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  Rose Meanings
  Roses and Their Meanings

Red means love, passion and tradition;

White connotes truth, honesty and sincerity;

Pink means devotion,

Yellow friendship and

Lavender enchantment; give

Gold roses and it implies everlasting love;

White roses with red tips show joy and happiness;

Yellow roses with red tips show obsession; and

Green roses express a wish for good luck.

Peach means affection.

Orange means powerful friendship.

Black means death or money.

"It was roses, roses all the way." - Robert Browning

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose; By any other name would smell as sweet." - William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 2 scene 2


Roses have a long and colorful history. According to fossil evidence, the rose is 35 million years old. Today, there are over 30,000 varieties of roses and it has the most complicated family tree of any known flower species.

The cultivation of roses most likely began in Asia around 5000 years ago. They have been part of the human experience ever since and mentions of the flower are woven into a great many tales from the ancient world.

Greek mythology tells us that it was Aphrodite who gave the rose its name, but it was the goddess of flowers, Chloris, who created it. One day while Chloris was cleaning in the forest she found the lifeless body of a beautiful nymph. To right this wrong Chloris enlisted the help of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who gave her beauty; then called upon Dionysus, the god of wine, who added nectar to give her a sweet scent. When it was their turn the three Graces gave Chloris charm, brightness and joy. Then Zephyr, the West Wind, blew away the clouds so that Apollo, the sun god, could shine and make the flower bloom. And so the Rose was'

Cultivated roses were not introduced into Europe until the late eighteenth century. These introductions came from China and were repeat bloomers, making them of great interest to hybridizers who no longer had to wait once a year for their roses to bloom.

Some commentators have used the term ...perpetual flowering' but this can be misinterpreted and used too literally. ...Parson's Pink China', ...Slater's Crimson China'', Hume's Blush Tea-scented China' and Parks' Yellow Tea-scented China' - the first cultivated varieties - opened up a new vista of roses with a modern classical shape, a true crimson color with a very pale hint of the early yellows and a repeat -flowering performance. The Far East became the birthplace of the Modern Garden Rose, and the rest is history.

Well before the Christian era, the transportation of useful plants had played an essential part in the expansion of civilizations. The sprawling Roman Empire together with the excursions of Alexander the Great in Asia introduced many species never seen before in the Middle East and Europe. The dog rose (rosa canina), for example, was long thought to be a native of Britain, but was in fact brought there by the Romans.

By about AD 1200 the first five groups of domesticated roses had already begun to evolve in cultivation: Albas, Centifolias, Damasks, Gallicas and Scots Roses.

From this introduction, experts today tend to divide all roses into two groups. There are "old" roses (those cultivated in Europe before 1800) and "modern roses" (those which began to be cultivated in England and France around the turn of the 19th century).

Until the beginning of the 19th century, all roses in Europe were shades of pink or white. Our romantic symbol of the red rose first came from China around 1800. Unusual green roses arrived a few decades later.

Bright yellow roses entered the palette around 1900. It was the Frenchman Joseph Permet-Ducher who is credited with the discovery. After more than 20 years of breeding roses in a search for a hardy yellow variety, he luck changed when one day he simply stumbled across a mutant yellow flower in a field. We have had yellow and orange roses ever since.