Rose Dictionary

Find all important descriptions in our rose dictionary. For more info on diseases search under Rose Care.

A horizon

The uppermost layers of soils consisting of partly decomposed plant remains and relatively fresh leaves and other plant debris; the surface mineral layer, high in organic matter and dark in color; and the lighter colored layer where leaching of solutes and suspended materials occurs.


(adj. abscissile)

The normal shedding of leaves, flowers or fruit from a plant at a special separation layer, or abscission zone.


Auxiliary, subsidiary; as the parts of a flower beyond the necessary male and female organs, such as petals and sepals.

Accessory bud

Accessory Buds which are at or near the nodes but not in the axils of the leaves.

Accessory organs

Parts of a flower that are not directly connected with male and female organs, e.g., petals and sepals, etc.


Stems which lack joints or nodes.


Having no seed leaves, or cotyledons.


Describes leaves with two or more primary or strongly developed secondary veins running in convergent arches towards the apex. Arches not recurved at base.

See also: brochidodromous, eucamptodromous, semicraspedodromous.


Describes flowering seasonal shoots which produce leaves below the inflorescence.

See also: basitonic.


Without leaves.


Apogamy where sexual union is not completed, yet the embryo is produced from the inside layer of the female gametophyte.


Originating from outside a system, such as the leaves of terrestrial plants that fall into a stream. See also: autochthonous.


Describes leaves that are not opposite to each other on the axis, but arranged singly at different heights.


Sexual reproduction; the joining of parental characters.


(alt. ampulla, adj. ampulliform, adj. ampullaceous)

A hollow flasklike organ shaped like a bladder or squat round bottle; e.g., the traps and floats such as those found on the leaves of Nepenthaceae or Utricularia.


Of an inflorescence composed of both staminate and pistillate flowers. 2. With antheridia and archegonia in the same cluster of leaves, i.e., either synoicous or paroicous.


The minute reproductive body, which gives rise to the (often exceedingly obscure) male plantlet in the sexual generation.


Narrow leaves.


Refers to paired leaves which are different in size or shape, common in trailing stemmed gesneriads.


The upper portion of a stamen which contains the pollen sacs.


Sperm, male gamete; one of the minute organs developed in an antheridium.


A fungus that forms grayish/whitish spots on leaves and stems.


Aphids come in almost every colour, from green to yellow, pink, brown, black and especially the purple red colouring of the young leaves and shoots of the rose.

An increased activity of aphids on roses coupled with an excretion of honeydew brings about sooty mould. The sugary sap encourages the growth of the Soot fungus, which blackens the leaves causing reduced photosynthesis. To get rid of the sooty mould one needs to spray insecticide to kill the aphids and simply wash the leaves with a strong jet of water a few times.

It is known that the first aphids were busy on leaves during the carbon age some 270 million years ago. Evolution took place with the appearance of the flowering plants.


Refers to herbal preparations that can stimulate sexual desire.


Without leaves.

Apical Meristem

Non-maturing cells located at the tips of shoots and roots which produce the plant hormone auxin.


Curved gently outward and then downward; generally said of stems, large leaves, and floral clusters.


A nontechnical term that refers to the way things are put together, e.g., an inflorescence may be described by the arrangement of the flowers, or leaves can be arranged opposite or alternate.


Lacking sexual characteristics as in a sterile ray floret; or when referring to reproduction, occurring without the fusion of egg and sperm.


The ‘ear-like’ projection found on the tip of the stipule.


Small lobes at the basal angles of the leaf, usually consisting of cells differing in size, shape, or both from those of the main part of the leaf. Properly used only when there is an outward curve in the outline of the leaf at the base, but often used loosely to denote the basal angles of widely decurrent leaves.


(alt. autocious)

1. Refers to parasites which pass all stages of their life cycle on or within the same host, like certain rust fungus.

2. Having male and female organs on the same plant. See also: heteroecious.


A plant hormone that regulates the bloom cycle for rose buds.


The main line of growth in a plant or organ, e.g., the stem, from which the other parts such as the leaves and flowers grow.


Describes a plant that is prepared for transporting by removing all the soil around its roots.


(alt. basilar)

1. Growing from the base of a stem; used in reference to leaves at the base of the stem. 2. One of the main canes of a rose bush, originating from the bud union. 3. Describes cells at the base or insertion of the leaf, often of different shapes and colors from those of the main part of the leaf.

Black spot

Black spot (alt. blackspot) is one of the most common and important diseases of roses throughout the world.

It is caused by the fungus Diplocarpon rosae. Black spot will cause a general weakening of the plant so that progressively fewer and fewer blooms are formed if the disease is left unchecked due to loss of foliage. Plants so weakened are increasingly subject to winter injury.


An insect larva that tunnels into stems and trunks of shrubs, trees, etc.


1. A more or less modified leaf subtending a flower or belonging to an inflorescence, or sometimes cauline.

2. The similar structure in cryptogams surrounding reproductive organs.


Describes leaves with pinnate venation in which the secondary veins do not terminate at the margins but rather are joined in a series of prominent arches. See also: acrodromous, eucamptodromous, semicraspedodromous.

Bundle scars

iny, somewhat circular dots within the leaf scar, caused by the breaking of the fibrovascular bundles which run through the petioles into the blades of the leaves.


A shrub, especially one that is low and thick with many stems rather than a single trunk.

Capillary water

The part of soil water which is held cohesively as a continuous layer around particles and in spaces, most of it being available to plant roots.


The larvae of butterflies and moths, which often feed on leaves.


Beetles that attack plant roots as larvae and leaves as adults.


(adj. chlorotic)

A yellowing of the leaves, reflecting a deficiency of chlorophyll and caused by waterlogged soil or a lack of nutrients, often iron.


(syn. cirrhate)

Applied to leaves which curl up in drying. Cirrate leaves are more regularly curled than crispate leaves.


The union of parts or organs of the same kind.


Comal tuft, a tuft of leaves at the tip of a stem or branch.


A flask-like structure containing reproductive organs.


(syn. seed leaf)

One of the first leaves to appear after germination (there may be one, two, or more); the foliar portion of the embryo as found in the seed. See also: true leaf.


In roses, the region of the bud union; the point near soil level where the top variety and the understock are joined


Soil-living brownish caterpillars that feed at night, often severing stems of herbaceous plants.


Any of various plant growth hormones, such as kinetin, that grow and promote cell division and delay the senescence of leaves.

Deep Watering

Inundating an area with water for a long period of time, perhaps 24 hours or more, to permeate the deepest layers of subsoil, thereby pulling roots down where they will not easily perish from drought.


A chemical substance which causes a plant to drop its leaves.


(n. defoliation)

1. To cause the leaves of a plant to drop.

2. To remove the leaves of a plant.


Twice grafted. The plant consists of the rootstock, an intermediate scion, and the upper scion

Downy Mildew

Downy mildew refers to any of several types of oomycete microbes that are obligate parasiteof plants. Downy mildews exclusively belong to Peronosporaceae.

Downy Mildew is not as widespread and much more dependent on ideal temperatures and moisture conditions to cause devastating results on roses.

Drip Line

The line that could be drawn on the ground under a tree beneath the outermost tips of the branches. Rain flows off the tree at this point, so it is the area where roots congregate and the best point to place fertilizer, water, etc.

Drip Point

(alt. drip-point, alt. drip-tip)

1. A leaf tip with an extension–acuminate, caudate, aristate–from which water drips during wet conditions.

2. A long drooping tip on leaves, particularly those of rain forest trees.


The stem of a seedling between the cotyledons and the first true leaves.


An organism that grows on leaves. See also: epiphyte.

Facultative Apomict

A plant that can reproduce either sexually or asexually (apomixis.)


An abnormal flattening or coalescence of stems or leaf stalks.


Any partial reversion of the effects of a given process to its source, such as leaves falling to the ground and furnishing calcium for uptake by the roots of the plant.


The reproductive structure of a flowering plant consisting of a pistil and/or stamen, and usually including petals and sepals.


The leaves of a plant taken collectively.

Foliar Diagnosis

Evaluation of the nutrients in a plant, or the plant nutrient requirements of a soil, by analyzing the leaves.

Foliar Feeding

(alt. foliar fertilizing)

The process whereby plants are fertilized by application of liquid onto the leaves rather than through the soil.

Folic Acid

(syn. pteroylglutamic acid)

A member of the B vitamin complex, found mostly in the leaves of plants.


The act or organs of fruiting.


1. The formation of drops of water on plants from moisture in the air.

2. The exudation of liquid water from the uninjured surface of a plant leaf.

3. The process of water being exuded from hydathodes at the enlarged terminations of veins around the margins of the leaves


1. The process of gradually taking plants into a harsher environment, e.g., from the hothouse to the garden.

2. The term can also mean sustaining a plant from summer to winter, which may include a three-staged process:

1) phytochrome clocks signal the shortening days with a color change.

2) Growth ceases, carbohydrates are transported to the roots, and abscisic acid forms at the union of leaf and stem, dropping the leaf and healing the wound. The dropped leaves serve as mulch and protect the roots from excess cold in the winter, while cell walls toughen.

