Roses are probably the most universal flower. I think we can owe this to the fact that they are extremely hardy and therefore can be shipped all around the world. In February when people want flowers for Valentine's Day, Roses from the Southern Hemisphere are almost the only choice. I’m not trying to give roses a bad rap, I’m just trying to account for their obscene popularity. Apparently, they didn't used to be that popular until recently. Violets and other such delicate flowers were the choice for a lovers’ posey in Victorian times. But, again, the rising need for transportable flowers drove the rose to the top.
Now, I happen to like roses quite a bit, I promise! I think they deserve to win best in show over many other flowers, but I do dislike the lack of variety in the average imagination. When it comes to flowers, Roses take up more than their fair share of real estate.
Roses have held high status ever since Ancient times. In Ancient Greek and Roman literature alone there are a variety of myths that surround the rose. In one myth, Chloris (or Flora to the Romans), the Greek goddess of flowers and springtime, comes upon a nymph in the woods. Troubled, she breaths on the body and transforms the lifeless nymph into a flower. To this bloom Aphrodite bestows beauty, Dionysus bestows perfume, and the three Graces give charm, joy, and splendor. Aphrodite names the flower Rose, and Chloris presents it to Eros, the god of love.
Roses themselves possess a multitude of meanings, and The Language of Flowers lists many interpretations depending on their color, variety, and even arrangement:
Rose - love
Rose, Austrian - thou art all that is lovely
Rose, Bridal - happy love
Rose, Burgundy - unconscious love
Rose, Cabbage - ambassador of love
Rose, Campion - only deserve my love
Rose, Carolina - love is dangerous
Rose, China - beauty always new
Rose, Daily - thy smile i aspire to
Rose, Damask - Brilliant complexion
Rose, Deep red - bashful shame
Rose, Dog - pleasure and pain
Rose, Guelder - winter, age
Rose, Hundred leaves - pride
Rose, Japan - beauty is your only attraction
Rose, Maiden Blush - if you love me, you will find it out
Rose, Multiflora - grace
Rose, Mundi - variety
Rose, Musk - capricious beauty
Rose, Musk Cluster - charming
Rose, Single - simplicity
Rose, Thornless - early attachment
Rose, Unique - call me not beautiful
Rose, White - I am worthy of you
Rose, White (withered) - transient impressions
Rose, Yellow - decrease of love, jealousy
Rose, York and Lancaster - war
Rose, Full blown placed over two buds - secrecy
Rose, White and Red Together - unity
Roses, Crown of - reward of virtue
Rosebud, Red - pure and lovely
Rosebud, White - girlhood
Rosebud, Moss - confessions of love
Though at times a rose can seem like “just a rose,” there is something almost reverential and ritualistic in the commonality of rose-giving and I love how they have a language all to themselves.
That’s all for now.