there around 1910.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x99ea7f84) out of 5 stars 18 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99eb9e28) out of 5 stars A Rose by Any Name Oct. 16 2009
By OldRoses - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It's no secret that I love roses, especially heirloom roses. I love their gorgeous flowers. I love their heavenly scents. I love their toughness. And I love their names. Residing in my garden are Baronne Prevost, Cecile Brunner, General Jacqueminot, Mme. Pierre Oger, Mme. Plantier, Therese Bugnet and Zephirine Drouhin. Who were these people and why were roses named after them?

Douglas Brenner and Stephen Scanniello set out to solve those mysteries. They initially chose about four dozen roses with interesting histories. But the problem with roses and their stories is that when you start out discussing one tale, it leads to another story about another rose which leads to yet another story about another rose, etc. By the time the authors finished, the four dozen roses had become over 1200.

It's those stories that make this book so fascinating. Rather than a dry list of names each followed by a short explanation of the person/place/thing for which the rose was named, we are treated to tales of danger, intrigue, humor and pathos, all with historical tidbits thrown in to put it into context.

We visit gardens that no longer exist and gardens that are still going strong. We learn about the game "Rose Alphabet" wherein players must come up with rose names for each letter of the alphabet. Also included are several recipes using rose petals or hips along with the story of the discovery of rose oil in India.

Most of all, it's the people and their stories. Gods and goddesses, kings and queens, saints and sinners. Presidents, war heroes, painters, fashion designers, actors and actresses. Humbler folk such as family members of rose breeders.

The authors debunk a few legends. My personal favorite is the quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt: "I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall." Not true, unfortunately.

A glossary of rose and gardening terms is included as well as a bibliography, both very helpful. The lack of an index was the one glaring omission in this otherwise wonderful book. There is no way to look up a specific rose.

As for the "people" growing in my gardens? Five of them are covered, but you will have to read the book yourself to find out which ones and the stories behind them.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99e19930) out of 5 stars One of the BEST Rose books ever March 7 2009
By S. V. Griep - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have always been interested in how various roses got their names. This book goes well beyond the naming of the roses to telling so many wonderful stories about the various roses and the people whom loved them enough to bring them forth for all of us to enjoy. There is room for sequels to this book and I hope they write more! Well worth every penny paid for this book. Some fantastic art work in this book as well as a great reciepe for making Rose Water. Very enjoyable!! All rose lovers need this book in their library.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99ebc054) out of 5 stars Gift of A Rose March 4 2009
By Muir Beach - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a lovely little book - and was just the perfect Valentine I hoped it would be
for someone who loves and grows roses.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99e24930) out of 5 stars A Rose by Any Name May 13 2009
By Thoughts on the Arts - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I've never been a big fan of roses, however, I love the etymology of names and phrases, so I was extremely excited to get a hold of this book and I was not disappointed. I found it fascinating to discover the variety of influences hybridizers use in naming their "babies". I was also amazed to find out that there was a term ("rosarian") for people who devote their lives to the study of roses. Who knew?!

There were a few small disappointments, foremost of which was, since it was an ARC, the lack of color photographs. The letter I received with my copy assured me that the book would be in full color upon it's February release. There was something almost wrong about looking at the colorless pictures provided in my copy. I also don't know if I would have arranged the book in the way my copy was arranged, alphabetically by title. I likely would have tried to create sections; i.e. Famous Names, Rose Types, History and Myth, etc. I found it somewhat distracting to bounce from one type to another. Who knows though, this could be different by the release as well.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has a love of gardening, roses, or etymology. It was a quick absorbing read I can easily see toting with me on my next summer trip to Longwood Gardens or the like.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By J. Maxwell - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase