The Rosarian Library

A collection of books and other resources

dedicated to the rose


By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Jun 9 2019 10:50AM

I didn't know what it meant until I added to the library postcard collection after a recent visit to a local antique shop and then decided to write this article. Deltiology, the study and collection of postcards. According to Wikipedia the world's third most popular hobby. Can you guess the first two? (Clue - they involve small items!) I didn't regard myself as a collector until I realised two albums full of small but beautiful rose art, mostly picked up inexpensively at antique fairs or in antique shops, probably meant just that. As with the rose books and paintings I can't help myself when I see a rose work of art.

A few of the postcards in the library - mostly paintings which are sadly not signed by the artist.

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Apr 25 2019 01:47PM

Perhaps it is not surprising that many books about roses have been written by the nurserymen who cultivate roses for their livelihood. They are the people who have the knowledge to share with others. Can you imagine though what it must have been like in the 19th century drafting a book by hand? I find it difficult to imagine how these authors, and in some cases artists, were able to find the time and the inspiration to draft a knowledgeable tome, especially after they had been out in the elements all day propagating roses. In this beautiful book 'Beauties of the Rose' Henry Curtis, as well as writing the text, drew all the illustrations on stone so that they could be lithographed for this book, which has two volumes and thirty-eight hand coloured lithographic plates.

The Frontispiece from 'Beauties of the Rose' by Henry Curtis.

The library has two copies of 'Beauties of the Rose', in different bindings but whichever you saw you would know instinctively that within there were exciting treasures. Whether you chose the green and gold elegant binding with gold page edging or the plain green binding with marbled edging you would not be disappointed. The two books in the library are similar inside; a page of text followed by a tissue covered illustration. Comparable in format to the great works 'Roses or a Monograph of the Genus Rosa' (1805) by Henry C. Andrews and 'Rosarium Monographia' (1820) by John Lindley. Fortunately the text and illustrations have been protected well by the substantial bindings and the platesremain vibrant and clear.

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Mar 25 2019 10:50AM

As each and every rose book in the Rosarian Library is about roses you could be forgiven for thinking that one book is very much like another. A closer glance at the books, however, reveals that they are as different as the roses that grow in a rose garden.

A rose book with a unique cover illustrating a rose garden.

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Feb 7 2019 02:17PM

At last my books and I have a new home! When I wrote my last blog/article in August last year I did not realise it would be six months before my next. It is great to be back 'at the drawing board' so to speak.

Part of the new library (note the rose tiles on the fireplace!).

The move fromone house and county to another has been a logistical challenge but one that seems to be working out well. At least the books do not seem to have suffered from a month or two of storage and during their sojourn they acquired one or two other companions as a result of their owner suffering from withdrawal symptoms!

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Aug 17 2018 12:36PM

Edme-Henry Jacotot could not have been more proud when the Societe d'Horticulture de la Cote d'Or proclaimed that the strong and beautiful Tea Rose that he had created had captured their exhibition's top prize. The large translucent blooms of rose, salmon and yellow mesmerized the eyes of the jury and the scent in the air thrilled their noses with a unique and powerful fragrance. There was no question that this new rose would be named 'Gloire de Dijon' in honour of the town where it was born.

'Gloire de Dijon' taken from 'The Amateur Gardener's ROSE BOOK' Hoffmann J. (1905)

The year was 1853 when this little known nurseryman from the rose growing area of Dijon in Burgundy, France ventured forth to exhibit the very first rose that he had bred himself. He did not know for sure who its parents were. He was pretty certain that the pollen came from a Bourbon Rose 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' but he only thought the receiving parent was 'Desprez a Fleur Jaune', a Noisette Rose, which gave his glorious new rose the characteristics of the climbing Noisettes. Although it was a climbing Tea Rose it would often be classified as a Noisette.

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.

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.

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. . . .. . . .

newimage1 Click for full index of articles