The letters in the word, “rose” can be rearranged to spell “Eros.” How appropriate
that one of the most beautiful flowers has the letters who form the Greek “God of
Love.” The Peace rose was named 50 or more years ago. It is a pale yellow-tinged
rose with pink tipped petals. Thorns can also help you to reach another letter
combination: “sore.” You may be sore from the needle-like thorns or you may be
sore, filled with heartache. While the rose still gives us light and lovely radiance
in its flowering.
In the 15th century, Henry VI declared a War of Roses. How sad and upsetting to
label anything that is filled with death and killing, with the word, rose, in its title.
In Medieval times, a white rose suspended from the ceiling of a room meant there
would be ‘secrets’ shared or imparted. It designated conversations which must be
totally private. The term, “subrosa,” means “confidential.”
Roses have been found much longer ago than Medieval times. There were drawings
of flowers on cave walls. Particularly, historically discovered on cave walls, was
a five-petaled “rose” drawing found in Crete during the period of 1450 B.C.
Traveling even farther back in time, roses have been discovered by archaeologists,
in fossilized form. The rocks have been preserved and photographed have come
from the beginning of Earth’s plant life, possibly the oldest ‘flower’ ever. This is
dating back 30 million years ago. One could almost, truthfully, exclaim that roses
have been around forever.
In 76 A.D., the Roman writer named, Pliny, included 30 different remedies and
medicines derived from roses. Roses were used in ancient times for healing wounds,
treating insomnia (rose tea), stomach disorders and “toothaches.” Rose petals also
helped to cover the awful smell of death or illness. By scattering rose petals around
enclosed spaces, you could tolerate the odor of diseases, including the Plague.
In the Talmud, it is written only pink roses were allowed to bloom in Jerusalem.
The city’s name means, “Paradise,” which makes sense the pink roses be there
to fill the air with their aromatic, floral scent. Visually and using senses of all kinds,
to be immersed in Paradise. This is how some gardeners feel in their gardens.
The 13th century rose was brought back to Europe, from the Holy Land crusaders.
This is considered “the Old European” traditional rose. Another ‘root’ history of
the rose is it may have come form Italian travelers, from the Gulf of Salerno. The
trail of the rose, also has possibilities with the Roman Emperors cultivating them
after bringing them back from their Middle East travels.
The Chinese have incorporated roses in their artistry and have been given credit
for those beautiful “tea roses,” since they have for 1000’s of years compared the
scent to the aroma of the hearty tea leaves.
Explorers of the 1800’s, also have been considered ones who brought the first
seedlings of roses from Asia. These explorers brought these to Europe, which
then American settlers brought seeds of all kinds of plants, including seedlings
of roses to our continent. While traveling across the ocean, in 1692, explorers
discovered roses prevented sea-sickness.
The belief of the rose as an aphrodisiac is more than just a romantic novel’s
idea. The appearance of this belief goes back centuries using rose hips as
part of a mood enhancer. The rose hips are also known to have Vitamin
C which is considered a natural way to help prevent depression. It is also
considered to be a way to prevent ‘apathy’ and ‘resignation,’ in books of
old folklore and medicinal texts.
Marie Antoinette’s good friend, Pierre Joseph-Redoute, was a wonderful painter
and artist, along with being one who enjoyed gardening. One of his famous rose
paintings is hung in one of the French Art museums. The artist is known for his
botanical paintings, which have become made into prints for decorating homes,
along with the Palace. In France, roses are included in 12th century cathedral
stained glass windows.
In the story, “Sleeping Beauty,” the rose vines with their thorny protection make
it very difficult for the Prince to wake Beauty from her sleep. The vines grow and
surround the castle while she is deep in slumber.
Withering roses mean that love is transitory and love can fade. There are many
ways the flower is used as a metaphor in books, poetry and stories. Blue roses
come from a gene from a blue petunia injected into a white rose. I think you may
remember in the play, “The Glass Menagerie,” the brother calls the invalid sister,
“Blue Roses,” which indicate the possibility that she has pleurisy. Australia was
the country given credit for having the clever horticulturalists and scientists who
managed to ‘create’ this blue rose. Symbolism of the rose would take many pages
of writing, along with intensive research.
When Carl Jung analyzed a rose depicted in a church stained-glass window with a
magical circle surrounding the rose, he described it in quite mythological terms.
Jung said the rose symbolized,
“Our mortal yearnings for Union with the Cosmos.”
Dreamers sometimes are accused of looking through “rose colored glasses,” which at
times, sometimes I prefer them.
The expression, “second hand rose,” may have its roots from the days when Henry II’s
mistress (who would have been considered ‘second class’ or less worthy of his time,
since the wife was given preferential treatment) died an early death. Poor Rosamunda.
Tough times or parts of our life that are challenging make our lives, “No bed of roses.”
“Rosy” cheeks may depict a ‘picture of good health,’ as the children in the Campbell
Soup advertisements display round, rosy cheeks while they entice us to warm up with
The oldest living rose bush is the size of a tree. This may be found by a cathedral in
Hildesheim, Germany. There is a historic document which provides proof of it dating
back to possibly 815 A.D. It is considered, “The Thousand Year Old Rose Tree.”
The story or legend of the Lower Saxony, Germany tree, is that during WWII, the
bush caught on fire from Allied bombs. The root system was removed, undamaged.
It is still flourishing and flowering in Hildesheim, Germany.
From the history of roses through the ages, it seems that they are meant to continue
to grow against all odds. While we are meant to benefit not only from their beauty and
romance, but admire their longevity and endurance. The Peace rose radiates its power
of Hope to us all. The rose holds a special place in our lives and it is amazing to learn
from its very existence.
Roses have flourished from the beginning of time and will continue to do so,
until the Earth stops spinning.