The Rose a publication by the Royal Horticultural Society with Classic Texts and Beautiful Rare Prints was a lovely Christmas gift to receive. The Rose joins a growing number of books that I have on gardening and ancient myths.
I am writing about gardens and flowers and myths and the Ancient World in my WIP. The story grew from a visit by my daughter to Elizabeth’s Bookshop in Perth, Western Australia. She found pressed flowers between the pages of a book and suggested to me that it was a good premise for a novel. Some of her other suggestions have ended up in my dual narrative story (an artist’s sketchbook is one of them). My story is set in southwestern Australia and also in the Tumut Valley in New South Wales.
Pliny is the major source from antiquity, describing fourteen sorts of roses, while passages from Columella, Palladius and others yield supplementary information.
Rosa damascena or the damask rose is a descendent of Rosa gallica. This particular rose is popular for its fragrance and since its first appearance in 900 B.C., it has been an integral part of the history of roses. Some time around 50 B.C., the Romans were thrilled with a North African rose variety named Rosa damascena semperflorens, also known as the ‘Autumn Damask’, which flowered twice every year. The Romans were not aware of this attribute of the ‘Autumn Damask’ till then. This variety is thought to be a hybrid developed from Rosa gallica and Rosa moschata, also called the musk rose, and said to have its origin in the fifth century B.C.
Roses are also much loved in fairytales.
Flora was the Roman Goddess of Spring
The world of gardens is fascinating and in my WIP I am working on bringing an abandoned garden to life. Of course there are also family secrets, romance, and mysteries to be solved.
All the very best for a creative and happy 2017.
6 responses to “Roses of the Ancient World”
Roses have a special place in my love for flowers. I enjoyed reading this article Elise.
Thanks so much, Bianca.
Elise, like you, I love roses. Perhaps you already know about the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall – a wonderful place to visit. Does Pliny mention Cleopatra’s rose gardens and perfumery?
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Diana, yes, I do know about the Lost Gardens of Heligan. I will have to catch up with you and discuss them as you have been lucky enough to visit. Not sure about Pliny but one for me to look up. Thanks again for your comment. I love your blog posts.
I love the information on roses. I love visiting gardens and always take so many photos of roses and flowers in general.
Yes, I do too! There is nothing like a garden and I love writing about them.
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