Keira Roses - David Austin RosesThis month everything is rosy… literally! As roses are at their peak of bloom in June it seems only fitting for it to be National Rose Month. The rose is beloved year round, yet it seems appropriate to give it some extra attention in June. So loved is the rose by Americans, that President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the rose as our National Flower in 1986.

“Roses are red…violets are blue” is a quote familiar to all of us, yet until 1800 all cultivated roses in Europe were shades of white or pink. The beloved red rose first came from China the beginning of the 19th century. Unusual green roses arrived a few decades later. A Frenchman by the name of Joseph Pernet-Ducher is credited with the discovery of the yellow rose around 1900, and we have had yellow and orange roses ever since. Intensive cultivation has revealed all of the remaining colors, except blue or black. Black is considered less than an attractive rose color, but the pursuit of the blue rose has been likened to the “Holy Grail.” Many have tried but none have truly succeeded. Progress has been made, and the quest continues.

Amaryllis Designs_Eli Turner_ Quicksand RoseI mention the colors of roses because we are not only interested in the beauty of their magnificent hues but we also equate meaning with many of the rose colors. This practice reached its peak during the 19th century in Victorian England when young women and their suitors communicated through nosegays and bouquets. Although much of that language has disappeared today, red roses are still a favorite among lovers. A short list might look like this:

  • Red roses – love, passion, beauty courage
  • Pink roses – gratitude, admiration, grace
  • White roses – innocence, humility, reverence
  • Yellow roses – joy, gladness, friendship
  • Orange roses – enthusiasm, desire

DavidAustin_Patience RoseAll of this symbolism is of course subjective. There are hundreds of published lists and they all vary according to the interpretation of the author. The language of flowers is certainly not a true science by any means yet the beauty of the rose, regardless of its color, brings beauty and enjoyment where ever it appears.

Roses are not only a favorite on Valentine’s Day, but used to celebrate occasions year round — from anniversaries to graduations, birthdays and sometimes just because. There are new varieties available every year, making it often difficult to keep up with all of the popular colors.

Weddings love roses, and I would guess that roses are used in the majority of wedding celebrations either by themselves or incorporated with other types of flowers. For example, “Quicksand, Mother of Pearl, Faith, Free Spirit and Tiffany, just to name a few, are several varieties that are being used fairly regularly this season.

Amaryllis Designs-RoesPetalsWeddingAisleGarden roses are also trending very strongly for weddings and not just for the bridal bouquet. These fragrant blooms are chosen for centerpieces, pew decorations and many other floral designs for today’s bride. Patience and Keira are two beautiful varieties that have been popular for the 2016 season. Many of these garden roses look just like peonies, which only increase their appeal as the peony is probably another one of the most sought after wedding flowers. Standard roses in many cases have been bred for durability and longevity, which has affected their fragrance, as many of today’s most popular roses don’t have very much fragrance. The garden rose has a much shorter vase life than a standard rose and its fragrance is lovely.

One of the most fascinating characteristics of a rose of any color is that it is so wonderful when broken into pieces. When it comes to rose petals, whether just a few sprinkled on a romantic “dinner for two” table or elaborately arranged down the aisle in an attractive pattern for a summer wedding, each petal is just as loved as the rose itself.

What do roses mean to you?