Of Books and Gardens
Friday, Jul. 30, 2004 – 5:42 p.m.
I have been reading The History of the Rose by Allen Paterson (Collins & Sons, 1983; ISBN 0002195364) and I am finding it very interesting. It is a much more readable book than Krussmann’s Complete Book of Roses. In one of the chapters, Paterson talks about roses in heraldry, the wars of the roses, and the origin of the words “rosary” and “rosarium” (and their relationship to the Virgin Mary) (pp 44-57). Appendix I is a botanical discussion of the Rosa genus and the Rosaceae family and includes a good description of rose cytology (genetics) and why some roses varieties may be sterile. (Am I a geek or what? [grin])
As I have been reading, I have been taking notes regarding referenced books that I want to look up/find/read/own. First on my list is The Rose-Garden Game by Eithne Wilkins, a book about rose symbolism. Duke and UNC-CH both have this book, but NCSU does not so I have put in a interlibrary loan request for it. Hopefully it will show up before I leave for Pennsic. The second book is an herbal by William Turner that is supposed to predate Gerard by 50 years. UNC-CH has this but NCSU does not so it is time for another ILL request.
Next on the list is Roses: or a monograph of the genus rosa containing coloured figures of all the known species and beautiful varieties, drawn, engraved, described, and coloured, from the living plants by Henry C Andrews. It was published in 1805 and, according to WorldCat, there are about 8 copies accessable in libraries. The good news is that two of those copies are actually within road trip distance: Univ. of Maryland College Park and Johns Hopkins Univ. I suppose I could do an ILL request for a copy but, to be honest, I just want to look at it. Gee, an excuse for going and exploring another university’s library! Further investigation shows that the U of MD copy is on microfiche but the JHU copy is real but in their rare books library.
The remaining book on my list (so far) is listed as Historia plantarum by Dalechamps (1587). Unlike the previous books, I believe that this one is written in latin (making it very difficult for me to use since I don’t read latin… Right! I will put that on my To-Do list…”Learn to read medieval latin…” It’s right after “Learn to read french”) A search via WorldCat pulls up the book available in a number of libraries (none local) on microfilm and in book form. JHU shows up again as does as UVA. The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation is also on the list. That is located at good old Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. There also appears to be a translation into French available (see To-Do list mentioned above…) and I could see it at a place called Gunston Hall Plantation in VA. A quick Google search yields the fact that Gunston Hall was George Mason’s plantation on the Potomac River. Now I am learning about American History… amazing where learning about roses leads one, eh? Ok, I think that I will just have to leave this one for later… MUCH later.
One of the appendicies of this book is a list of gardens. Lots of gardens are listed, in lots of different countries, including the US. However, one thing I have learned from some of my previous expeditions is that some gardens, particularly in the US, are almost entirely modern roses (Hybrid Teas and Floribundas and the like). I find that I am more interested in the Old Garden Roses (OGRs). Take the Norfolk Botanical Garden as an example: nice botanical garden, but the main rose garden was not what I am looking for, at least not when it is not in full bloom. Still, I guess any rose in bloom is better than none… and I am not digging up my own HT and floribundas anytime soon. And show me a sign that says “Rose Garden” and I am still probably going to follow it [grin].
However, in talking about the history of roses and their development, Paterson does describe several rose gardens (in Europe) that interest me enough to put them on a list:
- Malmaison: The chateau of Empress Josephine seems like a must for a pilgrimage of a rose fanatic. Alas, it appears that time and changing fortunes have had their effect on the property and the gardens as she had them no longer exist. There are some roses there but nothing like what there were in her time. Still, I would like to visit and look, in my mind’s eye, at what she had wrought.
- Roseraie de l’Hay: This IS a definite objective on my pilgrimage list. While in french, this is probably a better link for learning about the actual garden. It covers the history of roses from antiquity to the present. Ok, I have now wiped the drool off the keyboard…
- Parc de Bagatelle or Bagatelle Gardens: This is another garden in the environs of Paris (it is actually owned by the city…since 1905) and while the info I have found says that it takes a little bit of effort to get there (it’s not near a metro stop… you have to hop a bus to get there…), it is supposed to be worth it. In my web searches, I did find this funny news article about the GGLF (Garden Gnome Liberation Front).
- Sissinghurst Castle: This place just looks like it would be fun to visit. It is out southeast of London. There is also an old rose that was found here that might even date back to period times (but who knows?).
- Mottisfont Abbey: The walled gardens at this site contain the National Collection of old-fashion roses. Paterson says that the kitchen garden is wonderful. it is located SW of London, west of Winchester, east of Salsibury, and north of South Hampton.
- Castle Howard: Located in Yorkshire, this does not appear to be one of the National Trust properties. Looks like it is lovely.
- Rose garden at the Island of Mainau: This is an island in Lake Constance (that’s in Germany) that is a park, that is the WHOLE island is a park. There are somehthing like 20,000 roses there.
Ok, I think that is enought for the present.