Taylor's Guide to Roses
Taylor's Guide to Roses (Houghton Mifflin, 2002; $23) is one of my favorite reference books. It contains an encyclopedia entry for hundreds of rose varieties, including species roses, old garden roses, shrubs, hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, miniatures, and climbers. The pest and disease chart is helpful, and the book is inspiring to read, whether you want a single carefree bush or maintain a whole garden of perfect roses.
Favorite or New Plant
Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) has it all: beautiful flowers; graceful, finely cut foliage; and showy seedpods. The flowers resemble cornflowers floating within a lacy mist of green feathery leaves.
Love-in-a-mist doesn't require highly fertile soil but appreciates evenly moist ground. It blooms for only three to four weeks in midsummer in my garden, but I extend its season by leaving behind some of the seedpods. I find the pods look attractive for several weeks, and when they open, they scatter seeds to produce next year's crop.
'Miss Jekyll' is a variety I really love. Its flowers open a pale sky-blue, then change to progressively deeper shades of blue, finally turning a rich indigo. Also tops on my list are 'Persian jewels', an elegant blend of mauve, lavender, blue, pink, white and purple; and 'Mulberry Rose', which blooms in shades of deep green and produces maroon-striped seedpods.
Not only attractive in the garden, love-in-a-mist blossoms, foliage, and dried pods add an airy delicacy to flower arrangements.