A Rose is more than a flower

A Rose is more than a flower

By Lesa Jones

“Of all the flowers, methinks a rose is best.” …. William Shakespeare

 I just love roses. Contemplating the addition of roses to my garden has led me to a decision, despite residing in a deer-populated area without any protective fencing around the property. My aim has always been to establish a natural corridor, allowing local wildlife to traverse freely. Although it goes against my 30 years of gardening experience, I've decided to take on the challenge. I recently placed an order for my favorite climbing rose, Rosa Sally Holmes. Through diligent research, I've devised a plan to safeguard this cherished addition….Lesa Jones

So, what motivates us to go to such great lengths to cultivate roses in our gardens?

In modern day society, the rose is associated with love and Valentine’s Day and is by far, the most popular cut flower in the world.

The humble origins of cultivation trace back to as early as 500 BC in China and Persia. Centuries later, it gained popularity in the Mediterranean regions as the Romans associated it with love, beauty, purity and passion. Early Christians believed the rose symbolized paganism, but later they recognized it as a symbol of love and now has become a rich part of Christian culture and literature.

“Won’t you come into my garden? I would like my roses to see you.”

…. Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife, Josephine loved roses and between 1804 and 1814, she introduced the first extensive collection of roses at Chateau de Malmaison, which featured 250 varieties of this beloved flower.

In the United States, President John Adams (1797-1801) is credited with planting the inaugural rose at the White House. A 130 years later, First Lady Ellen Wilson(1931) further enriched the presidential landscape by establishing the formal rose garden, gracefully framing the Oval Office and the West Wing.

Roses are also available in many forms, shapes and sizes, and are used in many garden applications. For example, low and spreading for ground covers, shrub form for formal gardens, climbing for trellises and tall form for cut long stem roses. When planted with care and allowed to establish, roses offer years of abundant garden blooms, typically demanding minimal maintenance.

 “I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds around my neck.”

…. Emma Goldman

Roses on the table or in the garden make life a little brighter and they can add cultural conversation with visitors. Did you know that many roses are named after people with cultural or historical significance. For example, my colleague’s key flower in her garden is the Queen of Sweden Rose. It is a David Austin Rose that was developed in 2004 in Honor of Queen Christina to commemorate the 350th Anniversary Treaty of Friendship and Commerce between Queen Christina of Sweden and Oliver Cromwell of Great Britain in 1654.

The next time you stroll by a garden, don't merely pause to smell the roses; take a moment to marvel at their profound historical and cultural significance. Allow yourself to be intoxicated by their captivating beauty and fragrance, and cultivate a deep appreciation for the exquisite gift bestowed by Mother Nature.