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Otherwise Normal People: Inside the Thorny World of Competitive Rose Gardening
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Otherwise Normal People: Inside the Thorny World of Competitive Rose Gardening

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  59 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Twice a year America's rose lovers cut the prettiest blossoms off their best plants and travel to the national rose show, where they lovingly groom their precious blooms for hours in a frigid hall in order to contend for the highest honor: the Queen of Show. Doctors. Teachers. Sheet metal mechanics. Lawyers. Truck drivers. Men and women. These are type A gardeners, and for ...more
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published May 18th 2007 by Algonquin Books
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Petra X
May 05, 2015 Petra X rated it really liked it
My grandfather used to grow roses, not competitively, but because he liked them. I grew up knowing the names of hundreds of them and lived in an area where there were many sorts of wild briar roses rambling over trees and covering brambles with summer blossoms and in autumn with tart red hips. And that gave me the interest to read this book.

This is a quirky book essentially about a small group of mostly retired gentlemen with a couple of ladies who grow roses competitively. Their interest is at
Darshan Elena
Jun 07, 2008 Darshan Elena rated it liked it
Recommends it for: gardeners, collectors
I admit that I am obsessed with gardening at the moment... What was once a simple collection of herbs and a patch of largely neglected succulents has become a magnet for attention. Bourgeois. Indulgent. But organic!

This book introduced me to a world I barely gleaned from the outside. It reminded me of the joy that I feel when visiting the Oakland Rose Garden or when recalling the scent of the rose bushes outside the moldy shack I lived in as a child. It made me recall my mother's once loved per
Jun 07, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011
Aurelia Scott brings to life the enchanting world of competitive rose gardening through her portrayal of those who have fully committed themselves to following their passion. Scott traveled from the northeast to the south west in the months leading up to the ARS Spring National Rose Show in San Diego, CA to learn what it takes to grow roses competitively and get to the essence of the obsession. The journey is filled with ingenuity, hope, hard work and poetry.

As a person with a passing appreciati
Lynne Pfeiffer
Sep 29, 2015 Lynne Pfeiffer rated it it was amazing
Excellently written. I do not like roses, especially the varieties shown or sold by florists. However, this well-written book about competitive rose gardening and exhibiting was enthralling. I could hardly put it down. Now that's good writing! Eventually the author talks about OGRs or Old Garden Roses. I became interested in them and now look at the bushes in my neighborhood with more interest. OGRs are historical roses, not particularly groomed when shown, and acquired by taking cuttings when f ...more
Mar 30, 2011 Mamagrids rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mamagrids by: Irene
I learned a lot from this book. One of the things I learned is that, if the daylily people I hang out with seem a little crazy, rose people take craziness to a whole new level! But, to be fair, the book does focus on "competitive rose gardening". I assume there are rose growers who are a tad less obsessive about their hobby than those featured in the book.
Dec 05, 2007 Melody rated it liked it
A peek into the rarefied world of the rose show exhibitor. Fun, interesting, and guaranteed to make you seem ordinary by comparison.
Jul 15, 2007 Brittany rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People going to a botanical or rose garden
Shelves: nonfiction
This was an enlightening look into the world of rose growers, a world I hadn't even bothered to imagine exist. It's a fascinating topic, and could be made into an intriguing, colorful book. Unfortunately, this one isn't it. It's competently written, but doesn't delve into the characters as I would have liked to do. Also I got really tired of all the descriptions of everyone's clothes. Unless it's something remarkable, I don't need to be told what color cardigan everyone was wearing. But the book ...more
I'm not sure why but I love stories about people with obsessive interests, The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession being a good example. This book was an interesting look at the world of competitive rose gardening. I am in no way a gardener, I can't even keep a house plant alive, but I enjoyed this glimpse into a world that exists on a parallel plane of existence to mine.
May 26, 2008 Steph rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: gardeners or rose enthusiasts
Shelves: postcollege, 2008
It was interesting to be introduced to a world I had no idea existed. I think this would be better as a filmed documentary rather than a book because it would be easier to keep track of the characters and the vast number of roses described. It got a bit tedious as over half the book is about different rosarians and all the ways they are obsessive about roses. It also felt anti-climactic as the rose show didn't seem very exciting. Maybe if I knew anything about gardening or roses beforehand I wou ...more
Daniella Brodsky
more research for my some great day-to-day about the life of a gardening enthusiast, roses especially, and it's very easy to digest, unlike some of the botany books I've been crawling through...any gardening book recommendations?
Mar 11, 2011 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
loved it!! its amazing what people will do with something they are passionate about. i cannot grow roes anymore as they are known as 'deer candy' where we live but i am going to get a small rose bush for my deck.
Jun 13, 2009 Joyce rated it it was ok
Interesting but not in the mood...each chapter is a wonderful short story, could have been hysterical. But it would translate really well as a mockumentary. Just not for me for tonight.
Dec 21, 2012 Elena rated it really liked it
This book is just fun! I love how the author reports about real people in the rose growing world.
Aug 04, 2009 Marla rated it liked it
Shelves: reference
Very entertaining. Would make a great gift for all the gardeners on your holiday shopping list.
Mark Williams
Sep 01, 2012 Mark Williams rated it it was amazing
If you are a gardener, this book will be a treasure in your library. Funny, funny.
May 21, 2013 Lumindanu rated it liked it
It was interesting. Not a page turner. Will likely give it away.
Jo (Bloomin'Chick)
very entertaining and full of great info!!!
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Aurelia C. Scott lives in Portland, Maine with her husband and a Cape Cod Weeder. She moved to Maine in 1997 from Taos, NM, where she helped start a children’s garden and found a Habitat for Humanity project.

Her first non-fiction book, Otherwise Normal People: Inside the Thorny World of Competitive Rose Gardening won the Garden Writers Association Gold Award for Best Book Writing. She has also wo
More about Aurelia C. Scott...

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