3) A smooth ice forms around the cells without rupturing them, a process called vitrification.


The closed and ripened receptacle of a rose which contains the seed.


Refers to organs or parts that are similar in form or function.


Describes a flower which contains only one set of sexual organs, either stamens or pistils.


Describes a stipule located between the petioles of two opposite leaves.


Refers to the relative placing of organs.

Leaf (pl. leaves)

A usually flat, green structure of a plant where photosynthesis and transpiration take place and attached to a stem or branch.

Leaf Blight

Any of various diseases which lead to the browning and dropping of a plant’s leaves

Leaf Bud

A bud which contains undeveloped leaves.

Leaf Curl

A disease that causes leaves to roll up.

Leaf Litter

The leaves that have fallen from a plant, either through normal seasonal changes or due to disease. Especially in the latter case, leaf litter can harbor pathogens and should be cleaned up promptly, particularly around plants such as roses. In a naturalized, woodland setting, leaf litter can be a normal part of the workings of the garden.

Leaf Miners

Tiny grubs that tunnel in leaves leaving whitish blotches or trails.

Leaf Mold

A form of humus composed of decayed leaves, often used to enrich soil.

Lignification (adj. lignified)

The process by which herbaceous stems become hard and woody.

Meristem (alt. apical meristem)

The undifferentiated tissue from which new cells are formed, e.g., the tips of roots or stems; the growing tip.


A fungus that leaves a thin white coating on the surface where it grows.

Monopodium (pl. monopodia, adj. monopodial)

The main axis of a stem or rhizome maintaining a single direction of growth and giving off lateral branches or stems. See also: sympodium.


With many leaves.


Describes divided leaves, with the lobes held in several to many planes.

Natural Layering

The spontaneous rooting of stems when they make contact with the soil.


The place upon a stem which normally bears a leaf or whorl of leaves.


Describes leaves arranged along a twig or shoot in pairs, opposite each other at a single point along an axis.


Minute leaf-like or much-branched organs among the leaves.

Paraphysis (pl. paraphyses)

1. Jointed hyaline hairs growing among the reproductive organs. 2. The thread-like hyphae between the asci.


Having its male and female organs in the same cluster, but not mixed, the antheridia being in the axils of the perichaetial bracts below the archegonia.


An outer, cortical protective layer of many roots and stems that typically consists of phellem, phellogen, and phelloderm


Lasting beyond maturity without being shed, as some leaves remaining through winter, etc.


A division of the corolla; one of a circle of modified leaves immediately outside the reproductive organs, usually brightly colored.

Petal Cells

The tissues and cells that contribute to scent biosynthesis in scented and nonscented Rosa x hybrida cultivars as part of a detailed cytological analysis of the rose petal were localised. Adaxial petal epidermal cells have a typical conical, papillate shape whereas abaxial petal epidermal cells are flat. Using two different techniques, solid/liquid phase extraction and headspace collection of volatiles, is was shown that, in roses, both epidermal layers are capable of producing and emitting scent volatiles, despite the different morphologies of the cells of these two tissues. Moreover, OOMT, an enzyme involved in scent molecule biosynthesis, was localized in both epidermal layers. These results are discussed in view of results found in others species such as Antirrhinum majus, where it has been shown that the adaxial epidermis is the preferential site of scent production and emission

Phenology (adj. phenological)

The science of the relations between climate and periodic biological phenomena, e.g., the fruiting of plants or the color change of leaves.


Refers to a plant’s adaption to surrounding conditions, which are neither stable nor capable of being inherited (genotypic). Such visible changes occur especially where plants are grown in a wide variety of conditions, but will not carry over to different conditions, e.g., red leaves may occur in hot dry areas, but turn green when grown in normal conditions.


Chemical substances produced by animals that attract and stimulate sexual partners of the same species.

Pinch Back (syn. pinch out)

To remove the growing tips on main stems, usually using the fingernails of thumb and forefinger, in order to induce branching and thereby thicken and strengthen the plant.


1. Consisting of several leaflets arranged on each side of a common petiole or rachis on a compound leaf or frond.

2. The feather vein pattern of simple leaves.


The spongy or hollow center of twig or some stems.


Any of the members of the kingdom Plantae typically lacking locomotive movement or obvious nervous or sensory organs and possessing cellulose cell walls and usually capable of photosynthesis.

Plant Breeders’ Rights

Plant breeders’ rights (PBR), also known as plant variety rights (PVR), are rights granted to the breeder of a new variety of plant that give him exclusive control over the propagating material (including seed, cuttings, divisions, tissue culture) and harvested material (cut flowers, fruit, foliage) of a new variety for a number of years.


The tendency for plants to develop from its poles, roots growing down, stems growing upward, making it essential to plant bulbs, etc, in the correct position.

Powdery Mildew

A fungus forming a white powdery coating on leaves and stems.

Proliferous (syn. proliferating)

1. Freely producing offshoots, bulblets, or plantlets.

2. In mosses, bearing young shoots from the antheridial or archegonial cluster of leaves.


Any structure having the capacity to give rise to a new plant, whether through sexual or asexual (vegetative) reproduction. This includes seeds, spores, and any part of the vegetative body capable of independent growth if detached from the parent.


An erect aerial growth which appears to be a stem with leaves, but is actually packed or overlapping sheaths and stalks of essentially basal leaves


1. A vertical row, as of leaves. When you sight along the length of a branch from the tip end, if it appears there are two rows of leaves, either opposite or alternate, the branch is 2-ranked; if three rows, it is 3-ranked, etc.

2. In taxonomy, the position of a taxon in the hierarchy, e.g., species, genus, family, etc.


1. The more or less expanded or produced portion of an axis which bears the organs of a flower (the torus) or the collected flowers of a head, and in roses, enfolds the developing ovaries to form a hip.

2. Any similar structure in cryptogams

Rejuvenation pruning

The practice of cutting all the main stems of a shrub back to within half-inch of the ground during winter dormancy.

Retentive sepals

Sepals that remain attached to the apex of the receptacle after it has ripened into a hip.

Rootstock (syn. rhizome, syn. understock)

1. A rhizome.

2. The root system and lower portion of a woody plant to which a graft of a more desirable plant is attached.


Rose Quotes

William Shakespeare

The red rose on triumphant brier.

Thos. Haynes Bayly

She Wore a Wreath of Roses

    She wore a wreath of roses,
The night that first we met.

The Rose That all are Praising

The rose that all are praising
Is not the rose for me.

Mike Beverly

Go Pretty Rose

Go pretty rose, go to my fair,
Go tell her all I fain would dare,
Tell her of hope; tell her of spring,
Tell her of all I fain would sing,
Oh! were I like thee, so fair a thing.

F. N. Bodenstedt

The Rose and Thistle. Trans. from the German by Frederick Ricord

Thus to the Rose, the Thistle:
Why art thou not of thistle-breed?
Of use thou’dst, then, be truly,
For asses might upon thee feed.

Maria Brooks

Written on Seeing Pharamond

The full-blown rose, mid dewy sweets
Most perfect dies.

E. B. Browning

Aurora Leigh. Bk. II.

This guelder rose, at far too slight a beck
Of the wind, will toss about her flower-apples.

A Dead Rose

O rose, who dares to name thee?
No longer roseate now, nor soft, nor sweet,
But pale, and hard, and dry, as stubblewheat,—
Kept seven years in a drawer, thy titles shame thee.

Aurora Leigh. Bk. VI.

‘Twas a yellow rose,
By that south window of the little house,
My cousin Romney gathered with his hand
On all my birthdays, for me, save the last;
And then I shook the tree too rough, too rough,
For roses to stay after.

A Lay of the Early Rose

And thus, what can we do,
Poor rose and poet too,
Who both antedate our mission
In an unprepared season?

A Lay of the Early Rose

“For if I wait,” said she,
“Till time for roses be,—
For the moss-rose and the musk-rose,
Maiden-blush and royal-dusk rose,—

“What glory then for me
In such a company?—
Roses plenty, roses plenty
And one nightingale for twenty?”

Isabel’s Child

Red as a rose of Harpocrate.

Lord Walter’s Wife

You smell a rose through a fence:
If two should smell it, what matter?

Romance of the Swan’s Nest

A white rosebud for a guerdon.

Robert Browning

One Way of Love

All June I bound the rose in sheaves,
Now, rose by rose, I strip the leaves.


A Scene on the Banks of the Hudson

Loveliest of lovely things are they
On earth that soonest pass away.
The rose that lives its little hour
Is prized beyond the sculptured flower.


The Posie

I’ll pu’ the budding rose, when Phœbus peeps in view,
For its like a baumy kiss o’er her sweet bonnie mou’!.

To Chloris

Yon rose-buds in the morning dew,
How pure amang the leaves sae green!


Song – When Love Came First to Earth

When love came first to earth, the Spring
Spread rose-beds to receive him.


The Romaunt of the Rose

Roses were sette of swete savour,
With many roses that thei bere.

