Ladies and gentlemen, I have yet again made a decision that there is going to be another regular feature on the By Bethany blog. So now, along with the monthly book review, there will also be a flower of the month post, which will help me learn as much as anything else…and so to kick things off I shall begin by discussing possibly the best known, most iconic, and classic flower of all time…the rose.
What I never realised is the depth of the story that lies behind our most beautiful, popular, and supposedly over estimated flower; the Rose or ‘Rosa’ has not only been a symbol of love, beauty, war, and politics, but they are also, according to fossil evidence, 35 million years old! Treasured and adored by many cultures throughout history they were even used as a form of money in the seventeenth century because they were so highly sort after and precious.
Their symbol fills our history, for example the famous ‘War of the Roses’ between the families of York and Lancaster back in the fifteenth century was so named because the rose was the emblem of both houses. They are still, even today used within certain medicines and many perfumes, symbolising innocence and purity, that is before Coco Channel combined it with jasmine to create the famous Chanel No. 5. We even eat them; ever heard of adding rose-water to a cake recipe? Or rose petal sandwiches?…seriously! However you look at it, the rose is a highly integrated part of our culture and industry, and has been for many years, no wonder we all love it so much.
Rose plants range massively, from compact, miniature roses, to climbers that can reach up to seven meters high. They are usually large, showy blooms, what Vic Brotherson calls a leading lady, (isn’t that just the most lovely phrase) and they range in colour from whites, and creams through to pinks, yellows, oranges and reds, there is even a new hybrid variety ‘Happy Birthday’ that’s rainbow coloured!
David Austin cultivates old-fashioned garden roses which now are almost a brand of their own. They don’t tend to last long in arrangements and therefore conditioning when it comes to this flower is essential, they are however often beautifully scented, and so, in my opinion, we’ll worth it. Roses with thinker stems tend to have flatter heads, and are therefore more appropriate to use in a pure rose hand tie for example, as you wont have to force the heads, which can leave you in danger of snapping. It also means they can support themselves better in free-standing arrangements, though I still always make sure the flowers around are supportive or the heads of rose may droop. Due to this tendency it is vital that if using a rose in a button-hole ect that it has been wired, the last thing you want is a limp rose dangling from your chest, not a good look.
Using spray roses is slightly different, they aren’t as formal and I love to use multiple stems of them in hand ties to give a slightly de-constructed effect. I find them equally as romantic and beautiful as single stem roses, and because they’re heads aren’t as heavy they don’t require the same amount of care and attention.
All in all I love the rose in all it’s forms; for me it is the epitome of beauty…now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make a rose sandwich…
(Images from, Pintrest, By Bethany, fadwebsite, fanpop, and the vintage tea party)