By Jennifer Potter
(Atlantic Books, Hardcover, 9781848878341, 560pp.)
Publication Date: May 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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For fans of Anna Pavord's The Tulip and Andrea Wulf's The Brothers Gardener, a vividly written and lavishly illustrated history of the Queen of Flowers Ever since Sappho planted roses at the shrine of Aphrodite, no flower has captured the imagination in quite the same way. Here, the acclaimed horticultural historian Jennifer Potter sets out on a quest to uncover the life of a flower that has been viewed so hetrogenously by different cultures in different countries across the centuries. Beginning her story in the Greek and Roman empires, she travels across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas to unravel its evolution from a simple briar of the northern hemisphere to the height of cultivated perfection found in rose gardens today. Whether laying bare the flower's long association with sexuality and secret societies, questioning the Crusaders' role in bringing roses back from the Holy Land, or hunting for its elusive blooms in the gardens of the Empress Josephine at Malmaison, Jennifer Potter reveals why this flower, above all others, has provoked such fascination.
Jennifer Potter is the author of Secret Gardens, Lost Gardens and Strange Blooms: The Curious Lives and Adventures of the John Tradescants. She reviews regularly for the Times Literary Supplement.