Rose Garden

Je ne suis pas la rose, mais j’ai vécu pres d’elle.
I am not the rose, but I have lived near the rose.

Attributed to H. B. Constant by A. Hayward in Introduction to Letters of Mrs. Piozzi. Saadi, the Persian poet, represents a lump of clay with perfume still clinging to it from the petals fallen from the rose-trees. In his Gulistan. (Rose Garden.)

Rose Terry Cooke

Rêve Du Midi

Till the rose’s lips grow pale
With her sighs.


I wish I might a rose-bud grow
And thou wouldst cull me from the bower,
To place me on that breast of snow
Where I should bloom a wintry flower.

Julia C. R. Dorr

The Clay to the Rose

O beautiful, royal Rose,
O Rose, so fair and sweet!
Queen of the garden art thou,
And I—the Clay at thy feet!
* * * *
Yet, O thou beautiful Rose!
Queen rose, so fair and sweet,
What were lover or crown to thee
Without the Clay at thy feet?

George Elliot

Spanish Gypsy. Bk. III

It never will rain roses: when we want
To have more roses we must plant more trees.


Spectre of the Rose. (From the French.) See Werner’s Readings No. 8

Oh, raise your deep-fringed lids that close
To wrap you in some sweet dream’s thrall;
I am the spectre of the rose
You wore but last night at the ball.

R. W. Gilder

The White and Red Rose

In Heaven’s happy bowers
There blossom two flowers,
One with fiery glow
And one as white as snow;
While lo! before them stands,
With pale and trembling hands,
A spirit who must choose
One, and one refuse.

Felicia D. Hemans

Passing Away

Pflücke Rosen, weil sie blühn,
Morgen ist nicht heut!
Keine Stunde lass entfliehn.
Morgen ist nicht heut.

Gather roses while they bloom,
To-morrow is yet far away.
Moments lost have no room
In to-morrow or to-day.
Gleim—Benutzung der Zeit.

It is written on the rose
In its glory’s full array:
Read what those buds disclose.



Vertue. St. 2

Sweet rose, whose hue, angry and brave,
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye,
Thy root is even in the grave,
And thou must die.


Hesperides. Found in Dodd’s Epigrammatists

Roses at first were white,
‘Till they co’d not agree,
Whether my Sappho’s breast
Or they more white sho’d be.

The Rose

But ne’er the rose without the thorn.

Ralph Hodgson

The Mystery

He came and took me by the hand,
Up to a red rose tree,
He kept His meaning to Himself,
But gave a rose to me.

I did not pray Him to lay bare
The mystery to me,
Enough the rose was Heaven to smell,
And His own face to see.


Ballad. It was not in the Winter

It was not in the winter
Our loving lot was cast:
It was the time of roses
We pluck’d them as we pass’d.

Miss Kilmansegg

Poor Peggy hawks nosegays from street to street
Till—think of that who find life so sweet!—
She hates the smell of roses.

Jean Ingelow

Laurance. Pt. III

And the guelder rose
In a great stillness dropped, and ever dropped,
Her wealth about her feet.

The Four Bridges. St. 61

The roses that in yonder hedge appear
Outdo our garden-buds which bloom within;
But since the hand may pluck them every day,
Unmarked they bud, bloom, drop, and drift away.


Endymion. Bk. I. L. 694

The vermeil rose had blown
In frightful scarlet, and its thorns outgrown
Like spiked aloe.

On Fame

But the rose leaves herself upon the brier,
For winds to kiss and grateful bees to feed.

George MacDonald

Songs of the Summer Night. Pt. III

Woo on, with odour wooing me,
Faint rose with fading core;
For God’s rose-thought, that blooms in thee,
Will bloom forevermore.


The Passionate Shepherd to his Love. St. 3. Said to be written by Shakespeare and Marlowe

Mais elle était du mond, où les plus belles choses
Ont le pire destin;
Et Rose, elle a vécu ce que vivent les roses,
L’espace d’un matin.

But she bloomed on earth, where the most beautiful things have the saddest destiny;
And Rose, she lived as live the roses, for the space of a morning.
François de Malherbe. In a letter of condolence to M. Du Perrier on the loss of his daughter.

And I will make thee beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies.


Paradise Lost. Bk. IV. L. 256

Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose.

D. M. Moir

The White Rose

Rose of the desert! thou art to me
An emblem of stainless purity,—
Of those who, keeping their garments white,
Walk on through life with steps aright.


The Adventures of a Star

While rose-buds scarcely show’d their hue,
But coyly linger’d on the thorn.

The Roses

Two roses on one slender spray
In sweet communion grew,
Together hailed the morning ray
And drank the evening dew.


The Crystal-Hunters

Sometimes, when on the Alpine rose
The golden sunset leaves its ray,
So like a gem the flow’ret glows,
We thither bend our headlong way;
And though we find no treasure there,
We bless the rose that shines so fair.

Farewell! but Whenever you Welcome the Hour

Long, long be my heart with such memories fill’d!
Like the vase, in which roses have once been distill’d—
You may break, you may shatter the vase if you will,
But the scent of the roses will hang round it still.

Lalla Rookh. The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan

There’s a bower of roses by Bendemeer’s stream,
And the nightingale sings round it all the day long,
In the time of my childhood ’twas like a sweet dream,
To sit in the roses and hear the bird’s song.

The Last Rose of Summer

No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.

‘Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone.

Love Alone

What would the rose with all her pride be worth,
Were there no sun to call her brightness forth?

Odes of Anacreon. Ode XXXII

Why do we shed the rose’s bloom
Upon the cold, insensate tomb?
Can flowery breeze or odor’s breath,
Affect the slumbering chill of death?

Odes of Anacreon. Ode XLIV

Rose! thou art the sweetest flower,
That ever drank the amber shower;
Rose! thou art the fondest child
Of dimpled Spring, the wood-nymph wild.

Odes of Anacreon. Ode LV

Oh! there is naught in nature bright
Whose roses do not shed their light;
When morning paints the Orient skies,
Her fingers burn with roseate dyes.

Odes of Anacreon. Ode LV

The rose distils a healing balm
The beating pulse of pain to calm.

Rose of the Desert

Rose of the Desert! thus should woman be
Shining uncourted, lone and safe, like thee.

Rose of the Garden! such is woman’s lot—
Worshipp’d while blooming—when she fades, forgot.

Omar Khayyam

Rubaiyat. FitzGerald’s trans.

Each Morn a thousand Roses brings, you say;
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?

J. G. Percival

Anacreontic. St. 2

O rose! the sweetest blossom,
Of spring the fairest flower,
O rose! the joy of heaven.
The god of love, with roses
His yellow locks adorning,
Dances with the hours and graces.

Frederic Peterson

At Parting

The sweetest flower that blows,
I give you as we part
For you it is a rose
For me it is my heart.

Susan K. Phillips

The Eden Rose. Quoted by Kipling in Mrs. Hauksbee Sits it Out. Published anonymously in St. Louis Globe Democrat, July 13, 1878

There was never a daughter of Eve but once, ere the tale of her years be done,
Shall know the scent of the Eden Rose, but once beneath the sun;
Though the years may bring her joy or pain, fame, sorrow or sacrifice,
The hour that brought her the scent of the Rose, she lived it in Paradise.


The Two Travellers. Ch. II. Fable VI

There is no gathering the rose without being pricked by the thorns.


Autumn. L. 36

Let opening roses knotted oaks adorn,
And liquid amber drop from every thorn.

Essay on Man. Ep. I. L. 200

Die of a rose in aromatic pain.

Rape of the Lock. Canto IV. L. 158

Like roses, that in deserts bloom and die.


Celia to Damon

And when the parent-rose decays and dies,
With a resembling face the daughter-buds arise.

Thos. Buchanan Read

The New Pastoral. Bk. VII. L. 51

We bring roses, beautiful fresh roses,
Dewy as the morning and coloured like the dawn;
Little tents of odour, where the bee reposes,
Swooning in sweetness of the bed he dreams upon.

Jean Paul Richter

Titan. Zykel 105

Die Rose blüht nicht ohne Dornen. Ja: wenn nur aber nicht die Dornen die Rose überlebten.
The rose does not bloom without thorns.
True: but would that the thorns did not outlive the rose.

Christina G. Rossetti

Consider the Lilies of the Field

The rose saith in the dewy morn,
I am most fair;
Yet all my loveliness is born
Upon a thorn.

Christina G. Rossetti


I watched a rose-bud very long
Brought on by dew and sun and shower,
Waiting to see the perfect flower:
Then when I thought it should be strong
It opened at the matin hour
And fell at even-song.


Lady of the Lake. Canto IV

The rose is fairest when ’tis budding new,
And hope is brightest when it dawns from fears;
The rose is sweetest wash’d with morning dew,
And love is loveliest when embalm’d in tears.



VI. Pt. I. Act II. Sc. 4. L. 30

From off this brier pluck a white rose with me.

VI. Pt. II. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 254

Then will I raise aloft the milk-white rose,
With whose sweet smell the air shall be perfumed.

Merry Wives of Windsor

Act III. Sc. 1. L. 19. Song

There will we make our peds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies.


Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 107

Hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose.


Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 96

The red rose on triumphant brier.


The Sensitive Plant. Pt. I

And the rose like a nymph to the bath addrest,
Which unveiled the depth of her glowing breast,
Till, fold after fold, to the fainting air,
The soul of her beauty and love lay bare.


James Somerville

The White Rose. Other versions of traditional origin

Should this fair rose offend thy sight,
Placed in thy bosom bare,
‘Twill blush to find itself less white,
And turn Lancastrian there.

Harriet Prescott Spofford

Flower Songs. The Rose

I am the one rich thing that morn
Leaves for the ardent noon to win;
Grasp me not, I have a thorn,
But bend and take my being in.

A Sigh

It was nothing but a rose I gave her,—
Nothing but a rose
Any wind might rob of half its savor,
Any wind that blows.

Withered, faded, pressed between these pages,
Crumpled, fold on fold,—
Once it lay upon her breast, and ages
Cannot make it old!



The Year of the Rose

The year of the rose is brief;
From the first blade blown to the sheaf,
From the thin green leaf to the gold,
It has time to be sweet and grow old,
To triumph and leave not a leaf.

Bayard Taylor

Poems of the Orient. The Poet in the East. St. 5

And half in shade and half in sun;
The Rose sat in her bower,
With a passionate thrill in her crimson heart.



The Day-Dream. Moral

And is there any moral shut
Within the bosom of the rose?


Francis Thompson

Daisy. St. 10

The fairest things have fleetest end:
Their scent survives their close,
But the rose’s scent is bitterness
To him that loved the rose!


Gil Vicente

I Come from the Rose-grove, Mother. Trans. by John Bowring

I saw the rose-grove blushing in pride,
I gathered the blushing rose—and sigh’d—
I come from the rose-grove, mother,
I come from the grove of roses.


Edmund Waller

The Rose

Go, lovely Rose!
Tell her that wastes her time and me
That now she knows.
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Isaac Watts

The Rose

    How fair is the Rose! what a beautiful flower.
The glory of April and May!
But the leaves are beginning to fade in an hour,
And they wither and die in a day.
Yet the Rose has one powerful virtue to boast,
Above all the flowers of the field;
When its leaves are all dead, and fine colours are lost,
Still how sweet a perfume it will yield!


Amelia B. Welby

Hopeless Love. St. 5

    The rosebuds lay their crimson lips together.

Wisdom of Solomon. II. 8

  Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they be withered.


The Prelude. Bk. XI

 The budding rose above the rose full blown.

W. B. Yeats

The Secret Rose

Far off, most secret, and inviolate Rose,
Enfold me in my hour of hours; where those
Who sought thee in the Holy Sepulchre
Or in the wine vat, dwell beyond the stir
And tumult of defeated dreams.



Musk rose (Rosa Moschata).To a Friend who Sent some Roses

I saw the sweetest flower wild nature yields,
A fresh-blown musk-rose; ’twas the first that threw
Its sweets upon the summer.

Ode to a Nightingale

    And mid-May’s eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eyes.


 Rain-scented eglantine
Gave temperate sweets to that well-wooing sun.

Its sides I’ll plant with dew-sweet eglantine.


Leigh Hunt

Sweetbrier rose (Eglantine; Rosa Rubiginosa)

Wild-rose, Sweetbriar, Eglantine,
All these pretty names are mine,
And scent in every leaf is mine,
And a leaf for all is mine,
And the scent—Oh, that’s divine!
Happy-sweet and pungent fine,
Pure as dew, and pick’d as wine.

Songs and Chorus of the Flowers. Sweetbriar

 All these pretty names are mine,
And scent in every leaf is mine,
And a leaf for all is mine,
And the scent—Oh, that’s divine!
Happy-sweet and pungent fine,
Pure as dew, and pick’d as wine.

John Dryden

The Flower and the Leaf. L. 96

The fresh eglantine exhaled a breath,Those odours were of power to raise from death.


James Thomson

The Seasons. Spring

    As through the verdant maze
Of sweetbriar hedges I pursue my walk;
Or taste the smell of dairy.

John Greenleaf Whittier

The Bride of Pennacook. Pt. III. The Daughter

The garden rose may richly bloom
In cultured soil and genial air,
To cloud the light of Fashion’s room
Or droop in Beauty’s midnight hair,
In lonelier grace, to sun and dew
The sweetbrier on the hillside shows
Its single leaf and fainter hue,
Untrained and wildly free, yet still a sister rose!



A Day Dream.Wild rose (Rosa Lucida)

A wild rose roofs the ruined shed,And that and summer well agree.


L. E. Landon

The Oak. L. 17

A brier rose, whose buds
Yield fragrant harvest for the honey bee.


Bayard Taylor

The Guests of Night

A waft from the roadside bank
Tells where the wild rose nods.

The Rose in the Classical Period

The Rose in the Classical Period up to 500 A.D


It was probably in this country, with its ancient culture, that man first grew roses as garden plants. It is believed that it was during the reign of the legendary Chin-Nun (2737 – 2697 B.C.) that Chinese rose cultivation really began. The rose never played the great and important role of either the peony or chrysanthemum in China.

A similar situation existed in Japan where the cherry tree was much more important than the rose.

During the Han dynasty (206 B.C. – 8 A.D.) the number of Chinese pleasure gardens became so great that the agricultural production of the flat farmlands was seriously threatened.

It is impossible to say just when the China and Tea roses were developed, but they must have been grown in China for at least 2000 years. During that time, either through selection or hybridization, certain partricularly beautiful varieties arose which, at the beginning of the 19th century, found their way to Europe. Many roses had been in cultivation in Chinese gardens for centuries before they became known in the West.


We know relatively little about the roses grown in the time of Medes and Persians. We can be sure that the Persians had learned the art of obtaining rose water and Attar of Roses and they must, therefore, have been quite accustomed to rose cultivation. N. E. Iran, particularly the area around Masenderan, was a veritable rose paradise where highly fragrant roses were extensively cultivated. This are could well have been the cradle of the European garden roses, which from here traveled through the Middle East to Greece and to Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine.


The oldest known representation of a rose was found by British archaelologist, Sir Arthur Evans, during his excavations at Knossos.The painting from the 17th century B.C. was found in the ruins of a palace south-east of Heraklion, built at the time of King Minos. The famous fresco of the “Blue Bird” was found in the House of Frescoes. The rose represented is possibly Rosa richardii (Rosa sancta – The “Holy Rose” of Abyssinia and Egypt) or a form of Rosa gallica.


Sappho, the famous Greek poetess, who lived on the island of Lesbos in the 8th century B.C. was the first to celebrate the rose in poetry. She called it the “Queen of Flowers” and so it has remained to this day.

Herodotus (490 – ca. 420 B.C), regarded as the “Father of Historians”, describes the famous ‘Rose with 60 Petals” of King Midas of Phrygia, who had to flee to Macedonia and was able to take is roses with him. This must have been a fully-petaled form of Rosa gallica or a very double Rosa alba, which were both in existence at that time.

Alexander the Great (356 – 323 B.C.) undoubtedly brought back with him from the East, after his various military expeditions and conquests, both seeds and plants, amongst which there must have been some roses.

Theophrastus (372-287 B.C.) known as the “Father of Botany” makes a clear distinction between the two types of roses, namely rhodon, roses with double flowers and kynosbaton, the dog or wild rose, Rosa canina, and its various forms.


The rose was well known early on in Rome. It was introduced by the Greek settlers who also formed colonies in N. Africa, Sicily and Spain.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (3 B.C. – 65 A.D.) Roman philosopher and teacher of Nero, described a method of forcing roses with warm water and of their cultivation in “forcing houses”.

A Sybarite from Southern Italy around 510 B.C. complained that he could not sleep at night, because in his bedroom strewn with rose petals, he had lain on a single folded petal which had been so uncomfortable that it had kept him awake.

Emperor Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus Nero (37 – 68 A.D) spent 4,000,000 sesterces ( ca. $ 400,000) on the supply of roses for a banquet. On another occasion he spent approx. $225,000 to have thousands of rose blooms strewn on the beach in a city of Baiae to celebrate a special occasion. In order to supply this immense quantity of flowers, extensive nurseries were needed and the majority of these were situated in the area around Paestum.

To the Romans, the rose also became the symbol of secrecy because the petals close over the stamens as the lips do over the mouth. If a rose was painted or sculpted in the ceiling of any room it always signified that talk and discussion held there was confidential.


The Romans imported cut roses en masse from the Nile Delta in Egypt as they had a warmer climate. Whole shiploads came directly to Rome from Egypt; this journey took 6 days. How they kept the blooms fresh for so long is unknown.

In 1888 a wreath of roses was found in a tomb dating from about the time of the Birth of Christ. This proves that the Egyptians grew the same roses as the Greeks and that in addition to the native varieties they also had R. gallica and R. damascena.


Sappho, the famous Greek poetess, who lived on the island of Lesbos in the 8th century B.C. was the first to celebrate the rose in poetry. She called it the “Queen of Flowers” and so it has remained to this day.

