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The initial idea behind Roses: An Illustrated Encyclopaedia and Grower's Handbook of Species Roses, Old Roses and Modern Roses, Shrub Roses and Climber, was to combine two of the author's books, Classic Roses and Twentieth-Century Roses. However, as Beales worked on the new book, he found himself revising and rewriting parts of the first two, including adding over three hundred additional species and hybrids, bringing the total number of roses covered to 1,900!
Peter Beales gives a comprehensive treatment to all rose varieties, not just the species and older roses. In fact, he makes the point that newer roses will become the old roses of the future and says, I believe some modern varieties will in time be treasured as beauties from the past; never again should so many good, contemporary varieties be allowed to fall by the wayside as has happened since about 1930.