Clarence's containers -- Crazy rose people -- Hard pruning -- Rose sex -- "I've always been, shall we say, competitive" -- To spray or not to spray -- All for one and one for all -- What we do for love -- It's showtime -- Judgment hour -- The heady scent of history -- Rescuing roses with Ruth -- Clarence's charges -- Rose classification
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.