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RHS Roses book cover

RHS Roses: An Inspirational Guide by Michael Marriott – book review

Roses are versatile shrubs and Michael Marriott’s brilliant practical guide demonstrates how to use them to their best effect. Reviewer Matthew Reese is head gardener at Malverleys.

Our review

A book for professional and amateur gardeners, an inspirational and accessible guide for growing roses in the garden.

Dorling Kindersley, £24.99 ISBN 978-0241543894


Michael Marriott, one of the world’s leading rosarians and for 35 years an integral part of David Austin Roses, has produced a sound and very practical guide for gardeners in this book. It’s a far cry from the more traditional rose encyclopaedias where roses are catalogued according to their parentage or classification – a fine method for the rosarian, but not always the most convenient approach for the gardener. Here instead we have an easy-to-follow introduction to roses with comprehensive information on how they might best be used in the garden.

The book is divided up into five main chapters, with each chapter divided again into smaller, bite-sized subchapters. The introductory chapter briefly outlines the history of the rose and discusses scent. The next chapter, titled ‘Rose inspiration’, advises on how to use the plants, be it in a rose garden, mixed border or even as a hedge. Under the heading ‘Growing up and over’ there are individual paragraphs on walls, arches, pergolas, obelisks and trees that describe in detail many good ideas on how roses might be used to adorn these structures. There are chapters on rose types and also cultivation, but it is the penultimate chapter called the ‘Rose selector’ that will appeal to many.

Here roses are profiled as to how they might be used in the garden with interesting descriptions and photographs. Among the potential growing situations included in this section are roses for the front of the border, containers, tight spaces and wild areas, and those that are ideal for cutting.

This is the sort of practical information that gardeners want, and RHS Roses has it in spades. It’s beautifully illustrated throughout, well presented, and is written in an easy-to-follow style.

I would recommend this book to both professional and amateur gardeners, as it is an inspirational and accessible guide for growing roses in the garden.


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