Roses have a long and vibrant history. They have been emblematic of love and beauty on one end of the spectrum and war and politics on the others. The flower is found in 150 species, and grows throughout the Northern Hemisphere, from Alaska to Mexico, as well as northern Africa. People began to cultivate them in their private gardens about 5,000 years ago, most likely in China. During the Roman empire, they were used as confetti at parades, to treat a variety of illnesses, and as a base for perfume. The Roman nobility elite established large public rose gardens in the south of Rome which were popular gathering places.
During the fifteenth century, the rose served as a symbol for the two groups warring to control England. The white rose symbolized York, and the red rose symbolized Lancaster. As a result, the conflict became known as the “War of the Roses.” It wasn’t until the late eighteenth century that cultivated roses arrived in Europe from China, and most contemporary ones can be traced back to these varieties. The difference between these roses and those grown earlier included that they were repeat bloomers, making them of great interest to hybridizers. Being able to work with multiple bloom seasons set the stage for breeding work which eventually resulted in hardier, longer lasting roses.
While roses are beloved as a garden flower, they have also evolved to be one of the most meaningful floral gifts. Each year, approximately 110 million roses are purchased across the United States – many of them being this month. The birth flower of June is not only the rose but June the 12th is also designated Red Rose Day. These are both fitting observances, giving the proliferation of weddings in June. Whether you are celebrating a loved one’s June birthday, or simply want to acknowledge them on Red Rose Day, stop into Ah Sam Flowers for a gorgeous selection of roses that they will love.