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A Short History of the Roses

A Short History of the Roses
Roses date back to the days of early prehistoric man. It is thought that roses have existed in nature for over 40 million years.
Garden cultivation of roses began some 5,000 years ago, most likely in China.

During the Roman period, roses were grown extensively in the Middle East. They were used as confetti at celebrations, for medicinal purposes, and as a source of perfume. Roman nobility established large public rose gardens in the south of Rome.

Royalty considered roses or rose water as legal tenderDuring the fifteenth century, the rose was used as a symbol for the factions fighting to control England. The white rose symbolized York, and the red rose symbolized Lancaster. As a result, the conflict became known as the "War of the Roses."

The first rosary was believed to be formed in later years in a prayer cycle named a rosary. This rosary consisted of a dense concentration of thorny and flowering shrubs that turned out to be essentially one of the first Rose Gardens. It is also likely that the first rosary beads were created with petals.

all about rosesRoses were in such high demand during the seventeenth century that royalty considered roses or rose water as legal tender, and they were often used as barter and for payments. In the eighteen hundreds Napoleon's wife, Josephine, established an extensive collection of roses at Chateau de Malmaison, an estate seven miles west of Paris in the 1800s. This garden became the setting for Pierre Joseph Redoute's work as a botanical illustrator. In 1824, he completed his watercolor collection "Les Roses," which is still considered one of the finest records of botanical illustration.

Some Interesting Rose Facts

  • On September 23rd, 1986, the House of Representatives passed a joint resolution naming the rose as the "national flower" of the United States. The Senate had passed the resolution in 1985. The measure then went to President Ronald Reagan. He signed the resolution into law on October 7, 1986 in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.

  • The world's oldest living rose is thought to be a thousand years old. Today it continues to flourish on the wall of the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany.

  • The first true primary red rose seen in Europe was Slater's Crimson China, introduced in 1792 from China, where it had been growing wild in the mountains. Immediately, rose breeders began using it to hybridize red roses for cultivation. Ever since, the quest for the elusive perfect red rose has been the Holy Grail of rosarians: a fragrant, disease-resistant, long-lasting, long-stemmed, re-blooming, perfectly formed rose with clear non-fading vivid red colour. Absolute perfection still hasn't been attained, and of course never will!

  • Until the early 19th century dried rose petals were believed to have mysterious powers. Napoleon gave his officers bags of rose petals to boil in white wine, to cure lead poisoning from bullet wounds, Even today, rose water is still used to refresh the hands before a feast or festive greeting, from the Middle East to northern India.

  • The sails of Cleopatra’s ships were soaked with rose water so that "the very winds were lovesick."
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