Once upon a time-before the 1860s-people loved old roses like "Pearl of Gold," "Marchionesse of Lorne," or "Autumn Damask." Then along came the hybrid tea roses, which were easier to arrange, more dramatic, and longer-blooming, and the old roses were all but forgotten. Now the lovely, subtle-hued, richly perfumed old roses are making a comeback, thanks to the efforts of a stubborn band of eccentric characters who rescued them from back alleys, ramshackle cottages, and overgrown graveyards across the country. Thomas Christopher tells us the fascinating stories of the old roses-how they were created and made their way to America-and the unforgettable people who "rustle" them from abandoned lots and secret gardens today, revelling in the mystery of an "unknown yellow."
Thomas Christopher is a frequent contributor to "Horticulture" magazine and the "New York Times." He is the author or coauthor of a number of books, most recently "East Roses for North American Gardens" and" Annuals with Style: Design Ideas from Classic to Cutting Edge." He gardens in New York and Texas.