Herodotus (490 – ca. 420 B.C), regarded as the “Father of Historians”, describes the famous ‘Rose with 60 Petals” of King Midas of Phrygia, who had to flee to Macedonia and was able to take is roses with him. This must have been a fully-petaled form of Rosa gallica or a very double Rosa alba, which were both in existence at that time.

Alexander the Great (356 – 323 B.C.) undoubtedly brought back with him from the East, after his various military expeditions and conquests, both seeds and plants, amongst which there must have been some roses.

Theophrastus (372-287 B.C.) known as the “Father of Botany” makes a clear distinction between the two types of roses, namely rhodon, roses with double flowers and kynosbaton, the dog or wild rose, Rosa canina, and its various forms.


The rose was well known early on in Rome. It was introduced by the Greek settlers who also formed colonies in N. Africa, Sicily and Spain.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (3 B.C. – 65 A.D.) Roman philosopher and teacher of Nero, described a method of forcing roses with warm water and of their cultivation in “forcing houses”.

A Sybarite from Southern Italy around 510 B.C. complained that he could not sleep at night, because in his bedroom strewn with rose petals, he had lain on a single folded petal which had been so uncomfortable that it had kept him awake.

Emperor Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus Nero (37 – 68 A.D) spent 4,000,000 sesterces ( ca. $ 400,000) on the supply of roses for a banquet. On another occasion he spent approx. $225,000 to have thousands of rose blooms strewn on the beach in a city of Baiae to celebrate a special occasion. In order to supply this immense quantity of flowers, extensive nurseries were needed and the majority of these were situated in the area around Paestum.

To the Romans, the rose also became the symbol of secrecy because the petals close over the stamens as the lips do over the mouth. If a rose was painted or sculpted in the ceiling of any room it always signified that talk and discussion held there was confidential.

Proverbs & sayings

Walter de la Mare

Oh niemand weiss,
Durch welche wilden Zeite
Die Rose wanderte

Dorothy Parker

Final Thought: Have you ever wondered. “Why is it no one ever sent me yet one perfect limousine, do you suppose? Ah no, its always just my luck to get just one perfect rose”.


The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart.


Beauty without virtue is like a rose without scent.


The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose.


Do not watch the petals fall from the rose with sadness, know that, like life, things must fade, before they can bloom again.

Therese of Lisieux

The splendor of the rose and the witness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Indian spiritual leader

Life is a mosaic of pleasure and pain – grief is an interval between two moments of joy. Peace is the interlude between two wars. You have no rose without a thorn; the diligent picker will avoid the pricks and gather the flower. There is no bee without a sting; cleverness consists of gathering the honey nevertheless.

William Butler Yeats

If the rose puzzled its mind over the question how it grew, it would not have been the miracle it is.

Leo F. Buscaglia

A single rose can be my garden….A single friend, my world.


A rose gives fragrance even to those that crush it.


Roses are thoughts of beauty, taking form to gladden mortal gaze; Bright gems of earth in which perchance we see what Eden was – what paradise may be.

From the poem by the ancient Greek poet, Anacreon

The rose is honour and beauty of flowers
The rose is the care and love of the spring
The rose is the pleasure of the heavenly powers.

Lord Byron

The roses of love glad the garden of life.

William Shakespeare

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

In real life, unlike in Shakespeare, the sweetness of the rose depends upon the name it bears. Things are not only what they are. They are, in very important respects, what they seem to be.

Edgar Guest

It matters not what goal you seek – its secret here reposes: you’ve got to dig from week to week – to get results on roses.

H.L. Mencken

An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.

Linda Knight

The best blush to use is laughter. It puts roses in your cheeks and soul.

Salvador Dali

The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.

Dale Carnegie

We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.

Jean Richepin

One may live without bread, not without roses.

Patience Strong

The earth is absolutely honest; it gives back what is put into it plus interest on the time, money & effort invested. Treat soil handsomely and it will give you a rich return.

John Andrew Holmes

At middle age the soul should be opening up like a rose, not closing up like a cabbage.

Chinese proverb

A thorn defends the rose, harming only those who would steal the blossom. Chinese proverb

Richard Henry Wilde

My life is like the summer rose that opens to the morning sky, But ere the shades of evening close is scattered to the ground – to die.

A single Rose

A single rose to lane
A single rose to slain
A single rose to hide my pain
A single rose to turn the tide
A single rose to make roads wide
A single rose as my guild
A single rose to rise the soul
A single rose to widen the hole
A single rose to achieve a goal
A single rose to melt the heart
A single rose to force a start
A single rose to cult
A single rose to freeze my body
A single rose to mourn this memory
A single rose to start a life
A single rose to end the strife
A single black rose
A single black rose.
A single black rose to carry the load,
A single black rose to turn the road,
A single black rose to touch the soul,
A single black rose to widen your hole,
A single black rose to melt your heart,
A single black rose to force a start,
A single black rose to make you cry,
A single black rose to make you dry,
A single black rose to help you climb,
A single black rose to make you lie,
A single black rose to take a life,
A single black rose to take away strife.


She to rose; eye to petal –
Scent of rose to hers; squaring up,
The rose and woman’s enigmatic beauty.
Mystery of colour;
Sophisticated nose of rose
Convinces – is that a wavering mind?
Rose, wink to me and let me know!
Rose, ambassador – stealthy messenger.
Rose! you waft a cheeky charm
Beneath your regal poise.
Regaling her, you are the dance!
Rose, your velvet feel in silken hand
Has her succumbed – again!
You watch her dial his number,
And grinning in accomplishment,
Your petals open further.

Roses roses roses

Rose’s rose rose
In the light of the day
While the wind blows
Round its flowers of the lightest rosé.
Rose’s rose rose
In a way Rose may
When she grows
As her rose
How it grows
And by the end of the day
When her rose’s flowers’d close
And its head would sway
In the wind, Rose would say:
“My rose, as you rose
In the light of the day
Did you notice those,
The sounds of your stay?
Not only those of the day,
But, too, the ones of the dark, rose,
The ones of the dark and the moon in its pose.
Did you notice those, rose?
Did you notice those? ”
And the rose would know
What Rose would want to say
And it would sleep
With its flowers of the lightest rosé.

Dream Interpretations

Dream Interpretations of Roses

Vivid dreams arouse our curiosity and realistic dreams sometimes appear to convey information, or a warning, in reference to the future. These are the major reasons why we want to learn about Dream Interpretation, Analysis and the Meaning of Dreams. The meaning of your dream subject Roses, according to the ancient dream books and from 10,000 Dreams interpreted by Gustavus Hindman Miller, is detailed below:


Most flowers are seen as friendly dream symbols. Roses may have their own special meaning and could represent femininity, beauty, love, or romance. Roses may have some spiritual significance as well. They are used when expressing both positive and negative emotions. They unfold and can be considered symbols of innocence. The color of the rose, as well as the details of the dream should be considered when making interpretation. (E.g. White – purity; red – passion; Pink – romance and love; black – death.)

Gathering Roses

For a young woman to dream of gathering roses, shows she will soon have an offer of marriage, which will be much to her liking.

Thorny Roses

Seeing thorny roses in your dream, suggests that you are having difficulties or issues in your personal relationship. Alternatively, the dream indicates that you need to overcome some sticky or prickly situation before you can reap the benefits, as represented by the rose.

Banks of Roses

For a young woman to dream of banks of roses, and that she is gathering and tying them into bouquets, signifies that she will be made very happy by the offering of some person whom she regards very highly.

Red Roses

Symbolise love, passion, femininity, and romance. Particularly if they are red: passion, sexuality, anger, warning

White Roses

symbolise purity, transformation, cleanliness, dignity virginity, pureness, and secrecy. White roses, if seen without sunshine or dew, could denote serious if not serious illness. To inhale their fragrance, brings unalloyed pleasure.

Yellow Roses

Depending on the details of the dream, the colour yellow could have positive or negative connotations. If the dream has a pleasant or happy mood the yellow could represent enthusiasm, energy, vigour, and harmony. However, if the dream had an undesirable tone, the yellow could represent fear and the inability to make a decision or take action. It also refers to infidelity or jealousy.

Withered Roses

Signifies death or the parting or absence of loved ones.

Smelling Roses

Denotes unimaginable happiness and pleasure. The dream is telling you that you need to slow down and smell the roses or else you will miss out on some opportunity or event in your life.

Blooming Roses

To dream of seeing roses blooming and fragrant, could denote that some joyful occasion is nearing, and you will possess the faithful love of your sweetheart


To dream that you or others are wearing a rosette signifies you will come to grieve for wasting precious time over trivial matters.

Rose bush

A rosebush in your dream signifies prosperity. A dead rosebush in your dream foretells bad luck or illness might strike you or a family member.


Rosemary in your dream represents grief, reminiscence and time for reflection.

Damask Rose

To dream about a damask rose bush in the wild foretells of a marriage within your family.

To dream that you are given a bouquet or damask roses indicates that you will discover a true and honest companion in life.

