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.