Otherwise Normal People

Inside the Thorny World of Competitive Rose Gardening

By Aurelia C. Scott
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Paperback, 9781565124646, 232pp.)

Publication Date: May 2007

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Twice a year tens of thousands of otherwise normal people cut the prettiest blooms off their best roses and head into battle at the National Rose Show. Their goal? To win Queen of Show.
Doctors. Teachers. Sheet metal mechanics. Lawyers. Truck drivers. Men and women. These are type A gardeners, and for them this is a blood sport.
In "Otherwise Normal People", Aurelia C. Scott follows the self-professed Roseaholics as they plan, prepare, and compete, battling high winds, Japanese beetles, and the finicky demands of their precious charges. Along the way we meet a former race-car driver who plans years in advance for each show; a forensic chemist whose collection of hybrid teas and miniatures tops out at nearly one thousand; a genteel woman who traipses through abandoned lots rescuing antique varieties; a doctor who woos his wife with his horticultural obsession and prowess; and presiding over them all, the ingenious Clarence Rhodes, creator of the world's most amazing garden contraptions.

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