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Scott, Aurelia C.

Scott, Aurelia C.

PERSONAL:

Married Bob Krug.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Portland, ME. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, editor, public speaker, and Master Gardener. Speaker and lecturer on writing and gardening. Board of Portland Trails (a local urban land trust), vice president.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Writer's Digest Grand Prize.

WRITINGS:

Otherwise Normal People: Inside the Thorny World of Competitive Rose Gardening, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC), 2007.

Contributor to periodicals, including Cottage Living, Garden Design, Fine Gardening, Down East, and the New York Times.

Garden Compass Magazine, historical editor; AudioFile Magazine, contributing editor.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer, editor, and gardening expert Aurelia C. Scott is a Master Gardener and frequent writer on topics related to growing plants and flowers. She is a grower of roses and other flowering plants at her home near Casco Bay, in Portland, Maine. She is a contributor to many gardening magazines and serves as the historical editor for Garden Compass magazine, where she "writes profiles of the luminaries of yesteryear's plant world," according to a biographer on her home page. She is also contributing editor to AudioFile Magazine, a publication dedicated to audiobooks. Scott frequently speaks on topics related to both writing and gardening. As a Master Gardener, she has participated in the Pink Tulip Project, a gardening project that raises breast cancer awareness while spreading the presence of pink tulips in communities throughout the country.

In Otherwise Normal People: Inside the Thorny World of Competitive Rose Gardening, Scott explores the unusual world of competition rose growing. She introduces a cast of dedicated rose growers and looks carefully at the quirky but determined growers who regularly participate in rose-growing contests throughout the United States. "This book delivers almost exactly what the title offers: A sympathetic, perhaps even sentimental, look at the slightly crazy people who organize their lives around rose competitions," observed Jason B. Jones on the PopMatters Web site. "This is an unusual rose book that concentrates more on people than flowers," observed Paste Magazine Web site reviewer Dawn Eagle. Through interviews and firsthand observations, Scott works "to find out why the flowers enthrall these cheerful, hardworking, deeply committed people," stated a Kirkus Reviews contributor. She describes the numerous techniques used by growers to groom and care for their flowers. She describes the overflowing gardens, some containing as many as 500 rose plants, and the houses decorated with rose memorabilia, awards, and rose-themed items. She tells about growers' secret tricks and individual fertilizer formulas. She describes the tension that results from preparing for a big show, and how the participants maintain a sense of cordial camaraderie despite the pressures of competition.

Individual growers describe their techniques for keeping their bloom's fresh and luxurious. Environmental challenges are considered; a Maine-based grower explains his techniques for keeping his roses alive during the harsh winter months, while a South Carolina couple confronts the difficulties of cultivating roses in the humidity of the South. Scott points out the necessary but heavy use of insecticides and fungicides, vital weapons in the fight against pests that would destroy prize-winning flowers. Roses, Scott finds, are effective equalizers, as social and economic class differences melt away in the presence of the luxurious blooms. There is even a hint of romance in the rosarians' story: though marriages have been destroyed over the pressures and obsessions associated with competitive rose growing, others have found true love amidst the blossoms and blooms. Scott's chronicle culminates with her subjects' participation in the American Rose Society's National Rose Show, and readers will be kept guessing who will take home the top prizes at the annual contest.

In a Washington Post review, Joel M. Lerner noted that Scott displays a "light, humorous style," but stresses that rose growing is a "serious discipline" for its dedicated participants. Scott herself takes roses and their growers seriously, noted a Publishers Weekly critic, observing that "she doesn't poke fun, and for the most part she's caught up in their ‘infectious’ enthusiasm for roses." Throughout the book, Scott describes the stakes in upper-level rose competitions, and describes with affection and humor the "seemingly average individuals who take leave of their senses in this addictively sensory pursuit," remarked Carol Haggas, writing in Booklist. The Kirkus Reviews contributor mused that Scott's book demonstrates "the laborious agonies of creating beauty, captured in relaxed, anecdotal prose."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 1, 2007, Carol Haggas, review of Otherwise Normal People: Inside the Thorny World of Competitive Rose Gardening, p. 49.

Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2007, review of Otherwise Normal People.

Library Journal, March 1, 2007, Phillip Oliver, review of Otherwise Normal People, p. 99.

Publishers Weekly, February 5, 2007, review of Otherwise Normal People.

Washington Post, August 4, 2007, Joel M. Lerner, "A Dog Days Reading List for Fresh Inspiration and Tips," review of Otherwise Normal People, p. F8.

ONLINE

Aurelia C. Scott Home Page,http://www.aureliacscott.com (December 5, 2007).

Paste Magazine Web site, http://www.pastemagazine.com/ (July 26, 2007), Dawn Eagle, "Life … through Rose-Colored Glasses," review of Otherwise Normal People.

PopMatters Web site, http://www.popmatters.com/ (July 12, 2007), Jason B. Jones, "The Moment of the Rose," review of Otherwise Normal People.

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