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  • Writer's pictureMay

Profile: The Rose

The rose is, without question, the most beloved (and most purchased) flower in the world. It comes in a variety of colours, has an intoxicating smell, and is practically synonymous with love and romance. These are all things we know, but let’s talk about some of the lesser known facts about the Queen of the Garden.

There are many varieties

There are over 150 species of roses, and thousands more when you consider hybrids. Some are grown as shrubs, some are climbers, and all of them are beautiful. Though the categories of roses are a subject of debate (what isn’t these days!), the most commonly acknowledged categories include: Wild Roses, Heirloom (or Old Garden) Roses, and Modern Roses.

They are incredibly old

When we talk about roses being a classic flower, we mean it. There are rose fossils that date back 35 million years, and the oldest living rose, in Germany, is over a 1000 years old and has survived being bombed in the war! Roses are found in the written and oral histories of societies throughout the world, and are included in paintings as early as 1600BC, in Crete.

Each colour has a different meaning

When most people think roses, they think red, or maybe pink. But roses come in just about every shade imaginable. Red, as most people know, denotes love and romance. If you want to give roses to a friend, yellow might be a better choice. White roses signify new beginnings, which is another reason to include them in a wedding bouquet. Enthusiasm and congratulations might best be signified with orange roses. A soft peach colour would help to convey sincerity and gratitude.

The rose as a symbol

Our neighbours to the south picked this flower as their national bloom in 1986; our friends in England chose it as their national flower in 1485 (giving them significant dibs, I’d say). And of course, the wild rose is our provincial flower in Alberta as well, starting back in 1930. But the rose has significance in Buddhist, Suffism and Islam, Christianity and Greco-Roman religions, making it one of the most enduring symbols we have.

Roses can be very expensive

Although we would never raise our prices to this level, the most expensive rose in history sold for 15.8 million dollars in 2006. Of course, it also cost creator David Austin a reported $5 million and 15 years to create the rare hybrid, the Juliet rose. But that one rose variety isn’t his most lasting legacy. Many brides specifically request David Austin roses for their bouquets. He has bred over 20 varieties of the popular blooms, and his place as a prominent garden rose creator is well-established (which is why his roses cost about $13 each, compared to the $4 tea rose).

Tell us – what do you love most about the rose?

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