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

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

by Aurelia C. Scott
 

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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

Overview

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 them this is a blood sport. They grow tender roses in the frigid North and disease prone roses in the humid South simply for the challenge. They decorate otherwise lovely yards with paper bags and panty hose to isolate their choice specimens. They traipse through overgrown fields in the worst weather to save antique roses from extinction.

Aurelia Scott trails these self-professed Roseaholics as they plan, prepare, and compete, battling high winds, Japanese beetles, and the finicky demands of their precious charges. With all the appeal of Word Freak, Otherwise Normal People celebrates the singular satisfaction of cultivating beauty—and, of course, the thrill of victory.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"With a breezy, infectious enthusiasm Scott offers a vividly engaging account of big-time rose competition and the seemingly average people who take leave of their senses in this addictively sensory pursuit." —Booklist
Houston Chronicle
"This fun read . . . offers the rose lover's equivalent of the film Best in Show. . . . [Scott] observes this fascinating subculture lovingly. . . . You don't have to aspire to showing the world's best-ever 'Peace' to enjoy the ride, and Scott manages to sprinkle plenty of fascinating rose history into her brew."
Houston Chronicle
The Washington Post
"Scott leads readers through the slow, diabolical transition that takes 'otherwise normal people' from hobbyist to serious grower, putting rose-mania in perspective for the rosarian and the amateur. She has a light, humorous style. . . .You will never look at a rose the same way again."
Washington Post
Boston Globe
"Has done for rose growers what the mockumentary 'Best in Show' did for dog shows and 'The Orchid Thief' did for orchid collectors. . . . [Scott] explores a subculture that is as entertaining as it is obsessive."—Boston Globe
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Her book will amaze and entertain. . . . If you enjoy the deeply focused but friendly nature of gardeners, you'll savor every page of this true story of passion and obsession."—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Rocky Mountain News
"The rose gardener's answer to our recent intrigue with dog-show people, spelling-bee aficionados, bird-watchers and any other over-the-top hobbyist who, when viewed closely, demonstrates how human nature can hang its hat on one topic ferociously so."—Rocky Mountain News
Seattle Times
"A testament to the sheer nuttiness of what happens when you cross unchecked human ambition with nature."—Seattle Times
From the Publisher
"A testament to the sheer nuttiness of what happens when you cross unchecked human ambition with nature."—Seattle Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616206147
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
05/18/2007
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
864,746
Product dimensions:
5.64(w) x 8.78(h) x 1.02(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Aurelia C. Scott has nurtured a wonderful bloom: a rose book for rosarians and people who can't tell a bourbon from a tea. Reading this delightful, fun story of obsession made me look anew at our backyard and ask, Where's my gardening shovel."—Mark Obmascik, author of The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession

"Q-tips, cotton balls, and hazmat suits: welcome to the world of competitive rose gardening. Aurelia Scott's engaging journey into the underbelly of rose exhibitions will leave you wondering, are those hobbyists bloomin' nuts, or simply having more fun than the rest of us?"—William Alexander, author of The $64 Tomato

"What lengths we go to in our lives for plants! Not just rose nuts, but gardeners everywhere will love this book. I found myself laughing out loud and nodding with sage understanding—sometimes at the same time."—Bailey White, NPR commentator and author of Mama Makes Up Her Mind and Sleeping at the Starlite Motel.

Meet the Author

Aurelia C. Scott lives in Portland, Maine, where she grows roses and other flowering plants. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Fine Gardening, Cottage Living, and Yankee, among other publications.

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