The real beauty in roses is the story behind them. For centuries, roses have inspired love and brought beauty to those who have received them. In fact, the rose's rich heritage dates back thousands of years. Learn the meanings of roses, the myths behind roses, the story of roses, roses in history, some rose facts and trivia and more about roses.
• People have been passionate about roses since the beginning of time. It is said that the floors of Cleopatra's palace were carpeted with delicate rose petals, and that the wise and knowing Confucius had a 600 book library specifically on how to care for roses.
• Wherefore art thou rose? In the readings of Shakespeare, of course. He refers to roses more than 50 times throughout his writing.
• One thousand years old. That's the age the world's oldest living rose bush is thought to be. Today, it continues to flourish on the wall of the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany.
• Why white roses are so special is no mystery -- it's a myth. Perhaps it started with the Romans, who believed white roses grew where the tears of Venus fell as she mourned the loss of her beloved Adonis.
• According to Confucius, in 500 B.c. the Chinese had six hundred books on roses.
• Myth also has it that Venus' son Cupid accidentally shot arrows into the rose garden when a bee stung him, and it was the "sting" of the arrows that caused the roses to grow thorns. And, when Venus walked through the garden and pricked her foot on a thorn, it was the droplets of her blood which turned the roses red.
• It's offical -- the rose is New York's state flower.
• The oldest living rose-bush, which is now the size of a tree, grows against a cathedral in Hildesheim, Germany. Documentation proves it has been there since A.D. 815. During World War II, the bush caught fire from Allied bombs dropped nearby, but the root system was undamaged and the bush still flourishes today.
• Did you know that Australia has naturally no roses, and none have yet been found wild very near to or south of the Equator? It is in the temperate regions of Asia, and throughout Europe generally, that those species abound from which nearly the whole of the present garden varieties have sprung. But if we extend our view, we find some growing on the mountains of North America, whose tops are covered with eternal snow; and others in the dreary wilds of Greenland, Kamtschatka, and Iceland; while in Siberia there are several interesting species. On the other hand, if we turn to warmer climates, we discover that Mexico, Abyssinia, China, Persia, India, and Egypt have their Roses; and even on the outskirts of the mighty Sahara one species is found, gladdening the approaches to the desert with its clusters of white flowers.
• The rose is a legend of its own. The story goes that during the Roman empire, there was an incredibly beautiful maiden named Rhodanthe. Her beauty drew many zealous suitors who pursued her relentlessly. Exhausted by their pursuit, Rhodanthe was forced to take refuge from her suitors in the temple of her friend Diana. Unfortunately, Diana became jealous. And, when the suitors broke down her temple gates to get near their beloved Rhodanthe, she also became angry, turning Rhodanthe into a rose and her suitors into thorns.
• Dolly Parton may be known for her music and theme park. But, rose lovers know her for the orange / red variety bearing her name.
• A rose by any other name... According to Greek Mythology, it was Aphrodite who gave the rose its name.
• While the rose may bear no fruit, the rose hips (the part left on the plant after a rose is done blooming) contain more Vitamin C than almost any other fruit or vegetable.
• About Rose hips: French scientific name is "cynorhodon" (fruit de la "rose des chiens"), or (popular) "gratte-cul" because the bristles of the seeds scratche the skin. Also known as "chopécul" in Eastern France; traditionnally harvested to make a home made jam, some distilleries produce digestive spirits from (either wild or cultivated) Rose hips.
• The rose is a symbol of the times. In fact, it's the official National Floral Emblem of the United States, where June is National Rose Month.
• Leave it to the romantic French to be the ones to first deliver roses. It was in the seventeenth century that French explorer Samuel deChamplain brought the first cultivated roses to North America.
• Roses are truly ageless. Recently, archaeologists discovered the fossilized remains of wild roses over 40 million years old.
• The people of ancient Greece used roses to accessorize. On festive occasions, they would adorn themselves with garlands of roses and splash themselves with scented oil.
• Napoleon's wife Josephine so adored roses, she grew more than 250 varieties.
• For the past 30 years and counting, June has been the National Rose Month in the United States.
Source: Society of American Florists and "The Rose Garden" by William Paul
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