Language of Flowers: the Rose of June....
How can there be only one month to celebrate what is often considered the queen of all flowers? Because June's birthflower is the Rose.
Surely, one month is not enough.... for a flower which has inspired more poets, more writers, more heart-struck lovers than any other...
Long celebrated as the floral scent above all others, the rose has been cultivated since at least 2350 BCE.
But fossils of roses have been dated to a much earlier time... They have been found in a slate deposit in Colorado, believed to have been formed 40 million years ago.
Fossilised rose remains have also been discovered in Alaska, Norway and as far south as Mexico.
Naturally found only in the northern hemisphere, roses were written about by Confucius in 500 BCE, and painted in Ancient Egyptian tombs around 1500 BCE.
While it is uncertain where the origins of the first cultivated roses occurred, there is no doubt that they were bred by many ancient civilisations, from the Chinese to the Romans, and later, around the 6th century, would form an important part of gardening design to the Persians.
So beloved were the perfumed petals of this plant, that the oft-quoted description of "Queen of the Flowers" was first coined around the end of the 2nd century AD, by the Greek rhetorician, Achilleus Tatios.
It's believed that the Ancient Romans took the rose plant with them in their conquering adventures, planting them wherever they settled, including France & England, possibly the two countries where the rose is most revered & celebrated.
In the Language of Flowers, that secret language of floriography beloved by the romantic Victorians, the meaning of the rose varies according to the flower's colour...
Red Rose = beauty, courage, passion, one true love.
White Rose = innocence, purity, humility.
Pale Pink Rose = desire, energy, youth, love. Pink Rose = perfect happiness, grace. Dark Pink Rose = gratitude.
Orange Rose = fascination, desire, passion. Pale Orange/ Peach Rose = modesty.
Yellow Rose = friendship, apology, broken heart, jealousy, infidelity.
Violet Rose = love at first sight.
Red and Yellow Roses, mixed bunch = excitement, happiness, sheer joy.
So if you wanted to send a message to your lover, saying perhaps, "I have fallen in love with you at first sight and I shall love you forever", you may have gifted a bouquet of violet and red roses.
Interestingly, women sent them to men as much as vice versa.
And while we have perhaps forgotten the specific meanings of these roses, there is no doubt that a single rose, or a huge bouquet, whether gifted or blossoming wildly on the bush, shall forever symbolise love...
...love of another... but also, love of the rose itself.
Truly, the Queen of all Flowers.