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Empress of the Garden

Growing roses as landscape plants in Southern gardens for 30 years has given me more insight into their value–and magic–than I could have imagined…Unlike the stereotypical modern princesses bred for floral perfection, old garden roses have engaging personalities that belong to no other plants. They can enhance the garden in many ways, posing as party girls spinning on a dance floor or playing the voluptuous drama queens as they flirt from arbors.”—G. Michael Shoup

Gardens never stop teaching their gardeners, and G. Michael Shoup—a key figure in the renaissance of old rose varieties–shares 30 years of practical and poetics wisdom in this book. At his Antique Rose Emporium display garden in Independence, Texas—designated a Hall of Fame Garden by the Great Rosarians of the World–Shoup has become intimately acquainted with the growth habits and personalities of hundreds of old garden roses.

He gathers them here in a most useful manner—divided not strictly by formal classes but by the nuanced nature of their usefulness as landscape plants. Shoup knows that merely describing a plant as a “climber” doesn’t give gardeners nearly the information they need to enjoy the wonders of the old rose universe.

His first book, Roses in the Southern Garden, separated vigorous from mannerly climbers and large shrubs from small ones; but with this update he takes readers deeper into the realm of these empresses, exploring their character traits in ways that give new meaning to the idea of gardening as a therapeutic activity.

The sumptuous photographs of Empress of the Garden will inspire those who garden for romance. Novices and seasoned rosarians will also appreciate Shoup’s advice on the many aspects of growing roses. And anyone who has wielded pruning shears or who aspires to create a where roses reign will find his stories appealing.

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2 comments to Empress of the Garden

  • Clifford Orent

    Surprisingly refreshing! Just when you think that you have enough rose books full of glossy photos collecting dust on your coffee table or bookshelf, along comes surprisingly refreshing Empress of the Garden by Mike Shoup, owner of Antique Rose Emporium, whose mail order roses are among the best available.The book is divided into two main sections, The Elegant Climbers and The Versatile Shrubs, and these in turn are broken into somewhat unusual and whimsical (though abundantly logical) groupings, such as Regal Showoffs, Mannerly Princesses and Petulant Divas, to name just a few.Empress of the Garden contains terrific photographs (also mainly by Mike Shoup) and plenty of food for thought on how best to showcase various roses. It’s a book that has much to offer both the seasoned rose grower as well as those just starting to venture into the wonderful world of roses. And adding to its impressive credentials, it appears that this book has been self-published by Antique Rose Emporium. So even if you have more than your fair share of rose books, Empress of the Garden is definitely worth your consideration.

  • Hana Studer

    A gorgeous and accessible rose book This book makes me want to immediately start growing roses. Most other rose books read a like a reference or an encyclopedia, while this book personifies the roses and makes them accessible. The author describes each rose by their character essence, putting them into categories like “Drama Queens”, “Tenacious Tomboys”, and “Big-Hearted Homebodies”. The pictures in this book are absolutely gorgeous and it is worth every penny as a coffee table book, while at the same time it is quite inspiring as a practical gardening book. I can’t wait to start digging!

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