Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose

The first rose of the year greeted me in the drive today when I arrived home on a plant my mother gave me in a pot last year. The delicate mauve/blue 'Rhapsody in Blue' is the most fragrant bloom and evocative of childhood memories of standard roses in the tiny front garden of my Victorian home in Cottingham, East Yorkshire.

When I moved into my current house, the front garden had about twenty uncared for rose bushes and there were dozens in the back garden, tall, straggled and diseased from years of neglect. I took them all out because we had kids and I didn't want them to be hurt. Today, I just have three roses, two small climbers and the rose in the pot.

The rose is important to me because I was brought up with fragrant roses around the garden and even today, I often try to imagine the unique smell when I meditate and walk through imaginary gardens in my mind.

Of course closer to home, being a Yorkshireman, the white rose of the county (from the House of York) represents my roots in the same way a red rose represents someone from our friendly rival county, Lancashire (the House of Lancaster). Hence why, when the Yorkies thrashed the Lancashire lads in the fifteenth century civil war, it was called the War of the Roses. Henry the Seventh, clever lad who stopped the civil war joined the two roses together to form the Tudor Rose. Wikipedia has a very interesting article on it.

Roses have important symbolic significance for others, it's the national flower of the UK and the USA and a red rose is often used for socialism.

Shakespeare wrote prose about roses, Romeo and Juliet of course:
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

A line from Robert Burns poem A Red, Red Rose:
O, my love's like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June

Sacred Emily, the Gertrude Stein poem carries the well known phrase (the original first Rose is the name of a person):
Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.

You can be a rose between two thorns, (a nice person in between two rogues), or perhaps part of a Valentines Day poem, Roses are red, violets are blue... (put your own ending).

A rose of course makes lovely perfume and I found this limerick to stick with the theme today:

The bottle of perfume that Willie sent,
Was highly displeasing to Millicent.
Her thanks were so cold
They quarrelled, I'm told,
Through that silly scent Willie sent Millicent!

Chat soon



  1. I love the uber-old fashioned rugosa roses. They're classed as a herb in some places, so have lots of uses, but I mostly like the rose hips left behind in the autumn for the birds to feed on. I'm not a big fan of massive, blousey, hybrid roses, but I do like our natural, olde-worlde varieties.

  2. Hi Diane - and the hips make excellent wine which is also a tonic - nature is marvellous. The olde worlde varieties are so good and long lasting and you can still find them about in unexpected places.