The Rosarian Library

A collection of books and other resources

dedicated to the rose


By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Aug 3 2018 10:19AM

Wow! Three articles about the library published in as many months. The Rosarian Library is reaching a wider public! I am thrilled as I know, for the rosarian, it is a great resource and for me personally it is rewarding to see the library grow and its many books providing information for people with an amazing range of projects.

The first article appeared in the February 2018 'Rose Society UK' Newsletter, the second in the Spring 2018 'Historic Roses Group Journal' and the third in the July issue of 'Gardens Illustrated' all of which I enjoy reading myself. I would like to thank the editors of these three publications for recognising that the theory behind the pratice is worthy of promotion and for including The Rosarian Library among their pages..

An organisation promoting the rose across the UK.

I hope that many rose enthusiasts enjoyed the articles and appreciate the great diversity of subject matter that can be contained in the books about one particular flower. I know most rose enthusiasts prefer growing roses rather than reading about them but I do think that many of the books that have been published in the UK since that very first one in 1799 can enhance our love and appreciation of The Rose.

My great love is for the 19th century rose books which I still find inspirational and informative today. In my research into 19th century rose literature including not just books but catalogues, periodicals, articles and pamphlets I am pleased to discover that other like minded people have gone before me and have left behind articles about rose literature that are useful for my own research. I hope that I can build on these by gathering further information that will be useful to the researchers of the future.

Articles which I have found useful include:

Arthur William Paul 'The Literature of The Rose' The Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society (1913-1914) Vol.39.

Mrs H.R. Darlington 'Rose Literature of the Past Fifty Years' The Rose Annual of the National Rose Society 1926 (pp. 79 - 101).

Theo Mayer 'Victorian Rose Literature' The rose Annual of The Royal National Rose Society 1970 (pp. 139 - 170).

The journal of The Historic Roses Group, an organisation promoting timeless roses.

Then, of course, there are those dedicated individuals who have collated all books and articles into Bibliographies. These are incredibly useful when researching book titles, authors, publishers, dates etc as much of the tedious work has been done for you. A concern is that the most recently published bibliography of Rose Books, that I know of, only collates books written before 1984. I hope there is an entreprising person who is taking on the challenge for the last 30 years and as we go forward.

The work of the library flourishes and the books increase in number. Books dedicated solely to the rose are the main focus but the gardening books with some rose information and those discussing garden history I find difficult to ignore, especially the older ones. My research about 19th century rose literature is slowly coming together but still has a fair way to go. I am always pleased to put my personal research aside for various projects that come in. Other peoples research seems so much more interesting than mine. Perhaps because I usually know little about the subject and have to use the Rosarian Library literature to find out, which is 'the object of the exercise', of course.

One of the nations favourite Gardening Magazines.

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, May 29 2018 02:47PM

Not far from where I live, in a little market town, there is a shop/gallery for sale with plenty of living accommodation and a garden too. Regardless of financial issues am I courageous enough and do I have sufficient energy to open a long dreamed about museum?

A painting of Jules Gravereaux which was hung in his museum.

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Mar 26 2018 10:57AM

Two dilemmas have been niggling at me and I possibly have two apologies to make. The first to John Harkness (1857-1933) for omitting his work from my review of C19th Rose Literature and the second to Miss Mary Lawrance/Lawrence (Died 1831) for the misspelling of her name in my review and other research I have done.

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Jan 20 2018 04:52PM

I have had printed recently an article entitled 'Nineteenth Century British Rose Literature; a brief discourse on the 19th century literature, written in Britain, that is dedicated solely to the Rose.'

This is the first of a series of articles exploring the nature of 19th century Rose Literature. Further articles will include, through a study of the literature, The Growth in the Popularity of Roses, the Development of Rose Varieties and their method of Cultivation, the Rosarians and American and European Rose Literature.

Article Cover

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Jan 3 2018 03:51PM

'The Most Comprehensive Rose Library in the World'. I wonder whether this would still be true today. This description by the Royal National Rose Society (RNRS) of their library was written regularly in their publications. This library has now been incorporated into The Rosarian Library so I am wondering whether we can still boast the world ranking. I have no reason to believe that the RNRS library lost some of its books; it is more a matter of whether other libraries have overtaken The Rosarian Library in the number and range of texts.

Annuals (1907 - 1984?) produced by the society came in a range of colours over the years.

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Sep 21 2017 01:54PM

Of the thirty-one books dedicated solely to the Rose written in Britain during the C19th the most popular, undoubtedly, was 'A Book about Roses' by the clergyman Samuel Reynolds Hole. Written in 1869 it has since had a miraculous history of new editions, impressions and reprints. Between 1869 and 1894 there were fourteen editions, some only a matter of months apart. In 'The Letters of Dean Hole' (1907 P. 141) we learn that " . . .the eleventh edition of my little Book was sold in 6 months - 3000 copies."

'A Book about Roses' First Edition 1869. (Note the green cloth and gold rose)

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Jul 18 2017 09:57AM

Is this the total number of book titles, solely about roses and printed in the English language that are sitting on our library shelves waiting to be read? I am sure there are one or two still in hiding but hopefully the majority are now discovered. (I said this a month or so ago when I listed 760 but they keep appearing when least expected!) This list does not include the many editions of the same book nor does it include all the annual publications by the various rose societies. I have included only one each of these with the date range of publication.

One of the oldest 'The Rose Amateurs's Guide' (1840) Thomas Rivers and one of the newest books in the library.

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Jun 6 2017 11:20AM

I am reminded of this incredible Victorian artist (1836-1904) every day as Fantin Latour, the rose is blooming beautifully in my garden now at the beginning of June. I planted this old Centifolia rose not only because all the Centifolias are stunning and fragrant but because I so admire the artist and his paintings of roses. I do not know who named the rose but it is a fitting tribute to this great man.

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Apr 4 2017 01:19PM

I have bought a couple of things on line recently that haven't quite materialised into what I thought they were going to be! The first was miniature roses which I will tell you about in another blog - I am beginning to think the term 'miniature rose' is an oxymoron!

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Mar 14 2017 03:06PM

My rosy fabric collection continues to grow even though the sewing seems to have declined! I still occasionally find a length of fabric that is irresistible and often it will prove to be from the Sanderson range. How many rose fabrics they have printed since their birth in 1860 I have no idea but I intend to find out.

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Welcome to my blog


Welcome to my world of roses. How fortunate I am to be surrounded by the queen of flowers!


Over the years I have collected many ‘rosy’ souvenirs and am now surrounded by rosy pictures, china, fabrics and my beautiful books.


I hope you will wish to follow me on a rosy journey and contribute with your thoughts and ideas. I enjoy growing roses but I also appreciate the smell of a real rose potpourri, the glimpse of a painting of roses, the discovery of a different rose cup and saucer or piece of fabric or to see a wild rose nestling in the hedgerow.


I will share with you my rose stories and will endeavour to answer any queries you may have regarding this amazing flower.

Until then. . . .. . . .