For women, if you dream that you are given a damask rose and place it in your hair, this suggests that you will be swindled by an individual whom you considered to be a faithful friend.


Rose Books

Rose Books reviews

Rosen, Rosen, Rosen

Authored by Gerd Krüssmann, it contains the knowledge on the rose accumulated in a condensed form, still consisting of 450 pages.

In it one finds:

  • Where did the word rose find its origin – it is given in 105 different languages.
  • What role did the rose play in the pre-historic Era, ancient Greece, Egypt, Persia, Asia, in the classical period up to 500 A.D. going on to *The Rose in the Middle Ages, to the modern roses it is all in the book.
  • How many kilograms of rose petals are required for 1 litre rose oil with all the details on the important roles attar of roses played in BC as a trading item.
  • The classification and description of the genus Rosa, the horticultural classification and a dictionary of hundreds of cultivars and all about propagation and cross pollinating.
  • The rose breeders are listed as also the rose societies in the world and famous rose gardens.

Gerd Krüssmann was regarded as one of the giants of horticulture. He was the Director of the German Rosarium in Dortmund and he travelled the world to look at plants.

Rosen, Rosen, Rosen was published by Verlag Paul Parey, Hamburg and Berlin in 1974, ISBN 3 489 71722 8. It contains 447 pages with many pictures, tables and drawings. It was the publisher who requested Krüssman to tackle this momentous job since their last comprehensive Rose book was published 90 years earlier.

Die Rose

This book was authored ‘Die Rose’ by TH. Nietner, who was the Royal Chief Horticulturist for the park surrounding the castle of the Prussian kings, Sanc Souci in Potsdam. Nietner describes an amazing 5000 rose varieties and his advice to gardeners on the cultivation on roses – is pretty much what is still “preached” today.

‘Die Rose’ by TH Nietner, published by Verlag von Wiegandt, Hempel & Parey, Berlin 1880. Rosen, Rosen Rosen, was completely revised, updated and translated into English by Gerd Krüssman and Nigel Raban with input by rose breeder Bill Warriner and Fred Edmunds. Roses by Gerd Krüssman published by B T Batsford Ltd. London and printed by Timber Press, Portland Oregon USA in 1981 ISBN 0 7134 4475 4 .

The Man Who Painted Roses

For pure reading pleasure it has to be THE MAN WHO PAINTED ROSES by Antonia Ridge on the life and achievements of Pierre-Joseph Redouté. Pierre-Joseph Redouté, born in Belgium in 1759 into a family of painters and decorators left home at the age of 13 and helped to decorate churches etc. It was soon almost like modern branding that all this paintings of angels and religious figures as well as portraits small flowers added to them. Painting in Belgium, Luxemburg and Amsterdam, he eventually arrived in Paris. He spent most of his time painting flowers in the Jardin du Roi. Highly regarded botanist Charles Louis L’Heritiet noticed him, his love for plants and obvious ability and persuaded him to study Botany. He followed L’Heritiet to London in 1786 were he became involved with the other famous botanist Sir Banks and the development of Kew Gardens. Back in Paris a year later his work “The story of Succulent Plants” was published. It was followed by “Les Liliacées”. When Josephine developed Malmaison and started the famous rose collection each rose was painted by Redouté and the collection became known as “Les Roses”. As a trained botanist his paintings were accurate, however, he did make sure that they had an “alive look” and were attractive to the viewer. Being completely non-political, this big man with huge hands painting the delicate flowers officially became the The Painter to Empress Marie-Antoinette, to Empress Josephine, to Her Imperial Majesty Marie-Louise and to Queen Marie-Amélie. “The man who painted roses” passed away in 1841 at the age of 82.

Antonia Ridge, author of the other famous book “For the Love of a Rose” skilfully introduced Jean Jacques Rousseaus, Madame Tussaud, Madame Prevost and other colourful characters of that period – all having had contact with Redouté.

Published by Faber and Faber, 3 Queen Square, London in 1974. ISBN 0571 105548

In Search of the Black Rose

In Search of the Black Rose by Anne Sophie Rondeau and Ingrid Verdegem. First published by Stigting Kuntboek bvba, B-8020 Oostkamp, Belgium in French and Dutch languages.The German version: KG ISBN 10;3-8001-4731-9 ISBN 13:978-3-8001-4731-1. It is a most beautiful book, leather bound, 60cm x 40cm, 125 pages with the most incredible photography. Cost was just over 100 Euro. An English version is optainable.

The Rose in Myths & Legends

There are countless myths and legends in which the rose appears and in almost every country in the Northern Hemisphere we find examples of it on coins, coats of arms, flags, banners, seals, paintings and objets d’art.

Legends concerning the rose are entwined with Gods, Kings, Princes of the Church and Saints as well as with Brahma, Buddha, Mohammed, Vishnu, Confucius, Zo­roaster, several Popes, the Crusaders, Nero, Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, St. Francis of Assisi, Elizabeth of Hungary, Mary Queen of Scots, St. Vincent, Venus, Cupid, Zephyrus, Aphrodite and many more. Some of the more delightful of these legends may be briefly told as follows.


Asia In the oldest religious and spiritual works in Zend (Avestan), in the teachings of ancient Persia and in Sanskrit, the superb literature of ancient India, the rose always plays a symbolic role in the creation of the world and of mankind. Vishnu, the supreme God of India, formed his bride, Lakshmi, from 108 large and 1,008 small rose petals. Thus, the rose early became a symbol of beauty.

Greeks & Romans

While the Greeks and Romans dedicated the rose to the Gods, the Persians, in their poems and paintings, associated it with the nightingale. Once the flowers complained in Heaven that their Queen, the Lotus blossom, slept by night. In order to bring about a reconciliation, Allah named the white rose Queen of Flowers. The nightingale was so enamored of the beauty of the rose that she flew down to embrace it, and thereby pierced her breast with its sharp thorns. From the drops of her blood falling upon the earth grew new roses and from that day there were red roses in Persia.

Moslem Legend

According to one Moslem legend, the rose sprang from the beads of sweat of the Prophet Mohammed. In another they came not from the Prophet, but from the perspiration of a lady named Joun whose appearance was white at dawn but rosy at midday.


It has often been said that, in the beginning, roses were without thorns and that these only appeared through the wickedness of mankind, after the Fall and the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

A young maiden was to be burned at the stake in Bethlehem. As the flames reached up around her, she prayed for God’s help and at once the flames were extinguished. From the embers sprang red roses and from the unfired sticks, white roses.

Moss Rose

While no myth or legend mentions any specific variety of rose, the moss rose has been connected with the Blood of Christ, in the belief that His wounds dripped onto moss while He hung upon the cross.


The oldest evidence of the rose comes from legends and poetry which give us proof of the existence of the rose and its cultivation in Ancient Greece.

Here Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, was seen as the creator of the rose. In one tale Adonis, her lover, was mortally wounded, when hunting, by a wild boar. She hastened to his side and from the mixture of his blood and her tears grew a superb, fragrant, blood-red rose. In another version, Adonis was more superficially wounded and Aphrodite, while running to him, scratched herself on the thorns of a rose bush. Her blood started to flow at once and the white flowers on the bush turned to red. Finally, there is a story which tells us of the origin of the white rose: Aphrodite was born of sea-foam and from this foam, wherever it fell to the ground, grew white rose bushes.


The pattern of the Greek legends is closely followed by those which developed in Rome. In one Venus was loved by Adonis, but also desired by Mars, the God of War. Mars decided to have Adonis killed, but, at the last moment, he was hurriedly warned by Venus. In her haste, she let her foot slip in a rose bed, from the blood which flowed from the scratches onto the ground sprang up red roses.

Flora, the Goddess of Spring and of Flowers, one day found the dead body of her dearest and most beautiful nymph; inconsolable, she begged all the Gods to come to her aid to change the dead body of her loved one into the most beautiful flower which would be recognized as Queen of all Flowers. Apollo, God of the Arts, gave her the breath of life, Bacchus bathed her in nectar, Vertumnus gave her fragrance, Pomona fruit, and Flora herself finally gave a diadem of petals, and thus the rose was born.

Cupid, one of the Gods of Love, knocked over, with his wing, a bowl of wine standing on a table beside Bacchus; from this pool of wine on the ground came a rose bush. The rose was also consecrated to Venus as the symbol of beauty.

There is one particularly delightful story which is as follows: The God Zephyrus loved Flora so much that he changed himself into a rose because the Goddess had no interest other than flowers. When Flora saw the rose, she kissed it and thus fulfilled Zephyrus’ wish.

And it is said that the very word “rose” originated when Flora, the Goddess of Flowers, in pain upon being struck by Cupid’s arrow, was unable to properly pronounce the word Eros but made it sound like “ros”. From this the word “rose” becomes a synonym for Eros; both in Rome and in Greece it is the symbol of youth, of vitality, love, beauty and the fruitfulness of nature.

The Rose Elf

The Rose Elf

A translation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “Rosen-Alfen” by Jean Hersholt.

