A Rose By Any Other Name…

download_20151008_081924ROSES. Until now, we never really understood what all the fuss was about roses. We women seem to love them, and men seem to spend inordinate amounts of money to purchase them for their sweethearts.

And after the recent viral picture of the pitch-black Turkish Halfeti Rose, we’re starting to understand that roses can be not only dangerous, kind of sweet-smelling petals and enchanting all at the same time, they can also be the perfect centerpiece of the most hardcore heavy metal album or low fantasy book cover of all time.

I was prompted to scribble about this famous flower after receiving several beautiful pictures of roses (all featured here) taken by Danny who knows my love of flowers and gardening in general.

Hey music teacher, thanks to you, now I know whole world lot about roses!

Fossils seems to indicate that roses existed in prehistoric times and rose gardening probably began in China, some 5000 years ago. Over the centuries changes occurred in the genus Rosa either through natural or artificial hybridisation.

Botanists seem to agree that roses of prehistoric times were of the single bloom type. Surprisingly the genus Rosa is found exclusively in certain zones of the northern hemisphere in the wild: in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and America.

download_20151008_081937During the Roman period, roses were grown extensively in the Middle East. Pliny the Elder devoted a large part of Book XXI of his Historia Naturalis to roses.

From the 16th century on roses were carefully selected, bred and improved to form new rose varieties, especially in Holland. In the 18th and 19th centuries roses enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, and many of the rose classics we admire today stem from that period.

I love roses. But who is not? Right? I remember pestering John to buy me roses during our dating phase eons ago. Lol! He picked the clue but stopped only after third bouquet!

Here’s some interesting facts about roses;

  • download_20151008_082059The Romans thought nothing of carpeting their huge banquet halls with rose petals. In fact, it is said that the floors of Cleopatra’s palace were carpeted with delicate rose petals and it is also said that Cleopatra once received her beloved Marc Antony in a room literally knee-deep in rose petals
  • And that the wise and knowing Confucius had a 600 book library specifically on how to care for roses
  • Wherefore art thou rose? In the readings of Shakespeare, of course. He refers to roses more than 50 times throughout his writings
  • It can grow very, very tall — The tallest rose-bush on record is in Morristown, New Jersey, and grew to be over 18 feet tall
  • Ancient Romans believed that white roses grew where the tears of Venus fell when she was mourning Adonis
  • Mythology says that roses grew thorns when Cupid accidentally shot an arrow into a rose garden
  • It can live a very long time — It’s said that the oldest rose bush in the world grows on the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany. It’s believed to be over 1000 years old. It grows on the wall of the Cathedral of Hildesheim in Germany and its presence is documented since A.D. 815. According to the legend, the rosebush symbolises the prosperity of the city of Hildesheim; as long as it flourishes, Hildesheim will not decline. In 1945 allied bombers destroyed the cathedral, yet the bush survived. Its roots remained intact beneath the debris, and soon the bush was growing strong againdownload_20151008_082357
  • The largest private rose garden in the world is in Cavriglia, Italy, and holds over 7,500 different varieties of roses
  • Roman Emperor Nero liked to shower his guests with fresh rose petals. According to the legend, the dense rose-petal cloud nearly suffocated some of the guests.
  • In the Middle Ages, it was customary for the wealthy to put rose petals and rose oil in their baths. Many noblewomen carried bouquets of fragrant flowers to cover body odors
  • The rose is the only flower to which a garden has been totally devoted on the grounds of the United Nations, on the White House grounds in Washington, D.C., and in thousands of public parks throughout the United States
  • It has deep historical roots — According to the Guinness Book of World Records, roses are the oldest species of plant to be grown as decoration. Ancient Romans cultivated the flowers to decorate buildings and furniture, and even laid rose petal carpets
  • They are so many hidden meanings — According to Victorian flower dictionaries, the a rose’s colour determines its meaning. Red roses signify “love,” pink ones mean “grace,” peach signals “modesty,” and orange implies “fascination.”
  • They’re part of a big family — There are about of hundred species of roses, which vary widely in color, shape, and climate preference — tea roses, however, are the most common
  • The first rose to leave the earth was as miniature rose called “Overnight Scentsation” — It had been cultivated by IFF researcher Dr. Braja Mookherjee for experiments in space. The purpose was to measure how low-gravity would influence the rose’s smell.
  • The father of Botany Theophrastus (371-286 BC) first classified and identified plants. In his classic books Enquiry into plants and De Causis Plantarum (The causes of plants) he wrote about a “hundred-petaled rose” and called it centifolia (literally: hundred petals)download_20151008_082047
  • The only rose known to have only four petals is Rosa Sericea, brought to Europe from the Himalayas at the end of the nineteenth century
  • The oldest representation of a rose is afresco in the palace of Minos in Cnossos, Crete. It depicts a five-petaled pink rose dates to about 1450 B.C
  • At first, rose oil was added to medicine to mask their bitter taste. It was only afterwards that the medicinal virtues of rose oil were discovered.
  • According to Greek Mythology, it was Aphrodite who gave the rose its name
  • The apothecary rose, R. gallica officinalis, first recorded in the 13th century, was the foundation of a large industry near the city of Provins, France. The rose was believed to cure a multitude of diseases and Provins was an important center of rose confectionary, producing rose petal jam, Provinean rose honey and rose candydownload_20151008_081956
  • While the rose may bear no fruit, the rose hips (the part left on the plant after a rose is done blooming) contain more Vitamin C than almost any other fruit or vegetable
  • The people of ancient Greece used roses to accessorise. On festive occasions they would adorn themselves with garlands of roses, and splash themselves with rose-scented oil
  • Napoleon’s wife Josephine so adored roses, she grew more than 250 varieties

Today, 150 million rose plants are purchased by gardeners worldwide each year.
Universally accepted as living symbols of love, friendship, success and peace, roses are becoming more and more popular as gifts for all occasions and, as well, for spur-of-the-moment, everyday expressions of good feelings. They are being used as birthday and anniversary gifts, to decorate a hostess table, to say “thank you” for a job well done, or to say “I love you” at a most unexpected time.download_20151008_082203

Roses have been a beautiful symbol of celebration in all cultures. Nothing expresses personal sentiments better than roses, and they’re always in style. Whatever color or size you choose, roses are perfect and perfectly beautiful. Who can ever forget the first time they received roses?

For additional read: http://www.worldrose.org/