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.



 Botticelli,  Primavera

Botticelli, Primavera

The goddess [Flora] replied to my questions, as she talks, her lips breathe spring roses: ‘I was Chloris, whom am now called Flora.
— Ovid, Fasti
Mary Simmons