In the midst of a garden there grew a rose bush, quite covered with roses, and in the most beautiful of them all there lived an elf-an elf so tiny that no mortal eye could see him. But he was as well made and as perfect as any child could be, and he had wings reaching from his shoulders to his feet. Behind each petal of the rose he had a tiny bedroom. Oh, how fragrant his rooms were, and how bright and transparent the walls, for they were the beautiful pale pink petals of the rose! All day long the little elf rejoiced in the warm sunshine as he flew from flower to flower or danced on the wings of the fluttering butterflies and measured how many steps he would have to take to pass along all the roads and paths on a single linden leaf. You see, what we call the veins on a leaf were highroads and byways to him. It was a long journey, and he had begun it rather late, so before he finished, the sun had gone down!

It turned very cold, dew fell, and the wind blew, so now it was high time he went home. He hurried as fast as he could, but to his dismay he found that the rose had closed its petals for the night! Not a single rose stood open! He couldn’t get in! Now, the poor little rose elf was terribly frightened, for he had never been out at night before; he had always slumbered sweetly and safely behind the warm rose petals. This would surely be the death of him!

Suddenly he remembered that at the other end of the garden there was an arbor of lovely honeysuckle, those flowers which looked like big painted horns. In one of them, perhaps, he could go down and sleep safely till morning.

Swiftly he flew to the far end of the garden. But suddenly he stopped! Quiet! There were already two people in the arbor. The loveliest maiden and a handsome young man. They sat closely together and wished they might never, never part. They loved each other, even more than the best child can love its father and mother.

“Yet we must part,” the young man was saying. “Your brother doesn’t like me, so he is sending me on a long journey, far over distant mountains and oceans. Farewell, my sweetest bride, for that you will always be to me!”

Then they kissed, and the young maiden wept and gave him a rose. But first she pressed on it a kiss so warm and tender that the rose petals opened, and then the little elf slipped quickly inside. As he leaned his tiny head against the delicate, fragrant walls, he could hear, “Farewell! Farewell!” and he felt that the rose was being placed on the young man’s heart. Ah, how that heart beat! The little elf couldn’t go to sleep for its beating!

But not long did the rose rest undisturbed on that throbbing heart. As the young man walked lonely through the dark wood he took the rose out and kissed it so often and so warmly that the little elf was almost crushed. Through the petals he could feel the young man’s burning lips, while the rose itself opened as if under the strongest midday sun.

Suddenly another man appeared. It was the pretty maiden’s gloomy and wicked brother! He drew out a long sharp knife, and while the young man was kissing the rose, this wicked one stabbed him to death! Then he cut off the head and buried head and body in the soft earth beneath the linden tree.

“Now he’s dead and forgotten!” the evil brother thought. “He’ll never come back again. He was supposed to have left on a long journey where a man might easily lose his life-and so he has lost his. No, he won’t come back, and my sister won’t ever dare ask me about him.” Then he kicked dry leaves over the loose earth and went home in the darkness of the night.

But he was not alone, as he thought. The little elf was with him. For, as he dug the grave, a dried, rolled-up linden leaf had fallen in his hair, and the rose elf was in that leaf. Now the man’s hat was placed over the leaf, and it was very dark in there where the little elf trembled in fear and anger at the wicked deed.

In the early morning, the evil man reached home. He took off his hat and went into his sister’s bedroom. There lay the pretty maiden, dreaming of her beloved, whom she thought far away traveling over mountains and through the forests. The wicked brother leaned over her and laughed-the hideous laugh of a devil-and the withered leaf dropped from his hair onto her bed cover. But he didn’t notice, and pretty soon he left her room to get a little sleep himself.

Now the little elf crept quietly out of the withered leaf, slipped into the ear of the sleeping girl, and told her, as in a dream, the dreadful story of the murder. He described the spot in the woods where her brother had killed her sweetheart, and the place under the linden tree where the body was buried, and then whispered, “And so that you may not think this all a dream, you will find a withered leaf of the tree on your bedspread!” And when she awoke she found the leaf. Oh, what bitter, bitter tears she shed! Yet to no one did she dare betray her grief. All that day her window stood open, and the little elf could easily have escaped to the roses and all the other flowers of the garden, but he could not bear to leave the sorrowing girl.

In the window stood a bush that bore roses every month, and he found a spot in one of those flowers from where he could watch the poor girl. Often her brother came into the room, merry with an evil mirth, and she dared not say a word of the grief in her heart.

When night came she stole out of the house and into the forest to the place where the linden tree stood. She brushed away the leaves, dug into the earth, and so at last came to the body of her beloved. How she wept then, and how she prayed to God that she too might die! She would gladly have taken the body home with her, but since that would be impossible, she took up the pale head, with its closed eyes, kissed the cold mouth, and with a trembling hand brushed the dirt from the beautiful hair.

“This, at least, I can keep,” she wept. Then she buried the body again and scattered the leaves once more over it. But the head, together with a little sprig from a jasmine bush which bloomed in the wood where he had been killed, she took with her to her home.

As soon as she reached her room she brought the biggest flowerpot she could find, and in this she laid the dead man’s head, covered it with earth, and planted the sprig of jasmine.

The little elf could no longer bear to see such grief. “Farewell, farewell,” he whispered, and then he flew out to his rose in the garden. But it was withered and faded now, and only a few dry leaves clung to the bush. “Alas!” sighed the elf. “How soon everything good and beautiful passes away!” But at last he found another rose, and made his home in safety behind its delicate, fragrant petals.

But every morning he would fly to the poor maiden’s window, and he always found her there, weeping over the flowerpot. Softly her bitter tears fell upon the jasmine spray, and every day as she became paler and paler the sprig grew fresher and greener. New shoots appeared, one after another, and little white buds burst forth, and these she kissed.

When her wicked brother saw her do that he scolded her and asked why she acted so silly. He didn’t like it and didn’t understand why she was always weeping over the flowerpot. He did not know what closed eyes were there, and what red lips had there returned to dust.

And the pretty maiden leaned her head against the flowerpot, and the little elf found her there, fallen into a gentle slumber. So he crept again into her ear and whispered to her of that evening in the arbor and of the scent of the roses and the loves of the elves. Then she dreamed so sweetly, and while she dreamed her life passed gently away. She died a quiet death and was in Heaven with her beloved. And the jasmine flowers opened their big white bells and gave out their wonderful sweet fragrance. It was the only way they knew to weep for the dead.

When the wicked brother saw the beautiful blooming plant, he took it for himself as an inheritance from his sister, and put it in his bedroom close beside his bed, for it was glorious indeed to look at, and its fragrance was sweet and fresh. But the little rose elf went with it, and flew from blossom to blossom; in each lived a tiny soul, and to each he told the story of the murdered man whose head even now rested under the earth beneath them. He told them of the evil brother and the poor sister.

“We know it!” replied each little soul in the flowers. “Did we not spring from those murdered eyes and lips? We know it! We know it!” they repeated, and nodded their heads in an odd way. The rose elf could not understand how they could be so quiet about it, and he flew out to the bees gathering honey and told them the terrible story about the wicked brother. So they reported it to their Queen, and the Queen commanded all the bees to kill the murderer the very next morning.

But the night before, the first night after his sister’s death, while the evil brother was asleep in his bed beside the fragrant jasmine, the flowers opened, and out of each blossom came a tiny spirit-invisible, but armed with a sharp little poisoned spear. First, they crept into his ears, and told him wicked dreams; then they flew across his lips, and pierced his tongue with their poisoned darts.

“Now we have avenged the dead man!” they cried, then flew back again into the white bells of the jasmine.

When the morning came, and the windows of the bedroom were opened, the rose elf and the whole swarm of bees with their Queen swept in to kill him.

But he was already dead, and people stood around his bed and said, “The scent of the jasmine has killed him!” Then the rose elf understood the vengeance of the flowers and told it to the Queen, and she and her whole swarm of bees ceaselessly hummed around the flowerpot and could not be driven away. When a man picked up the pot a bee stung him on the hand, so that he let it fall and it broke into pieces. Then the people saw the whitened skull and knew that the dead man on the bed was a murderer.

So the Queen bee hummed in the air and sang of the vengeance of the flowers and about the rose elf, and how behind the smallest leaf there dwells One who can disclose and repay every evil.

The Nightingale and the Rose

The Nightingale and the Rose

A Fairy Tale by Oscar Wilde

“She said that she would dance with me if I brought her red roses,” cried the young Student; “but in all my garden there is no red rose.”

From her nest in the holm-oak tree the Nightingale heard him, and she looked out through the leaves, and wondered.

“No red rose in all my garden!” he cried, and his beautiful eyes filled with tears. “Ah, on what little things does happiness depend! I have read all that the wise men have written, and all the secrets of philosophy are mine, yet for want of a red rose is my life made wretched.”

“Here at last is a true lover,” said the Nightingale. “Night after night have I sung of him, though I knew him not: night after night have I told his story to the stars, and now I see him. His hair is dark as the hyacinth-blossom, and his lips are red as the rose of his desire; but passion has made his face like pale ivory, and sorrow has set her seal upon his brow.” “The Prince gives a ball to-morrow night,” murmured the young Student, “and my love will be of the company. If I bring her a red rose she will dance with me till dawn. If I bring her a red rose, I shall hold her in my arms, and she will lean her head upon my shoulder, and her hand will be clasped in mine. But there is no red rose in my garden, so I shall sit lonely, and she will pass me by. She will have no heed of me, and my heart will break.”

