Few flowers have quite the same allure or as significant a place in history as the rose. A symbol of love, power, royalty, beauty, and joy, the rose has played many roles, both literal and symbolic, in poetry, art, literature, music, fashion, medicine, perfume, decoration, cuisine, and more.
In this beautifully illustrated guide, award-winning horticulturist Peter E. Kukielski and his coauthor, Charles Phillips, tell the fascinating and many-layered history of this "queen of flowers". The book explores many stories from the long association of roses with human societies, from their first cultivation – likely in China some five thousand years ago – to their modern genetic cultivars. It shows how roses have been prominent across time and many cultures, including ancient Greece and Rome, Christianity, Islam, and Sufism.
The book, with more than 140 colour illustrations, offers a unique look at the essential contributions that roses have made throughout human history.
Peter E. Kukielski is an acclaimed horticulturalist who was curator of the award-winning Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden from 2006 to 2014. He lives in Portland, ME. Charles Phillips is a writer and editor with more than 30 years’ experience. He lives in London, England.
"The social, cultural and horticultural history of the rose is entertainingly and thoughtfully displayed."
– Garden News
"I would recommend Rosa as a gift for anyone who loves flowers, although once purchased you would find it hard to pass on!"
– Judith Blacklock, Flora Magazine
"From noted rosarian Peter Kukielski comes this unique and handsome book that traces the many ways that roses have captured human imagination throughout the history of civilization [...] More than a litany of facts and figures, the book builds a compelling narrative through the ages that it investigates, making for an enjoyable education [...] He concludes the book with a look to the present and future of the rose. How does the rose fit among changing climates, garden desires, and tastes? He outlines the current breeding and trialing efforts that are securing this storied flower's place, making it a story with a happy, hopeful ending."
– Meghan Shinn, Horticulture
"Rosa: The Story of the Rose (with its 140 beautiful illustrations), by Peter E. Kukielski, is a gem. I love roses, and Kukielski has given me an even greater understanding of their history and beauty."
– Pat Leuchtman, Commonweeder.com
"Kukielski is the horticulturalist who famously curated the award-winning Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden from 2006 to 2014. He is the summa cum laude of this queen of the flowers and its deep history and lore. And this book – heavy to hold in your lap, with its thick, rich pages, gorgeously produced by Yale University Press – is a coffee-table keeper."
– Beth Py-Lieberman, Washington Gardener
"An inspiring, beautifully illustrated book."
– Triangle Gardener
– Tom Atwell, Portland Press Herald
"Rosa would be an outstanding gift all by itself – graced with more than 140 color illustrations (historical and recent) and richly packed with rose lore of every kind."
– William Scheick, Texas Gardener's Seeds
"This beautifully illustrated guide tells the fascinating and many-layered stories of the 'queen of flowers.'"
– DJ Carey, Connecticut Cottages and Gardens
"The authors present the most comprehensive exploration of the evolution, development, impact and importance of roses from antiquity to present times that I have ever found."
– Gaye Hammond, Past President of the Houston Rose Society
"Rosa emphasizes the wonder of the rose by tracing the many ways it has shaped cultures around the world. It is wonderfully and richly illustrated."
– Michael Marriott, senior rosarian at David Austin Roses, and rose garden designer
"Rich in fascinating cultural history, Rosa takes us on a joyous visual romp through the stories and symbolism of the most iconic of all garden flowers."
– Peter Crane, author of Ginkgo: The Tree that Time Forgot