Book Review Heading


Rosa Gallica

By Suzanne Verrier
Published by
Florigium, Australia, 1995

Reviewed by Anna Prussing

Following on from Suzanne Verrier's earlier study of Rugosa roses, this second volume presents an exhaustive study of the Gallica family. The author's passion for these old treasures is implicit throughout, and the lyrical descriptions of colour, scent, shape, and form in this genus leaves the reader reaching for an old rose catalogue to order more gallicas, or to begin a collection.

Gardeners facing the 21'st century with the likely curtailment of home spray programmes and water supplies will be heartened to read Suzanne's knowledgeable work on the adaptability and survival qualities of these fragile looking beauties. She writes 'the stalwart Gallicas are genuinely healthy, disease free, hardy and accommodating plants, well suited for organic methods'. Unlike more modern rose types, they don't demand perfect soil, and will tolerate drought and even bloom in fairly shady spots.

Rosa Gallica includes a history of this rose, clear guides to cultivation, pruning and companion planting, covering over 200 gallicas known to be in cultivation.

These smaller growing roses are ideal for the smaller garden, and Suzanne's suggestions for combination with clematis and other vines to extend their season are intriguing.

To quote William Grant's foreword 'In the years to come, this book will be listed as an essential source of information about the gallicas... there is no doubt in my mind that this is the definitive work on this lovely rose and its descendants'.

Rosa Gallica is a must-have book for the lover of old roses, and the garden book reader with an interest in garden history.

New Zealand Garden Journal: Journal of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture 1996 1(3): 32

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