Throughout lockdown I have looked for the positives. Silver linings are an important way to work though uncertainty and rediscovering reading and books has been a real pleasure through the last few weeks. So when I was offered the opportunity to review RHS’s The Rose by Brent Elliott I leapt at the chance to indulge in some relaxing reading whilst widening my knowledge of my favourite bloom, the rose.
The Rose by Brent Elliott
The book is A4 and hard-backed. I’ve become something of a snob about book bindings as I’ve got older and a hardback is always my preferred choice. It’s sturdy and reassuring and I love knowing that it will last generations. The RRP of the book is £25 and for a book of this size and quality I think it’s excellent value, particularly when the edition contains 30 removable vintage rose prints. (These are all at the back of the book so you’re not removing illustrations from within the chapters.) I’m a huge fan of the RHS and regularly attend the Malvern show and adored Chelsea Flower Show, you certainly know that you are getting the very best expertise and knowledge around with an RHS publication.
The History of the World’s Favourite Flower
This is not an encyclopaedia of roses, neither is it a care guide. The Rose is far more readable and explores the history of the rose told through 40 different varieties. The first chapter explores roses of the ancient world and I was hooked straight away. The idea of being able to picture and smell long gone ancient gardens fills me with nosey delight. The beautiful illustrations are perfectly placed to help you visualise the way roses have changed as we chart them through time and place. Looking at the myths of the rose in The Crusades all the way through to the hybridisation of roses in the twentieth century, there is a chapter for everyone. The book is laid out in a way that you can easily read from cover to cover, or dip into specific chapters of interest.
The illustrations in this book are just wonderful and they are plentiful. The vintage rose illustrations are stunning and it’s wonderful to have prints included that you can frame. I also love the garden paintings – they set my imagination alight, imagining the view in full technicolour as well as the people that must have loved roses as much as I do in a very different time. Passion for roses radiate out of every page, whether it’s Elliotts writing or the meticulously sourced historical imagery, it is very much a window into the historical soul of a rose lover and I cannot get enough. You can see more details for the book on the Amazon listing.
I have kindly been gifted two copies of The Rose to giveaway to my followers. The competition will launch at 2pm on May 10th and will close at 6pm on Monday May 11th. Head over to my Instagram feed to enter. Good Luck!
I’ve really enjoyed reviewing this book and know that it is one I will return to each year when my own garden roses bloom and intoxicate me all over again with their beauty.
Have you found yourself picking up more books that usual during lockdown? I need recommendations, so please do let me know your favourite reads in the comments below.