Author Nita-Jo Rountree’s love affair with roses began long before she moved from Georgia to the Pacific Northwest 15 years ago. A passionate gardener and dedicated educator, her book opens where she had to begin—with thorough look at the eccentricities of the region’s climate with wet winters, dry summers, and relatively moderate temperatures year round. Oh, and lots of cloudy days.
Once readers are grounded in climatic reality, in a warm voice brimming with enthusiasm, Nita-Jo covers basic rose anatomy, care and cultivation, and touches on a variety of approaches to designing with roses. Her troubleshooting section doesn’t pull many punches, but rather than providing a daunting regime of controls, Nita-Jo abides by a no-spray approach and heartily recommends promoting healthy plants and selecting roses that have proven successful in the region.
The rest of the book, and the real heart of this valuable resource, profiles 90 of the best rose cultivars for Pacific Northwest gardens. Climbers, ramblers, English shrubs, hybrid teas, and groundcovers are described in detail, accompanied by beguiling photos that will no doubt promote overbuying. Which brings up a point that I think is worth emphasizing. The inspiration and research found between the covers of this mighty little book is only as good as the available inventory at regional nurseries.
Growing Roses in the Pacific Northwest should be required reading for nursery professionals.