Libby's Reviews > A Rose By Any Name

A Rose By Any Name by Douglas Brenner
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's review
Jun 10, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: gardening

This is a fun little book that would appeal to several types of reader. Gardeners, especially rose freaks like me, will enjoy it. Name lovers and wordplay mavens will love it. Cultural historians will find it of interest. This book is brimful of neat factoids about roses, the celebrities who have loved them and grown them, the nurserymen who live and die by creating new blooms and the processes by which roses are named.

In the Book of Genesis, God has Adam name all the plants and animals. Adam must have been a rock-brakin' wonder at naming, because there are approximately fifteen thousand varieties of roses alone. Ya gotta love some of the wonderful names in this book. Where did they come up with "Tipsy Imperial Concubine" and "Cuisse de Nymphe Emue"? (Thigh of aroused nymph) Some people obviously have too much leisure time! Many roses have more than one name, for example, in prissy old English-speaking countries, Cuisse de Nymphe is "Maiden's Blush" and a lovely rose she is. Roses have been named for famous people, like "Helen Keller" and "Madame Curie"; famous places such as "Souvenir de Malmaison" and "Gloire de France"; food and drink as in "Cherry Cola" and "Orange Marmalade" and even cars like "Chrysler Imperial". Roses have named for Gods, like "Hebe's Lip" or "Zeus"; mere heroes, such as "Jeanne d'Arc" and "Audie Murphy" and the families of rose growers, such as "Papa Meilland" and "Frau Karl Drutchski". They have been named for cultural phenomena such as "Radio" and the ever popular and beautiful "Peace". These names encompass all of history and culture, they ring with old stories, customs and love. This book was light-hearted fun, but the author sneaked around and educated me while I wasn't lookin'---Hey! No fair!

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