Recommendations wanted for Rose hybridizer's books

I’ve received some gift certificates for books at Borders and I’d like to use them on rose hybridizing books (or other recommended rose books.) Any recommendations are appreciated and welcome. I’d be especially interested in books about parentage, those with excellent photos showing the processes, or just pictures to drool over during the winter months.

Do you have a favorite rose book? What makes it a favorite?



Not specifically a hybridizing book, but one I repeatedly got lost in during my early years of rose dreaming…

Peter Beales’ “Classic Roses”; just crack one open for a little while, you’ll see

I also really liked “Roses” by R. Phillips and M. Rix

lots of great pictures (around 1400 of them I think) and usually lists parentage of each too.

Have fun, Tom

My favorite rose hybridizer books are out of print, but you may be able to find them in a library or used book store.

The Makers of Heavenly Roses by Jack Harkness

A Family of Roses by Sam McGredy

Roses - From Dreams to Reality by Herb Swim

The first is a series of beautifully written biographies of notable hybridizers. The other two are autobiographical. All three have some discussion of hybridizing techniques and philosophies.

I agree 100% with Tom on Peter Beale’s Classic Roses - a great book to lose yourself in. Botanica’s Roses is also good and has lots of pictures. I think I read in a recent issue of The American Rose that the ARS is now selling the Modern Roses 11 CD-ROM at a much lower cost than the book.

Of all the books that I have read, I found that the 2 part David Austin series was the most insightful. There isnt much of law or anything engraved in stone on hybridizing in his 2 books but there is a lot to learn from his ideas, anecdotes and thoughts. Not to mention that they’re fun to read.


Thanks! I’ll check into all of those. Perhaps Powells has some of the out of print editions.



You can also find out of print books on and through They sell previously owned books that are now out of print also.


There is a good deal of information for both the beginner and the ardent student of hybridizing on my web site, free for the browsing. Check the link listed below.




If you do order or buy used books, amazon

can be very high. I used Copernic pro

to search for things. It is a lifesaver. Better

than seach engines and easier. To give u

an idea. Amazon had Quest for the rose for over

70 dollars USED. I got it from a english book seller

for 20 bucks.

They have different kinds of software and the basic is

or at least was free. But it’s worth if to buy it.


Thanks TeeJay and Paul for the links and recommendations (and everyone else to for your suggestions)!