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How Roses Influence Our Life - Today And Through The Years

Updated on March 4, 2015

The Rose

Who hasn’t drooled over a rose? This universal and much celebrated flower has a fascinating history. The association of roses with love and romance is always evident, however, there’s so much more.

You’ll find roses impact on many areas of your life.

Cleopatra made the most of Roses

Antony and Cleopatra and roses
Antony and Cleopatra and roses | Source

Dedicated Romance


The award for the most extravagant and bizarre use of roses goes to Cleopatra. Hosting a banquet for Mark Antony she covered the floors of her palace with a thick carpet of roses.

Let’s hope the flowers were de-thorned or that Cleo and Tone kept their sandals and clothes on.

In Cleopatra’s boudoir and all around the bed the floor was covered in thick layers of rose petals.

Just as romantic was the mattress filled with rose petals. Unfortunately, I’ve never tried one but it must have been exceptional. After all, we still refer to anything delectable as a bed of roses.

Princess Diana and Roses

Princess Diana and roses
Princess Diana and roses | Source

English Rose

The term English Rose is a term used to define a woman or girl with a traditional and fair complexion who derives from England.

Without doubt, the most memorable English Rose was the late Princess Diana. Who could ever forget Elton’s John’s emotional moment at her funeral service in Westminster Abbey.

Goodbye England's Rose
Goodbye England's Rose.
May you ever grow in our hearts.
You were the grace that placed itself
where lives were torn apart.
You called out to our country,
and you whispered to those in pain.
Now you belong to heaven,

Elton John - Goodbye England's Rose

History

The Romans and Greeks celebrated many euphoric happenings with the rose.

Blooms were scattered beneath the chariot wheels of victorious heroes. The rich and famous had roses engraved on wine goblets.

Traditionally, crowns of roses were placed on the heads of brides and rose petals were showered over the - just married couples.

The Romans used the rose extensively. Successful athletes were showered with roses; surely the origin of the ticker-tape parade?

During a pageant or a feast, rose petals were generously scattered.

Roses were woven into wreaths and draped over tombs.

Wearing a garland of roses was said to prevent intoxication. Don’t try this at home - it definitely doesn’t work! No prizes for guessing how I know.

During orgies, showers of rose petals were scattered to ensure indulgence and exquisite perfume. Presumably this worked but I can’t vouch for it!

White Rose of York and Secrecy

Source

Keeping Secrets

While the red rose speaks of true love, a white rose is considered sacred to silence. The Latin: sub rosa, carved or written under a white rose meant - Sworn to secrecy.

If you wanted to spit out a secret you could do so safely, this is where confidential matters could be discussed, and kept under wraps, never to be revealed. This was the place for a good juicy gossip and a distinct reminder never to spill the beans.

I bet it wouldn’t work today.

Red Rose of Lancaster

Source

The Tudor Rose

Source

War of The Roses


In a very brief overview of history,between 1455 and 1487 the long tumultuous battles between the warring factions of York and Lancaster were fought. Over the years this became known as the War of the Roses. Red for Lancaster, white for York.

The final victory, now remembered as the Battle of Bosworth Field, was claimed by Lancaster and enabled Henry Tudor to claim the throne.

The county of Lancashire is still known as red rose country with the red rose as the emblem. This is my home county and I identify with it in a most nostalgic way.

Curiously, after all the fighting Henry V11 then married Elizabeth of York and merged the red and white rose - The Tudor Rose.

The Beginning

The rose is a universal flower and surely the most celebrated. Botanical records trace back to past centuries while fossilized remains suggest millions of years.

Here are a several legends handed down the generations.

One myth attributes the first rose to Chloris, the Greek goddess

of flowers. When Chloris discovered the body of a young nymph she transposed her into a beautiful flower. Aphrodite is given credit for the splendour of the rose, while Dionysus added the perfume. .

Another Christian legend suggests the Virgin Mary laid her cloak on the red rosebush. The flowers turned white representing virtuousness.

