Roses are the signature flower of June, and one of my very favorite flowers. This year has been an exceptional year for some roses I transplanted from early homestead cellars and foundations found on my parent’s farm in Susquehanna County, PA, and dating from the early 1800s.
These are unique roses with multiple petals, but with a short life spam. Their scent is light and fragrant, and their petal composition reminds you of the well-known “rag rose” fashioned by crafters.
Roses are a woody perennial, coming up year after year and have been symbols of love, beauty, war and politics. Rose plants range in size from compact, miniature roses, to climbers that can reach seven meters in height. Flowers vary in size and shape and are usually large and showy, in colors ranging from white through yellows and reds. More recently, hybrids have been created with the colors of blue, light purple, black, and variations of red or pink with yellow.
The history of roses is quite a unique one, and according to fossil evidence, the rose is 35 million years old. Here is information from the website, “Our Rose Garden,” by the University of Illinois Extension. http://extension.illinois.edu/roses/history.cfm.
"In nature, the genus Rosa has some 150 species spread throughout the Northern Hemisphere, from Alaska to Mexico and including northern Africa. Garden cultivation of roses began some 5,000 years ago, probably in China. During the Roman period, roses were grown extensively in the Middle East. They were used as confetti at celebrations, for medicinal purposes, and as a source of perfume. Roman nobility established large public rose gardens in the south of Rome. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the popularity of roses seemed to rise and fall depending on gardening trends of the time.
Roses were in such high demand during the seventeenth century that royalty considered roses or rose water as legal tender, and they were often used as barter and for payments. Napoleon's wife Josephine established an extensive collection of roses at Chateau de Malmaison, an estate seven miles west of Paris in the 1800s. This garden became the setting for Pierre Joseph Redoute's work as a botanical illustrator. In 1824, he completed his watercolor collection "Les Rose," which is still considered one of the finest records of botanical illustration.
It wasn't until the late eighteenth century that cultivated roses were introduced into Europe from China. Most modern-day roses can be traced back to this ancestry.”
**By the way, the phrase, “"Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose." was written by Gertrude Stein as part of the 1913 poem, Sacred Emily.