Roses in literature

Roses in literature

Roses appear frequently in literature, particularly in poetry, often as a metaphor for something else. It is a popular symbol of love, beauty and virtue in poetry, literature, music and art.

It has been reported that when Bob Dylan was asked to name his life’s greatest artistic inspiration, he cited “A Red, Red Rose” by the Scottish bard Robbie Burns and one University in the USA reports that its literary database contains the texts of 1161 poems on roses.

These are just a few examples of the use of roses in literature:

“An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it makes a better soup.”
H.L. Mencken, A Book of Burlesques

“I haven’t much time to be fond of anything … but when I have a moment’s fondness to bestow, most times … the roses get it.

Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone

“My tomb shall be in a spot where the north wind may scatter roses over it.”
― Omar Khayyám

“Beauty and love pass, I know… Oh, there’s sadness, too. I suppose all great happiness is a little sad. Beauty means the scent of roses and then the death of roses-”
― F Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

“You’re beautiful, but you’re empty…One couldn’t die for you. Of course, an ordinary passer-by would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she’s the one I’ve watered…”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

And of course, no literary rose list would be complete without this one, from Shakespeare:

““What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet…”

W Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Rose cultivation tips for August

Encourage the next flowering period, which will commence later this month by removing any old blooms, by cutting the stems back to the first five-leaf formation Continue your spraying programme as particularly this summer has seen a lot of mildew which does no permanent damage to the plants but is unsightly.

Containerised roses can still be planted but selection will be limited. Now is the time to plan ahead by ordering bare root roses, which will be supplied from early November onwards.  As The earlier you order the earlier they will be supplied.  We particularly recommend ordering the New varieties and Standards as soon as possible.  We draw attention to our exclusive rose “My Lovely Friend” which is proving popular fin pre-booked orders, and the Rose of The Year for 2020 “Sweet Honey” was well received at last month’s Hampton Court Roses Festival.

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