“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare.
While I live near the City of Roses, Portland, Oregon, nothing says roses quite like the roses of England. Roses have long been synonymous of beauty and love and with English history. The ancient world of Cleopatra and Mary, mother of Jesus had already given the rose its value as symbols of love and beauty. So from the 12th century and perhaps even before, the symbolism of the rose was becoming apparent in Britain. By the time of the English Wars of the Roses in the 15th century, the red rose symbolized the house of Lancaster, while the house of York took the white rose. The famous Tudor rose was an amalgamation of both as Henry VII married Elizabeth of York. Queen Elizabeth I took on the white rose as an emblem of her virginity and is often seen in paintings with a white rose represented somewhere in the picture. Thus it was that the beautiful rose became a major symbol of England and remains England’s national flower to this day. Pics today are of a cabbage rose, old-fashioned rose, English wild rose and the famous multi-petaled Elizabethan rose.
Fun Tip: To see some old varieties of rose visit the Elizabethan garden at Kenilworth Castle, preferably in June or later. This is the most complete Elizabethan garden in the world…it even has an aviary!
For more info see English Heritage here, and history of the rose here.
Roses Notecards here
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