For many of us, the act of gardening brings us closer to nature by getting us outdoors and allowing us the opportunity to tend and grow objects that in the absence of our assistance would not be able to survive, let alone thrive. There is a special connection between the growers of roses and their plants, however, which seems to go even beyond the basic instincts of the traditional gardener.
The first reason that roses can be such an addictive plant is the roots it has in our culture in the form of myth and symbolism. The same reason we are addicted to rose gardening is the same reason we are willing to pay a ridiculous amount for a single flower or bunch on Valentine’s Day- nothing in our society communicates more than the rose. This cultural phenomenon has been a part of western heritage for longer than anyone can trace. The rose was considered a flower of romance in ancient China, where it was first developed, and was used throughout the Roman Empire. British history is full of roses in every context- the theater where Shakespeare’s plays were put on was known as the rose, and some of the most distinguishing events in British history occurred during the long “War of the Roses”. Roses were not actually introduced to Europe in the cultivated style until the late 1700s, when they arrived from China.
Perhaps some of the addiction we have in cultivating roses stems in part from the same areas that our ancient forefathers found so appealing. Many roses have a very distinctive scent, and the shape of the rose is certainly unique enough in itself to warrant extensive cultivation and appeal. (Rose petals in a bowl are a natural deodorizer for the bathroom) Roses can also be found in many different colors and varieties, and there is symbolism attached to every colour that roses can be found in- red, of course, symbolizes love, but did you know that pink roses carry a message of gratitude, while yellow represent joy?
Roses also represent a singular species which can manifest itself in a variety of styles, and therefore a rose gardener really needs only to focus on rose types to bring all the variety to the appearance of her lawn and garden that could be wished for. Roses can be planted in the miniature style, as bushes, and as climbers. As has been noted above, roses are also available in several different colors which will add to the overall diversity in appearance of your garden. Roses are also available in petals of many different sizes to further add diversity to your landscaping. Species roses grow hips that are colorful and last well into the winter, and can add a further sprinkle of uniqueness to your landscaping by attracting birds throughout the winter months. (Rose hips are also packed with Vitamin C.)
Lastly, roses require as little or as much attention as the gardener wants to put in. Pruned bushes look ideal, but roses are also beautiful when allowed to grow freely. Roses also tend to be very hardy and resistant to diseases. The soil composition needs not have too many considerations, and the ground cover is totally up to the gardener.
Growing roses can be an addicting experience because of their history, their beauty, their variety, and their maintenance. Once a person dedicates their garden space to the cultivation of roses, the possibilities are limitless.
- My little garden rose (violetgallery.wordpress.com)
- June is National Rose Month (thegardendiary.com)
- Flower Photos: The Beautiful Rose (livescience.com)
- A Rose A Day: Madame Hardy (thegardendiary.com)