Another legend suggests the Virgin Mary offered roses to St. Dominic.

His acceptance attributes the gift to the first rosary. Apparently the first rosaries were strings of beads made from rose petals tightly pressed together into beads.

Source

Saying it With Roses

By the early nineteenth century the English used roses to convey desires.

A hopeful suitor would present the one he fancied with a rosebud just about to open. If the lass took it and wore it he was in with a chance.

As the romance progressed, the next step was the gift of half-blown rose. Then came the big one – the full-blown bloom. If this was accepted and worn they were off to the altar.

On the down side a withered white rose suggested you shouldn’t waste any more time. Time to look elsewhere.

A full-blown rose placed over two buds suggested hush-hush. An illicit affair was being kept under wraps.

It seems somewhat unusual to advertise an adulterous liaison while trying to keep it quiet.

Fragrance

Attar of rose is one of the most expensive oils in the world. Again there are stories of how the perfume evolved. This is such a beautiful moment – it’s 1582 in Persia, a wedding feast for a Princess marrying an Emperor. In the garden of the wedding feast a canal was dug around the whole estate.

This was filled with rose-water. It was discovered that the heat of the sun separated the water from the natural rose oil. The exquisite perfume was born.

Medicinal and Beauty

In distilled form roses have been included in products for medicinal properties and beauty aids for centuries.

Herbal medicine made from rose petals is said to aid stress, sinus congestion, eating disorders, PMS, ailments of the digestive, nausea, depression, swollen eyes and useful as a gargle for sore throats.

Rose essential oil is said to have, antiviral, anti-bacterial anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Often included in cosmetics, particularly as a moisturizer.

Rose water is used in Middle Eastern/Persian cuisine, sweets like Nougat, baklava, marzipan, gumdrops, ice-cream. I’m personally addicted to Rose Turkish delight.

There’s an old adage that stopping to smell the scent of a rose can help with grief, resentment and anger.

Little wonder when life is hectic we are advised to – stop and smell the roses.

.

Roses and Grape Vines


In vine growing regions, I’m always impressed by how beautiful the roses bushes look at the end of each row.

I recently discovered this lovely tradition also has a reason. Roses are susceptible to the same diseases as vines. If a rose bush shows early signs of problems, fungal leaf infection then the viticulturist can treat the vines, eliminating what may have been a forthcoming problem.

rose petals

Shakespeare and Roses

Quotations from the Bard

What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
Romeo and Juliet (2.2.45-7)

At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows.
Love's Labours Lost (1.1)



What, no more ceremony? See, my women!
Against the blown rose may they stop their nose
That kneel'd unto the buds.
Antony and Cleopatra (3.13.44-6)

I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks...
Sonnet 130

No more be grieved at that which thou hast done:
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud;
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
Sonnet 35


O! how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give.
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour, which doth in it live.
The canker blooms have full as deep a dye
As the perfumed tincture of the roses,

Sonnet 54

The Melbourne Cup

Let’s visit Melbourne, Australia – the first Tuesday in November hails the Melbourne Cup, a respected international horse race.

It’s not just for horses and punters.

Flemington racecourse boasts the largest public Rose Garden in the Southern Hemisphere.

Despite Melbourne’s traditionally unpredictable weather, the roses are always perfect for the week long carnival.

Medicinal and Beauty


In distilled form roses have been included in products for medicinal properties and beauty aids for centuries.

Herbal medicine made from rose petals is said to aid stress,

sinus-congestion, eating disorders, PMS, ailments of the digestive, nausea, depression, swollen eyes and useful as a gargle for sore throats.

Rose essential oil is said to have, antiviral, anti bacterial, anti depressant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Often included in cosmetics, particularly as a moisturizer or perfume.

Rose water is used in Middle Eastern/Persian cuisine, sweets like nougat, baklava, marzipan, gumdrops, ice-cream. I’m personally addicted to Rose Turkish delight.

