The queen of flowers: the rose

There are few flowers better known in the United States than the rose. Roses come in several sizes and different colors. Some are fragrant, while others are more muted in scent. But one thing is certain: roses are always beautiful.

There are dozens of species of roses. While many were born in Asia, there are European, North American, and African roses. This bloom is as ancient as it is gorgeous. According to the Rose Garden at the University of Illinois, fossil evidence suggests that the rose is a whopping 35 million years old! Stop and think about that for a moment. Not one thousand, five thousand, or even a million – but 35 million years old!

Over time, the rose has had several purposes. For instance, during the Roman period, roses had a variety of uses, including healing, perfume, and… celebration confetti! In addition to medicine and glory, roses have been used as something quite different: fighting symbols.

Ever heard of the “War of the Roses?” Between 1455 and 1485, two royal houses battled for England’s throne. The white rose was the emblem for the House of York, while the red rose was a symbol for the House of Lancaster.

However, as bloody as that period of time might have been, roses actually began being cultivated around 5,000 years ago, likely in China. Some sources report more than 41 varieties of blooms were being grown: a high number when you consider the technology of the time.

Today, roses can be shown decoratively, as well utilized for food and drink. Simple syrup can be made using rose petals and jam can be made with both the petals and the hips. Roses are also the subjects of various works of art. We don’t consider this a surprise, when we view the mere existence of the rose as a piece of artwork in and of itself.

A rainbow of expression: rose color meanings

Like the tulip, different rose colors represent different emotions and feelings. Explore the entire rose rainbow with our Color Meaning Guide.

Color meaning guide

Red Roses

Yes, red roses obviously represent love. But they don’t just represent any old love. They represent passion – the kind of love that drives you out of your seat to run ten miles, to pick up your partner and spin them around in a warm embrace, to work your absolute hardest through sweat and tears. Passion can mean romance, but it can also mean work ethic and drive. You can give you sweetheart red roses for an anniversary, but you can also give them to a friend who is about to embark on a challenging task as a token of encouragement.

White Roses

White roses represent secrets untold. White roses are perfect for weddings, baby showers, or any event celebrating something new coming into the world. Secrets sometimes carry a connotation of sneakiness, but often, they’re positive. A secret can mean an adventure we have yet to discover, joys we have yet to partake in. White roses are ideal for marking down these instances of excitement.

Pink Roses

Pink roses are a symbol of gratitude. If someone has been particularly helpful or kind to you lately, consider a bundle of gorgeous pink roses. Pink is often associated with romantic love, but it’s actually romantically neutral, making it ideal to gift to a friend or family member who’s helped you out. Say thank you with pink roses!

Yellow Roses

Similar to yellow tulips, yellow roses represent friendship and cheeriness. Combine yellow roses with pink roses to tell a special companion that you truly appreciate their friendship. Add one white rose to say, “we’ll be going on lots of adventures together!”

Using roses in cooking

Did you know roses are… delicious? That’s right! When used correctly, roses make a wonderful cooking ingredient. However, it’s very important to make sure that before you start cooking with roses, you purchase roses than are pesticide free. Ideally, you can find these at a farmers market, or a grocery store. Chances are, if you’re getting your roses from a florist, they’re not suitable for cooking. However, you can always discuss the details with your florist.

Once you have edible roses, get ready to have some fun in the kitchen!*

Rose Water

Rose water is perfect for pouring over ice cream, making syrup, or enjoying as a refreshing treat!

In a large pot, place a few handfuls of rose petals. Add 1-1.5 liters of water, then cover the pot. Allow the mixture to simmer until around one half of the water has evaporated. Cool the water, strain from the rose petals, bottle, and enjoy!

Rose Simple Syrup

Rose simple syrup can be used in cocktails, for lemonade and iced tea, and in seltzer! Simple and fragrant, this recipe is sure to please.

In a saucepan, boil 2.5 cup of water with 4 cups of sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add 1.5 cups of rose water. Simmer this mixture for another 10 minutes as well. You can also add other elements like citrus zest. Cool, bottle and store. Adapted from a recipe at Epicurious, found here:
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/rose-water-syrup-231917

Rose Petal Jam

Whether on toast or a spoon, rose petal jam is the perfect treat.

Overnight, keep a bowl containing a few handfuls of rose petals, one cup of sugar and ¼ cup lemon juice on your kitchen counter overnight. The next day, combine the mixture in a saucepan on medium heat with another cup of sugar. Wait for that sugar to disappear, turn the heat down to medium low, and simmer for around 20 minutes. Turn the heat right back up to medium-high and let it boil for around 5 minutes. Then stir in 1.75 ounces of powdered fruit pectin and boil for a minute. Cool, store in heat-resistant jars, and enjoy now or later! Adapted from Allrecipes, found here:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/166277/rose-petal-jam/

Remember, even good recipes take some trial and error, so don’t be afraid to experiment with your ingredients, the amounts you use, and the method of cooking. Worst comes to worst, you had fun!

*Note: Do not use BloomsyBox roses for cooking.

Caring for roses

Knowing how lovely they are, we at BloomsyBox understand that you want to preserve your roses for as long as possible. Here’s how to take care of them so they can last you a good amount of time.

Make sure to trim the ends of your rose stems. Additionally, trim away any leaves that will submerge in water upon placement. One trick is to actually trim the roses underwater, in order to keep them hydrated at all times. For best results, snip at a 45 degree angle with garden sheers.

Make sure whatever vase you place your blooms in is thoroughly cleaned vase. Don’t trust that a vase is bacteria free if it’s been sitting on your shelf for a while – give it an additional clean for good measure. Place your roses in the vase and add lots of cold (but not freezing) tap water. Remember to add the complementary flower feed that comes with your BloomsyBox!

Your roses get thirsty, so be aware of when the water is low and add more water regularly in addition to changing the water every few days. For best results, keep your roses in a cooler area of the house, away from direct sunlight. Roses are beautiful no matter where you put them, so you should have no shortage coming up with creative places to display your breathtaking buds.

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