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Old-fashioned and David Austin RosesBOOK REVIEWS

Old-fashioned and
David Austin Roses

Barbara Lea Taylor
Photos by Juliet Nicholas
Published by David Bateman

CANTERBURY garden writer Barbara Lea Taylor's enthusiasm for old-fashioned and David Austin roses has already led to three books. Her latest offering is a readable, affordable introduction to choosing and growing these types of roses.

Historical snippets and anecdotes leaven the book's description and practical advice.

Once- and repeat-flowering old-fashioned roses are dealt with first. David Austins are also covered thoroughly — more than 50 English roses are described. As the author explains, hundreds more are available, despite many being chopped from Austin's catalogue in the quest for quality.

The chapter on cultivation has no-nonsense tips such as: "Be wary of small plants in small pots. Look for strong growth rather than flowers." There are also simple illustrations on how to plant container-grown and bare-rooted roses, planting cuttings, what type of cut to make when pruning and so on.

Pests and diseases get obligatory coverage, too. ("Unless you have special dispensation from God, most of your roses will get black spot and some of them will get mildew.") That the predatory Japanese beetle is listed here shouldn't ring alarm bells. This listing (and the spelling) tags the book as destined for the US market as well as our own.

Lea Taylor is an entertaining and passionate advocate. "Roses are easy to grow," she asserts. "Like most living things they need food, water sun and shelter. A measure of love is always advantageous."

Weekend Gardener, Issue 147, 2004, Page 22

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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