There’s more – rose hips are used for tea, jam, jelly, syrup, they have a high vitamin C content and are considered an antioxidant.

Rosehips - an antioxidant

Source

Coming Up Roses


There’s an old adage that stopping to smell the scent of a rose can help with worry, resentment and anger.

Little wonder when life is hectic we are advised to – stop and smell the roses.

The ancient Romans grew large rose gardens thought to be as important as orchards, crops and wheat.

Rose - song titles

Moonlight and Roses

Room full of roses

Roses are red my love,

The Rose

Yellow Rose of Texas

Two Dozen Roses

The Colour of Roses

Bed of Roses

Two Dozen Roses

Roses are Red

Paper Roses

The Last Rose of summer

Sweet Kentucky Rose

Where the wild roses grow

Tokyo Rose

Days of Wine and Roses

There are over 110 species of roses and many thousands of cultivars, far too many to document here.

I hope you have roses in your life – put on your rose coloured specs and tell your stories.

Comments

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    • liesl5858 profile image

      Linda Bryen 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      What an interesting hub you have written, Maureen. You know so much about Roses and what they represent. I enjoyed reading it. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That's just about everything a person would ever want to know about roses. :) All rolled up on one neat package. Great information. I can't grow them but I sure do love to smell them. :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      When I downsized about a year ago, I had to leave my rose garden behind. The rose has always been a favorite of mine.

      Very interesting Hub; I never knew that about growing roses in a vineyard.

      Beautiful photos you chose, too.

      Voted Up, etc and shared.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      What a wonderful hub on roses, Maj. I have never read about their history before which is strange. This was so well researched and interesting and I learnt a lot. I had read about the reason they planted rose bushes at the end of grape vines however..an early sign of disease. Well done, voted up.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Hi Linda - thank you for being first to comment today. I'm not a gardener like you but roses are fascinating. I was thinking of my late dad who, when I was growing up, grew many roses, (despite having a small yard.) It was his birthday last week. He taught me much about flowers. Hope you are well, spring on the way, we just turned into autumn ...Best wishes, Maj/Maureen

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Hi Bill - roses seem to impact on day to day lives in some way or another. Yes, nice to stop and smell the roses now and again - good for us. Thank you, appreciate your commenting - Maj

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Hello Mary. How you must miss your roses. I was remembering my late dad and his love of this flower, especially when I was growing up. I hope he'd appreciate this. Thank you for comment, votes and share, much appreciated - Maj

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      John, thank you for such lovely comments. I had some research from some years ago and put it all together. Just remembering Dad growing such beautiful roses when I was a kid. What a flower, I'm impressed with all it offers. Appreciate your comments and votes - Maj

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      My favorite roses are lavender which sometimes my husband gets for me. I especially enjoyed the "saying it with roses"part of this hub. I guess the real trick is whether they continue to say it long after you're married.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Flourish - Oh yes, the real trick is always saying it with roses and hope the romance remains intact. Maybe rose-coloured specs are an answer! Appreciate your comments, thank you, Maj

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I do like roses though they're not my favourite flower (daffodil). I do love the faded pink varieties though, like those in your photo. They're so English!

      I gather a gift of roses can convey a variety of messages depending on the colour; red for love, yellow for jealousy and so on (not sure of the others!).

      Did you know that vineyards often have a rose at the end of each row of vines? Apparently, they are more susceptible to blight and therefore warn of disease before it reaches the vine.

      Great hub with lots of information, Maj. Everyone loves the romantic rose.

      Ann

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I love roses. Maybe because my mother's name was Rose. I have a little rose garden. I enjoyed reading all these interesting facts about roses. It was lovely.

