All About Red Roses

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, circa 1485
The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, circa 1485 | Source

According to history, the roses will have appeared about 35 million years ago and the first document that refers to their garden cultivation dates back 5,000 years in China.

Since then, you can trace roses history among other early civilizations as the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans and the Phoenicians.These civilizations also traded them what explains their spread through the Middle East and Mediterranean regions.

It was the most revered flower in ancient Egypt, sacred to the goddess Isis and remains of rose wreaths were discovered in Egyptian tombs.

In ancient Greek mythology roses were also the flowers of Aphrodite, that gave birth to the Roman goddess Venus. The Romans used them as confetti at celebrations, for medicinal purposes, and as a source of perfume.

Early Medieval documents also refer roses not only cultivated by monks for medication, but also carried by soldiers coming back from the Crusades.

Stefan Lochner, Madonna of the Rose Bower, c. 1440-42. Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne
Stefan Lochner, Madonna of the Rose Bower, c. 1440-42. Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne | Source

“La Pioggia di Petali di Rose” is the rain of red rose petals coming down from Oculus of the Pantheon in Rome. It symbolizes the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of flames on the day of Pentecost and it dates back to the times of the early Christians.

In the 12th century roses appear in many of the poems of the troubadours representing romantic love for the beloved lady.

Soon it became also the flower of the Virgin Mary, that began to be known as Rosa Mystica. The prayer beads were called rosary that means a garland of roses, in Latin. In the beginning, the rose beads were made of a mixture of cut petals, salt and water heated and rolled up to the desired shape.

The mystic rose appears in Dante's Divine Comedy, where it represents God's love and around those times they also come to represent Christ's passion, and the blood of the martyrs.

There are also several miracles involving roses, known by "Miracles of the Roses" as the ones of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, Saint Casilda of Toledo, Saint Didacus of Alcalá, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Rita of Cascia.

In Architecture, roses also inspired the creation of rose windows such as those of the Gothic Architecture.

'You can be sad that roses have thorns or you can be glad that thorns have roses'

— proverb
The Perfume Maker
The Perfume Maker | Source

By the 12th century, a rose garden become the image of Paradise perhaps because the word paradise means garden in the language of Persia, which was one of the biggest rose producers, exporting flowers and rose water throughout Europe, Asia and North Africa.

The cultivation of rose gardens in Persia dates from 810 BC, in the province of Faristan one of the most important growing regions.

In Islam, the rose symbolizes the soul, flowering among thorns. Believing that the scent can help them to transcend earthy preoccupations, rose oil has been used to anoint the body before prayer by Sufi Muslims of the Rose Crescent.

The rose is also one of the fundamental symbols of alchemy and became the philosophical basis of Rosicrucian alchemy. The red rose is regarded as a masculine, active, expansive principle of solar spirit (Sulfur), where the white rose represents the feminine, receptive, contractive principle of lunar soul (Salt) being also linked to sexual energy.

In alchemy a red rose hung from the ceiling or the Latin phrase “sub rosa” (“under the rose”) indicates secrecy. In the words of Sebastian Brant, a fifteenth-century alchemist : “What here we do say, shall under roses stay.”

The rose is red, the violet's blue,

The honey's sweet, and so are you.

Thou are my love and I am thine;

I drew thee to my Valentine:

The lot was cast and then I drew

,And Fortune said it shou'd be you. 

— Gammer Gurton's Garland, a 1784 collection of English nursery rhymes
"Rosa gallica Pontiana", watercolor by Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840)
"Rosa gallica Pontiana", watercolor by Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840) | Source

The history of women on the Lancastrian side, during the War of the Roses

It was with the Empress Josephine, Napoleon Bonaparte's wife that the roses became very popular in Europe. After Gallica roses, the oldest cultivated species, she collected nearly 250 varieties in her gardens at Malmaison, close to Paris that were immortalized by the famous "painter of flowers" Pierre-Joseph Redouté.

The interest about roses grew enormously and France became an important rose growing and exporting country. Various famous artists like Monet, Cézanne, Renoir or Henri Fantin-Latour (who has a rose named after him) used them as motifs for their paintings.

They have been also used as symbols throughout history like in the War of the Roses, a conflict for the control of the throne of England between 1455 and 1487. The symbols of both rivals were roses, a red rose for the House of Lancaster and a white rose for the House of York.

After May 1968 street protests in Paris, when red roses were used as a badge by the marchers, most Socialist and Social Democratic parties use a red rose as a symbol.

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The color of flowers comes mainly from the pigments in their genes called anthocyanins that attract pollinators like bees, Humming Birds and butterflies. We can find all colors of roses in nature other than a true blue.

Although there are fluctuations in the most sold flowers in the world, the roses always stand between the first three ranking places dealing with billions of dollar values.The interest of growing roses was ever not only for decoration, but also for the production of rose water, essential oils and perfumes. It's interesting to know that it takes 5 thousand Kgs of rose petals to produce 1 liter of essential oil.

Nowadays, offering roses are also a way to express feelings and emphasize words as love, friendship, sorrow, congratulations, courtesy, tribute or honor.
Traditionally, different colors and shades have distinct meanings and the number of offered flowers is also significant.
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Roses in music

Roses In Art

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All photos from wikimedia commonsThe miracle of the roses
All photos from wikimedia commons
All photos from wikimedia commons
The miracle of the roses
The miracle of the roses | Source

Easy recipes to try

If you wish to cook with rose petals, it's important to know that they should have not been grown using chemicals and that they have to be dry when gathered and then washed and allowed to dry completely before use.

- Mix them with anything

Mix the petals with butter, boil them with sugar to get syrups, add the syrup to a good rosé sparkling wine, flavour your cocktails and let your imagination go. Roses are delicious!

Yogurt with Pomegranate, Rose Petals and Nuts

Mash sugar, saffron and yogurt. Separately mix fruits with petals. Alternate layers of both mixtures (the yogurt and the petals with fruits) and top with nuts.

25 striking red roses photos

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the model of India Gate with roses at Lalbagh flower show 2010
the model of India Gate with roses at Lalbagh flower show 2010
the model of India Gate with roses at Lalbagh flower show 2010 | Source
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A thriller by one of the best authors

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Dry Flower Decorations, Potpourri and Crafts

There are different ways to dry flowers at home.

By pressing blooms between book pages, hanging them upside-down in an airy warm place or covering them with silica gel crystals (you can use cat litter).

Microwave can also be used to speed the process by heating the books or the silica containers for around 3 minutes.

When dried you may use them in floral arrangements or potpourri.

To make potpourri, just mix petals with some drops of essential oils and other dried scented stuff like lavender, spices and fruit peels.

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