This year, for all its faults, has been a very good year for blossom. Almost everything in our locality has really pulled out all the stops and worked hard to fill every spare space with blooms. Wild Roses are a case in point. The hedgerows are splattered with white and pink with no thought for propriety, or even perspective.
Roses specialise in scent and symbolism – and often in both. It is quite probable that the rose was first recognised for its olfactory capabilities over a thousand years ago in Persia. Persia is long gone, but before they went, the Persians assimilated Bulgaria into their empire and the centre of ‘roseness’ moved out to the colonies. Even today Bulgaria is still big in roses. It takes a bit more than two thousand rose flowers to produce a gram of the end product.
Naturally, we’ve used the rose to represent whatever was fashionable at the time, so it has had a long and chequered symbolic past. My friend Google called my attention to one that he found interesting. In the, fairly recent, past the rose meant confidentiality, so a rose was often hung over the dinner table to reassure diners that everything said would remain private. Even today, we call a ceiling ornament a rose – even if it’s just the fitting that holds up the electric light.