    • Sandra Eastman profile image

      Sandra Joy Eastman 2 years ago from Robbinsdale MN

      Beautiful and interesting hub. Yellow roses sate my personal favorite. I look forward to getting to know you. Thanks for the follow.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Hi Ann, and thank you for commenting, much appreciated. Yes, I knew about the messages of roses - hmmm, think I thought I'd gone far enough. It was just a whim. I did mention the vines though. Amazing plant the rose, so much history. Best wishes, Maj.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Catherine, thank you for such positive comments, roses do help the world go around. So much history - lovely name too - best wishes - Maj

    • profile image

      Kay Readdy 2 years ago

      Thankyou for such a wonderful collection of information about roses. I was particularly moved by the inclusion of Elton John's rendition of 'Candle in the Wind.' Almost too much to absorb. Will have to read this again. And yes, I love the smell of roses - what a pity many modern roses have been bred for lasting ability rather than smell.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Kay - thank you so much for commenting, I'm pleased you were absorbed like me - there's so much to say about roses, they are everywhere in one form or another. Thank you and best wishes...

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This is so beautiful and so interesting!

      A wholesome information about the beautiful and fragrant Roses, their beauty, utility and history. Enjoyed going through this well written and well researched article with lovely pictures to complement with.

      Thanks for sharing and voted up!

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear travmaj,

      Wow. An absolutely beautiful piece of writing. Seriously. Love the graphics, lay-out and text.

      FYI: my Favorite flower is the rose. And my late dad loved Volunteer Roses, a rose we have in the south United States that just pops up and grows on its own every year.

      Thank you for sharing one of the most-beautiful pieces I have ever read.

      Kenneth

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      ChitrangadaSharan - Thank you, I appreciate your lovely comments. Roses certainly have much to offer.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      kenneth avery - hello and thank you for your lovely words. Good to hear your appreciation of roses too. Beautiful flowers with such a history. My Dad was an avid rose gardener despite a small back yard. I can still recall the perfume especially after a summer shower.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 2 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This is such a wonderful hub! I thoroughly enjoyed it! I learned so much from all the interesting in formation you included. The rose is truly a wonderful flower with such a long and glorious history.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, travmaj,

      You are most welcome for me telling you the truth about my dad and our love for roses. Proud to hear about your dad and his gardening.

      Men like your dad and mine were rare and the memories they gave us are priceless.

      Keep up the great work.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      This indeed is one enjoyable read! I'm taking the liberty to link it with one of my old hubs, "A Valentine Special: The Rose~"

      We used to have lots of roses in the old house (front & back yard) and planning to plant as well here in the new place when Springtime comes. Love them!

      Voted up, beautiful, interesting and pinning.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      sgbrown - Sheila, thank you for your comments, appreciate your being here. Yes, roses have much to offer - a beautiful flower indeed.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Enjoyed reading your hub about roses, a new perspective. Informative and useful article. There is so much to a rose than what meets the eye and you have presented it beautifully! Voted up.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Hi again Kenneth - yes, lovely memories of my dad who prompted this piece. We certainly are blessed with these memories.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Hi CrisSp - thank you for your lovely comments and I'm delighted you chose to link my hub with one of yours. Hmm - I'm not accustomed to this procedure - should I reciprocate? I'd very much like to, I'll do some investigating. (in Indonesia right now so time is limited!) Thank you again. Cheers Maj

    • prettynutjob30 profile image

      Mary 2 years ago from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet.

      Beautiful hub, voted up and more, I had no idea that Cleopatra loved roses so much.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Vellur, hello again and thank you for your comments and vote. Yes, roses have so much to offer us and I seem to learn more every day. Thank you.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Hi Mary - appreciate your comments and vote. Yes, Cleopatra used roses in many different ways - and today they are still an influence in our life. Thank you so much...

