Interesting Facts about Roses

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Interesting Facts about Roses

Psychology of Roses

In the field of psychology, the term ideal type is used to reference a common mental construct derived from observable reality but not conforming to it in detail. In short, an ideal type is a version of something most of us vision when we think about something and our visions across the population are mostly similar in design. For example, when we think about a guitar, the first design that comes to mind is that of the Fender Stratocaster, while it might not actually be a Fender Stratocaster. In contrast, when we think of flowers, many of us will think of roses or at least a flower design that resembles that of roses. It tuns out, many of us have been thinking this way for a while.

Spoken by Emilia in what is considered by many to be Shakespeare's last play, The Two Noble Kinsmen, "Of all flowers, methinks rose is best." The powerful symbolism roses have has been firmly cemented into world culture and continues into the modern era where we use them to accentuate gestures of beauty, love, and passion. The rose has always represented an intimate expression of ones admiration for another.

Then and Now

The rose dates back 40 million years. A rose left an imprint on a fossil found in Florissant, CO with similar remains uncovered in Montana and Oregon that date back 35 million years. This makes roses native to the United States.

Roses were first cultivated in Asia at around 3000 BC and have been an intimate part of human civilization since their inception. At around 500 BC, Confucius wrote of growing roses in the Imperial Gardens and already by then hundreds of books had been written on the subject or roses. By 600 BC, Greek poetess, Sappho, called the rose the "Queen of Flowers," and they're still considered this by many today.

Over the past 20 years, rose sales in the United States have dropped a bit but have remained pretty steady since 2008 at around $20 million per year. Some 200 million roses Americans give on Valentine's Day are sourced out of Bogota, Colombia, which provides an ideal climate and allows for roses to be grown year around. What this also means is that they can be shipped to the United States year around.

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Rose Family

Roses belong to the Rosaceae family, which is made up of food crops such as apples, almonds, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, and pears and while roses are also edible, they're more considered decorative. The Rosaceae family is one of the larger angiosperm families. This variety of species are vascular seed plants where the ovule (egg) is fertilized and developed into a seed in an enclosed hollow ovary, which is itself usually enclosed in the flower where the male and female reproductive organs are stored.

The angiosperms cover more of Earth's surface than any other group of plants. As a result, production from this family of plants has become essential for life. Their most important attribute is a source of food for birds, mammals, and humans.

The rose family is composed of over 2500 species across 90 genera with a lot of United States production grown in Wasco, CA. However, they're also sourced from other parts of the world.

Rose Mythology

According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, assigned the rose its name to honor her son, Eros, by rearranging the letters in his name. This is how roses got their symbolism for love. Eros then gave the rose to Harpocrates, the god of silence, as a bribe to conceal information of the gods. This is how roses got their symbolism of secrecy and silence.

In another rendition, Adonis was out hunting boar and jealousy from another resulted in a boar out to harm him. In an effort to warn Adonis, Venus rushed out to share the news but scathed herself on a rose bush, which splashed blood on the white rose petals causing them to turn red.

In yet another rendition, Aphrodite walked through a rose garden that Cupid shot with an arrow, which made the roses grow thorns. Aphrodite accidentally pricked her finger with a rose thorn and her blood turned the roses red.

Romans favored roses for their fragrance and beauty. According to Roman mythology, the white rose first appeared during the birth of Venus, the goddess of love. Romans would put roses in their bedrooms to honor Venus. Emperors would bathe with them and sit on carpets of them during feasts. They were used as confetti during dinner and to such a degree that sometimes guests would suffocate from excessive exposure. Roses were so desirable that peasants were often forced to grow them instead of food just to satisfy Roman elites.

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Roses and Christianity

In the early era of Christianity, Christians viewed roses as a symbol of alternative religions and their oppressors, The Romans. However, this view eventually faded and the rose became a favored symbol in the Christian religion and is now used in a variety of religious ceremonies. In Catholic religion, red roses symbolize the shedding of Christ's blood and the Virgin Mary, who's often referred to as the "rose without thorns" or some variety. The word, rosary, is a derivative of the word, rose.

The Dark Ages

Some credit Europe's introduction of the rose to Alexander the Great, while others the knights returning home from the Crusades (12-13th century). Monasteries preserved the rose by requiring at least one monk to be skilled in botany. By 17th century Europe, roses and rose water became so popular that it was used as legal tender. During which time, Napoleon's wife Josephine, established one of the first notable collections of roses at Chateau de Malmaison, which contained more than 250 varieties.

By the 18th century, the China group of roses were introduced to Europe and crossbred to produce the tea rose, which was named for its tea fragrance. Other crossbreeds were produced with favor throughout the 19th century. By this time, the tea rose was crossbred with hybrid perpetuals and gave rise to the most popular variety that's become the benchmark for all other roses.

Roses and American Influence

Our founding fathers and other influential figures in American history loved roses. English writer, William Penn, brought roses to North America in 1699 for their beauty and medicinal value. George Washington planted roses at Mt Vernon and Thomas Jefferson grew roses at Monticello. The first roses to show up on the lawn of the White House were planted by John Adams, America's second President. This first batch drew attention and by 1913, Ellen Axson Wilson, wife of Woodrow Wilson, created the Rose Garden that still exists at the White House today.

Roses in Daily Expression

Roses are mentioned in common expressions in everyday language. For example, when someone says, "a bed of roses," they are referring to a life of luxury or a simple situation. The term, "rosy," has two meanings: 1. to describe someone who's cheerful and optimistic, and 2. to describe a healthy, glowing complexion. Since roses also symbolize secrecy, the term, "sub rosa," means something was done in secret.

Rose Colors and Meanings

Roses come in a variety of colors each with different meanings.

Rose Color                                                                                                 Symbolism

Red Love, Romance, Beauty, Courage
White Purity, Memory, Innocence, Cleanliness, Honor
Light Pink Gentleness, Elegance
Dark Pink Gratitude, Joy
Peach Gratitude, Sincerity
Coral Fascination, Desire
Orange Passion, Enthusiasm
Yellow Good Spirits, Well-Being
Lavender Adoration
Green Abundance, Wealth, Growth
Black Grief, Mourning, The End of Something, Rebirth, Renewal
Rose Colors & Meanings

In Summary

For a lot of us, when we think of flowers the rose design is often the first thing that comes to mind. The rose is such a favorite that Shakespeare referenced them in one of his plays. Roses are native to the United States with the oldest indications dating back 40 million years. Cultivated in Asia but grown in Columbia and the United States today, roses are available year around. The rose is part of the angiosperm family, which covers more of the earth's surface than any other family. Roses have been mentioned in a variety of stories throughout Greek and Roman mythology. They've made their way into Christianity and survived the Dark Ages. Roses are a favorite flower among many of Americas most influential figures and have been chronicled with the creation of the Rose Garden at the White House. Roses come in a variety of colors each with unique meanings. Roses are mentioned in everyday language to describe a situation or type of personality. They are the Queen of Flowers.

Need Help Selecting the Right Rose Bouquet?

At Secret Garden Rose, we offer a wide range of rose and combination bouquets. If you need help picking the right roses, we're here to assist you. Our experienced staff of professional florists are standing by ready and eager to prepare and ship your order. Contact us today!

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