The Roses at the End of the Road: Book Review

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Pat Leuchtman

Pat Leuchtman

This is Pat Leuchtman. You may know her as the garden blogger Commonweeder. I first met Pat at a garden blogger’s fling and chatted with her then and at other garden blogger gatherings. I thought she was a cheerful, conventional New Englander. When I started reading her book, The Roses at the End of the Road: Essays About Life in the Country… with Roses, which she gave me to review, I learned how wrong first impressions could be.

Pat was hardly conventional. Pat had been on adventures.

She started her adult life conventionally, raising five children in an “expensive Connecticut suburb.” But after her divorce her life took a decided unconventional turn. She started a craft gallery and store without knowing anything about business. She was growing vegetables organically in the ’70s. She changed careers and moved several times, eventually marrying long-time partner Henry in New York City, where they had moved with her five children to Henry’s “ancestral apartment.”

Four years later, with two children grown, she and her family finally arrive at the farm they call “The End of the Road”–partly because it truly was the end of the road, and partly because Henry was tired of moving. (Frankly, I don’t blame him. That part of the book was rather exhausting.) Pat never thought about or planted a rose until she moved to this farm, and she has since grown and killed a lot of roses.

Cold climate gardeners will especially appreciate learning about the roses that don’t die. You won’t need to write them down because she has a complete list of every rose she’s grown in the back of the book, with an asterisk by each survivor. But if you want to know the stories about them you must read the book. Because her book is as much about the people in Pat’s life as it is about the roses, how the two intertwine and grow together.

The Roses at the End of the Road is a wonderful book to read on a cold winter’s night, making notes about must-have roses as you go. It is a great read for a holiday trip at any time of the year, as each essay is short and can be read while waiting for one’s flight or to settle down before bed. At just under a hundred pages it would make a wonderful stocking stuffer for any gardener, but most especially a gardener who wants to grow roses without poisons in a cold climate. Because that is what Pat has done.

Pat gave me her book to review, but my opinions about it are my own.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Optimism overrules pessimism because every spring is an opportunity to start again.

~Laurie Lisle in Four Tenths of an Acre: Reflections on a Gardening Life

3 Comments… add one

Patti December 5, 2013, 10:16 am

Another one to add to the wish list this year. Sounds like a nice mix of novel and reference.

Gail November 30, 2013, 10:56 am

Sounds perfect for a rainy and grey winter day in Nashville.

Donna@Gardens Eye View November 30, 2013, 5:58 am

Kathy I have long wanted to read Pat’s book and you have given me just the push.

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