Friday, 16 July 2010

Book III Excerpt on Roses

I put up this little excerpt from a section in a chapter in Book III concerned with roses and rose-growing. I have just had the nod of approval over its contents from Peter Beales, of Peter Beales' Roses, a great authority on the subject:

"There are different growing styles: standard roses (on one main stalk), shrub roses, climbing roses, rambling roses, and miniature roses; there are heavily scented roses and roses in just about every colour, including darkest of dark crimson, near-black, but excepting green.

The scent of roses is known to most of us and I can distinctly recall pushing my infant face into the dewy heads of big, velvety, crimson rose blooms of the then fairly new Josephine Bruce, inhaling deeply and wondering at the marvellous scent of them. For long, people have cultivated roses for their appearance and their natural perfume (as well as their precious, essential oil, attar of roses); their medicinal and their nutritional properties, to be found in their growing shoots, their petals and their hips. The Romans lay and dined under pergolas and in arbours of roses, when secrets might be disclosed in confidence and things said "sub rosa" are still treated as confidential. The remembered expression is the Latin for "under the rose" but there is also evidence to suggest that the Greeks observed the same convention, deriving from Aphrodite's gift to Eros of a rose as a prompt to the reign of silence over the indiscretions of the gods. The ancients also floated rose petals in their wine and scattered rose petals on the floor at feasts; to maintain good humour and seemly behaviour and Cleopatra's palace was habitually carpeted with rose petals. Amongst others, the Indians scatter rose petals before a bride and over the marriage bed.

Roses may adorn any occasion, from a joyful engagement to the wedding, on then to a birth; the Christening; birthdays; anniversaries, and, as symbols of the hope and joy of the resurrection, they even lighten grief and sorrow on the deathbed and at funerals. In short, of all flowers, roses are never, the world round, out of place, misunderstood or unwelcome
." In the picture is a Chloris rose.


  1. I know I sound redundant, but as always great reading and fascinating information. Although it's obvious in retrospect, sub rosa, never twigged as under roses. Thanks......HGB

  2. HGB - I am very pleased to read comments and feedback.