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Roses: The Language of Love

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Roses: The Language of Love

by Mark Whitelaw

 

More than 1.2 billion cut roses are purchased in the U.S. every year. This means (if my third grade math teacher was correct) every man, woman and child in this country should receive 4.8 roses sometime during the year. I haven't received mine yet. Have you?

Hang on! We still have a chance!

The single biggest sales day for "The World's Favorite Flower" is Valentine's Day. (In case you were wondering, Mother's Day is a distant second.) That's right! On February 14th, 1.3 million roses will be delivered as a tangible expression of words unspoken. And although other flowers will be delivered, the language of love is still the rose -- accounting for almost 40% of all Valentine's Day gift sales.

Although red roses are the color of choice on Valentine's Day, other colors can be given or arranged to create quite a statement.

So how's your rose syntax? Here are some tips that might get you out of the "dog house." Be careful, though. The wrong "words" may just put you into one!

'Nur Mahal' (c. M. Whitelaw)Red roses can really throw you for a loop! According to the American Rose Society, they are the modern day expression of the sender's love and respect. This has not always been the case, however.

In Greek mythology, the red rose represents desire and passion when Aphrodite spills drops of blood onto a white rose while trying to help her wounded lover, Adonis. Throughout ancient Christendom, the red rose symbolizes the blood and agony of the crucifixion of Jesus. In ancient Persian mythology, a nightingale's self-inflicted breast wound turns a white rose red, changing colors because of the bird's egocentricity. And if the petals fall from a fresh cut red rose in an English garden, bad luck soon follows... or so the superstition goes.

'Old Blush' (c. M. Whitelaw)Pink roses symbolize grace and gentility in modern rose vocabulary. The pink rose also represents pain, suffering and death in Roman mythology when Apollo turns Rhodanthe into a rose after she unsuccessfully tries to unseat Diana, his sister, as the goddess of the hunt and the protectress of women.

The various tones of pink can mean different things, too. Deep pink roses say "thank you" by symbolizing gratitude and appreciation, while light pink roses convey admiration and sympathy.

White roses symbolize reverence and humility. In medieval Christian Europe, Mary is represented by a white rose as a symbol of her purity. In Wales, white roses represent innocence and silence, and are often placed on the grave of a young child. In some native American cultures, the white rose symbolizes security and happiness and, hence, is traditionally worn at weddings.

Red and white roses, arranged together or white roses edged in red, speak of unity. The Tudor Rose, a graphic design created by King Henry VII in 1485, is a red rose laid atop a white - symbolizing the unification of the Houses of York and Lancaster and thus ending the War of Roses.

'Graham Thomas' (c. Corel Ltd.)Yellow roses signify joy, gladness and freedom in the modern rose lexicon. In Islamic folklore, however, they symbolize deceit, treachery, and adultery.

If red roses are arranged with yellow roses or blossoms contain both red and yellow coloration, they express gaiety, joviality and happiness.

Orange roses are often a genetic blend of reds and yellows, and therefore represent a blend of symbols -- enthusiasm and desire.

Some roses blend pinks and yellows into beautiful pale tones within the same bloom, signifying sociability and friendship.

All things said, the rose is still the expressive choice of lovers around the world. I'll remember that... when I get my 4.8 this year!

10 Steps to Beautiful Roses

The rose has inspired artists, writers, and composers for centuries. Now you can join the ranks of those inspired gardeners who cultivate roses in their own garden. Whether you’re a novice gardener wanting to know the basics or a seasoned horticulturalist looking for tips on improving your blooms, the author’s expert advice offers all the know-how you’ll need.

 

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