The names of roses intrigue me. Some are obviously descriptive, like Fourth of July, which does remind me of fireworks shooting out (above and below):
Many, though, are named after people. If the people are famous, there's no mystery. Most of us have probably heard of Queen Elizabeth, and her rose is tough but feminine and very vigorous even in old age:
But who was Pierre de Ronsard? Was he rotund and complex like his namesake?
And is Zephyrine Drouhin the name of a person at all? If so, was she pretty and carefree, if occasionally a bit droopy?
I have one rose to whom I have never been properly introduced, and it worries me. He may be Abraham Lincoln; he is apprpriately tall and upright, but I'd like to know for certain.
Luckily, Australian author Roger Mann has come to the rescue, just in time for my Christmas wish list, with his book "Naming the Rose". Random House promises that I will "discover the individuals who gave their names to some of the world’s most cherished roses in this radiant book." It sounds like just the thing to read in the shade on a hot, sleepy Christmas afternoon.
And maybe I'll find out if Mr Lincoln is living in my garden after all.