When I think of English gardens, I think of roses. Of course, I may be unduly influenced by Elton John’s song, Goodbye England’s Rose, which was playing everywhere my first couple of weeks in England in September 1997. So how best to celebrate the ultimate in English garden shows, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, than a look through that most English of flowers.
I had no idea there were so many different types of roses. They also have such lovely names.
I love this place setting. An English tea party with English roses. So very pretty.
Of course, roses weren’t always the quintessential English flower. Some interesting facts and legends about the most popular flower in the world:
- Ornamental roses, have been grown for thousands of years, in Mediterranean countries, the Middle East and Asia.
- Roses probably were cultivated first in Ancient China about five thousand years ago.
- In Ancient Greece, the rose was supposed to have been created by Aphrodite, the goddess of love when her tears mixed with the blood of her lover, Adonis.
- Roses were considered sacred in Ancient Egypt. Cleopatra had her rooms filled with roses so that when Marc Antony smelled a rose, he would be reminded of her.
- During the Roman Empire, the Romans established large public rose gardens in the city. Newlyweds were often crowned with roses.
- According to Arab legend, all roses started off white until a nightingale fell in love with a rose. He held the rose to himself so intensely, the rose pierced his heart and was coloured by the blood.
- The rose was a symbol of war and politics during the War of the Roses in England. The winner of the war, Henry VII, created the Tudor Rose by cross-breeding other roses.
- Empress Josephine, the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, created a garden at her home in Malmaison where her ambition was to have every variety of rose in the world.
I’ll never think of a rose as boring again! There’s got to be something special about this flower which has been universally grown for millennia. What do you think?