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      This is a whole lot of information about the rose. Who would have thought there is so much history, beauty, and medicinal value to the rose aside from its lovely fragrance. Wonderful article.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Beautiful tribute to the humble rose. I love roses. My mother was the gardener but my father loved "Heart's Desire" long-stemed, fragrant, red roses so much that he requested mom plant a row of them right under his window. She put them under the dining room window where he always sat and under his bedroom window too. I smile when I think of that because he was such a big "he-man" guy that his love of those roses showed his soft side.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      grand old lady - Hello and thank you. yes, the rose does cover a lot of territory - since I posted this I seem to keep seeing more evidence. Thank you for your lovely comments.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      PAINTDRIPS - thank you and I appreciate your commenting. Yes, my Dad fits your description od 'DAd' too, but much of his spare time was planting and caring for his roses. How lovely your mother planted your Dad his favourite rose right where he could enjoy them. That is such a lovely story.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      So much great information about my favorite flower! Thank you!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Yes stop and smell the roses, of course! lol! never thought of that! How fascinating! nice one travmaj, I learned so much more than I knew, voted up and shared! nell

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      With thanks Audrey - much appreciated and pleased you enjoyed the roses.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Hi Nell - thank you heaps, yes the humble rose has quite a history - thank you for comments and share. Hope you are warming up in the Uk!

      Best wishes...Maj

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I have a special affection for roses. My mother's name was rose. I have a few rose bushes in my backyard garden. I've always heard about the expression, bed of roses, but I never thought about where it came from Cleopatra? Thanks for a great hub. Voted up and ++

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Catherine, That's so special identifying with roses and your mother's name too - just lovely. Yes, roses do seem to play a part in most of our lives one way or another. Thank you for your comments and votes, Maj

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker suzettetaos 2 years ago from Taos, NM

      I love roses and this hub! "Stop and smell the roses." We know how this saying came about. It does help to stop and smell a rose which helps to shift our moody mood to a brighter one. I remember Elton John's song at Princess Diana's funeral - she was the epitome of the 'English Rose.' I love rose water lotion and use it quite often. Thanks for reminding us of all the uses of the rose and its place in history. Great hub!

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Suzzette - thank you for your comments and I'm most happy you smelt the roses with me. Yes, roses appear in all walks of life and have a remarkable history. Best wishes...

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 2 years ago from Great Britain

      Never have I read such a comprehensive article about my favourite flower. I love your joke of hoping thorns had been removed from a floor before Anthony walked in barefoot. The entire article, pictures and video was a pure delight. Thank you.

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 2 years ago from Spain

      Hiya Madge, long time no see.

      I´m a yorkie as you know, but lived in Lancashire for a long time before moving to Spain. We had a conservatory built onto our last home there and I wanted a white rose stained glass window on the main window at the front of the conservatory, this window faced the Golf course and Ribble valley and when the window was installed the man joked it would make a cracking target for the golfers LOL.

      I´m still here in Spain and just getting over the sale of my villa falling through, what a nightmare it´s been and specially as all I want to do is move back to Lancashire and buy a little house in Darwen.

      Hope you are keeping well love xx

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Hello Dim and thank you for such positive comments. I'm delighted this article was so meaningful to you and you grasped my humour! Best wishes...

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Hey Annie - yes I know about you Yorkies (I'm married to one!) That's a fun story re your white rose window. From the opposition, I have to confess, I always know I'm home when I see the red rose sign in Lancashire.

      Sorry to hear of the sale falling through - it must be so frustrating for you - all the expectation and then back to square one. Hope for some good news soon. Yes, all well, hope you are too - best wishes Maj

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 18 months ago from North Carolina

      LOVE THIS HUB! I want to live where I can build a canal infused with roses. Smiles. I always thought roses were such a delicate flower, but I have since learned that in fact, they are quite hardy. To prosper and grow where I live is a testament to that. Definitely pinned and shared.

      Blessings,

      Kim

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 18 months ago from australia

      Hello Kim, lovely to hear from you. Yes, I always thought roses the most delicate of flowers, but I agree, they are hardy and have so much to offer in many ways. Thank you for the pin and share...

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 18 months ago from New Orleans, LA

      A bed of roses sounds really lovely.

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