The number of roses grown currently is unknown but stands at many thousands. The number varies depending on the source of the information. The number of books, dedicated to the rose is also unknown but my research suggests that there are in the region of 1000 books dedicated to the rose and written in English which have been published since the first in 1799.

I am collecting these books together for use in my own rose research and as a source of many of the stories behind the rose. I would like to ensure that the books remain on our shelves and that these too do not become lost to the passage of time.

So far I have about 600 different books dedicated to the rose together with many more on plants and gardening which I have collected as I have written my stories about the rose. Additional publications in the form of catalogues, annuals and other printed works allow me to share with you a substantial rose library.


  • Small and beautiful . . . . .

    Recently I added some of the coffee table books to this online library. In contrast I have looked out a few of the small books to add. On average these measure 10cm by 15cm. They vary in age going from the 19th century to the late 20th century. I think you will agree that each has its own merits in appearance but surely you cannot beat the title ‘Roses: a celebration in words and paintings’. Something I would like to do every day in the very same way that this book has done.

  • Beautiful covers and spines.

    Although dust jackets have been around for nearly 200 years for the protection of book covers it was not until the 20th century that they arrived in all their artistic glory. Prior to this, many books had ornate and artistic tooled bindings. In the case of rose books this disguised the fact that there were few illustrations within. Black and white woodcut illustrations were quite common but colourful illustrations were very expensive to produce so were rarely included. Occasionally two editions of a book were printed as in the case of ‘A Book about Roses’; a Popular Edition and a Presentation Edition. The :Popular Edition contained the text but had no painted rose frontispiece or gold embossing on the cover. It was, however, cheaper and more affordable for a wider public.

    I have included here a selection of the ornate 19th century rose books in the library. Some I have included before but one or two I think are worthy of a repeat performance!

    The attractive spines.

    ‘Amateurs Rose Book (1894) Shirley Hibberd.

    ‘The Rose Book’ 1913) H. H. Thomas.

    ‘A Book about Roses’ (1869) 18th Ed. Twentieth Century.

    ‘The Book of Roses’ (1922) Louis Durand.

    ‘A Book about Roses’ (1869) 1st Ed.

    ‘Cultivated Roses’ (1899) Sanders T.W.

    ‘Beauties of the Rose’ (1850-1853) Henry Curtis.

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