General InterestPublications

Mystery Roses Around the World

Mystery Roses Virginia Keane

Author(s): Editor Virginia Keane
Publisher: A special edition of Rosa Mundi. Heritage Rose Foundation, Richardson, Texas, 2011
ISBN: 9780983385103

Paperback, 122pp. US $39 including postage (or US $50 for a year's subscription which includes the book; $40 students & seniors).

“We share a common love of old roses. It is a link that joins us in friendship and in a mutual curiosity about the past. How these roses – living works of art – came to life, how they travelled around the globe, how they gave solace to the pioneers who stumbled into strange lands, how they marked the stones of unforgotten souls, and how they survived to puzzle us with their silent beauty – these enigmas draw us together … to tell stories we will not forget.”

It was five years ago that these words by Gregg Lowery were printed in our Journal (28:4,3) and his words would make a very apt prelude to Mystery Roses Around the World, for Mystery Roses is an inspiring collection of stories about the love, curiosity, quests and puzzles of old roses.

This book takes the reader on a journey around the globe from China to India, Africa, Europe, Bermuda, America and Australia, with remarkable stories of rose hunting and collecting, conserving and sharing. Along the way we are treated to a glimpse of the passion of ‘rose sleuths’ and their special interests, their discoveries and accomplishments.

The varied writings from an impressive gallery of contributors have been brought together by Editor, Virginia Kean, with many deft and delightful transitions between ideas, people and places and the rose sleuths and those who influence and inspire them; but it is always the enigmatic roses that are at the heart of this book, linking all together. It is beautifully illustrated with photographs, line drawings and old colour plates, printed on acid-free paper and has an excellent index.

In her acknowledgments, Virgina Kean wrote, “May this book inspire others to go in search of heritage roses, so that they may be more widely known and grown” and I feel certain her hopes will be realised. Mystery Roses is a fascinating and important book.

Billy West
Perth, July 2011