“Here indeed is the true lover,” said the Nightingale. “What I sing of, he suffers–what is joy to me, to him is pain. Surely Love is a wonderful thing. It is more precious than emeralds, and dearer than fine opals. Pearls and pomegranates cannot buy it, nor is it set forth in the marketplace. It may not be purchased of the merchants, nor can it be weighed out in the balance for gold.”

“The musicians will sit in their gallery,” said the young Student, “and play upon their stringed instruments, and my love will dance to the sound of the harp and the violin. She will dance so lightly that her feet will not touch the floor, and the courtiers in their gay dresses will throng round her. But with me she will not dance, for I have no red rose to give her”; and he flung himself down on the grass, and buried his face in his hands, and wept.

“Why is he weeping?” asked a little Green Lizard, as he ran past him with his tail in the air.

“Why, indeed?” said a Butterfly, who was fluttering about after a sunbeam.

“Why, indeed?” whispered a Daisy to his neighbour, in a soft, low voice.

“He is weeping for a red rose,” said the Nightingale.

“For a red rose?” they cried; “how very ridiculous!” and the little Lizard, who was something of a cynic, laughed outright.

But the Nightingale understood the secret of the Student’s sorrow, and she sat silent in the oak-tree, and thought about the mystery of Love.

Suddenly she spread her brown wings for flight, and soared into the air. She passed through the grove like a shadow, and like a shadow she sailed across the garden.

In the centre of the grass-plot was standing a beautiful Rose-tree, and when she saw it she flew over to it, and lit upon a spray.

“Give me a red rose,” she cried, “and I will sing you my sweetest song.” But the Tree shook its head.

“My roses are white,” it answered; “as white as the foam of the sea, and whiter than the snow upon the mountain. But go to my brother who grows round the old sun-dial, and perhaps he will give you what you want.”

So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that was growing round the old sun-dial.

“Give me a red rose,” she cried, “and I will sing you my sweetest song.”

But the Tree shook its head.

“My roses are yellow,” it answered; “as yellow as the hair of the mermaiden who sits upon an amber throne, and yellower than the daffodil that blooms in the meadow before the mower comes with his scythe. But go to my brother who grows beneath the Student’s window, and perhaps he will give you what you want.”

So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that was growing beneath the Student’s window.

“Give me a red rose,” she cried, “and I will sing you my sweetest song.”

But the Tree shook its head.

“My roses are red,” it answered, “as red as the feet of the dove, and redder than the great fans of coral that wave and wave in the ocean-cavern. But the winter has chilled my veins, and the frost has nipped my buds, and the storm has broken my branches, and I shall have no roses at all this year.” “One red rose is all I want,” cried the Nightingale, “only one red rose! Is there no way by which I can get it?”

“There is away,” answered the Tree; “but it is so terrible that I dare not tell it to you.”

“Tell it to me,” said the Nightingale, “I am not afraid.”

“If you want a red rose,” said the Tree, “you must build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with your own heart’s-blood. You must sing to me with your breast against a thorn. All night long you must sing to me, and the thorn must pierce your heart, and your life-blood must flow into my veins, and become mine.”

“Death is a great price to pay for a red rose,” cried the Nightingale, “and Life is very dear to all. It is pleasant to sit in the green wood, and to watch the Sun in his chariot of gold, and the Moon in her chariot of pearl. Sweet is the scent of the hawthorn, and sweet are the bluebells that hide in the valley, and the heather that blows on the hill. Yet Love is better than Life, and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?”

So she spread her brown wings for flight, and soared into the air. She swept over the garden like a shadow, and like a shadow she sailed through the grove.

The young Student was still lying on the grass, where she had left him, and the tears were not yet dry in his beautiful eyes.

“Be happy,” cried the Nightingale, “be happy; you shall have your red rose. I will build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with my own heart’s-blood. All that I ask of you in return is that you will be a true lover, for Love is wiser than Philosophy, though she is wise, and mightier than Power, though he is mighty. Flame- coloured are his wings, and coloured like flame is his body. His lips are sweet as honey, and his breath is like frankincense.”

The Student looked up from the grass, and listened, but he could not understand what the Nightingale was saying to him, for he only knew the things that are written down in books.

But the Oak-tree understood, and felt sad, for he was very fond of the little Nightingale who had built her nest in his branches.

“Sing me one last song,” he whispered; “I shall feel very lonely when you are gone.”

So the Nightingale sang to the Oak-tree, and her voice was likewater bubbling from a silver jar.

When she had finished her song the Student got up, and pulled a note-book and a lead-pencil out of his pocket.

“She has form,” he said to himself, as he walked away through the grove–“that cannot be denied to her; but has she got feeling? I am afraid not. In fact, she is like most artists; she is all style, without any sincerity. She would not sacrifice herself for others. She thinks merely of music, and everybody knows that the arts are selfish. Still, it must be admitted that she has some beautiful notes in her voice. What a pity it is that they do not mean anything, or do any practical good.” And he went into his room, and lay down on his little pallet-bed, and began to think of his love; and, after a time, he fell asleep.

And when the Moon shone in the heavens the Nightingale flew to the Rose-tree, and set her breast against the thorn. All night long she sang with her breast against the thorn, and the cold crystal Moon leaned down and listened. All night long she sang, and the thorn went deeper and deeper into her breast, and her life-blood ebbed away from her.

She sang first of the birth of love in the heart of a boy and a girl. And on the top-most spray of the Rose-tree there blossomed a marvellous rose, petal following petal, as song followed song. Pale was it, at first, as the mist that hangs over the river–pale as the feet of the morning, and silver as the wings of the dawn. As the shadow of a rose in a mirror of silver, as the shadow of a rose in a water-pool, so was the rose that blossomed on the topmost spray of the Tree.

But the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the thorn. “Press closer, little Nightingale,” cried the Tree, “or the Day will come before the rose is finished.”

So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and louder and louder grew her song, for she sang of the birth of passion in the soul of a man and a maid.

And a delicate flush of pink came into the leaves of the rose, like the flush in the face of the bridegroom when he kisses the lips of the bride. But the thorn had not yet reached her heart, so the rose’s heart remained white, for only a Nightingale’s heart’s-blood can crimson the heart of a rose.

And the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the thorn. “Press closer, little Nightingale,” cried the Tree, “or the Day will come before the rose is finished.”

So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and the thorn touched her heart, and a fierce pang of pain shot through her. Bitter, bitter was the pain, and wilder and wilder grew her song, for she sang of the Love that is perfected by Death, of the Love that dies not in the tomb.

And the marvellous rose became crimson, like the rose of the eastern sky. Crimson was the girdle of petals, and crimson as a ruby was the heart.

But the Nightingale’s voice grew fainter, and her little wings began to beat, and a film came over her eyes. Fainter and fainter grew her song, and she felt something choking her in her throat.

Then she gave one last burst of music. The white Moon heard it, and she forgot the dawn, and lingered on in the sky. The red rose heard it, and it trembled all over with ecstasy, and opened its petals to the cold morning air. Echo bore it to her purple cavern in the hills, and woke the sleeping shepherds from their dreams. It floated through the reeds of the river, and they carried its message to the sea.

“Look, look!” cried the Tree, “the rose is finished now”; but the Nightingale made no answer, for she was lying dead in the long grass, with the thorn in her heart.

And at noon the Student opened his window and looked out.

“Why, what a wonderful piece of luck!” he cried; “here is a red rose! I have never seen any rose like it in all my life. It is so beautiful that I am sure it has a long Latin name”; and he leaned down and plucked it.

Then he put on his hat, and ran up to the Professor’s house with the rose in his hand.

The daughter of the Professor was sitting in the doorway winding blue silk on a reel, and her little dog was lying at her feet.

“You said that you would dance with me if I brought you a red rose,” cried the Student. “Here is the reddest rose in all the world. You will wear it to-night next your heart, and as we dance together it will tell you how I love you.” But the girl frowned. “I am afraid it will not go with my dress,” she answered; “and, besides, the Chamberlain’s nephew has sent me some real jewels, and everybody knows that jewels cost far more than flowers.”

“Well, upon my word, you are very ungrateful,” said the Student angrily; and he threw the rose into the street, where it fell into the gutter, and a cart-wheel went over it.

“Ungrateful!” said the girl. “I tell you what, you are very rude; and, after all, who are you? Only a Student. Why, I don’t believe you have even got silver buckles to your shoes as the Chamberlain’s nephew has”; and she got up from her chair and went into the house.

“What a silly thing Love is,” said the Student as he walked away. “It is not half as useful as Logic, for it does not prove anything, and it is always telling one of things that are not going to happen, and making one believe things that are not true. In fact, it is quite unpractical, and, as in this age to be practical is everything, I shall go back to Philosophy and study Metaphysics.”

So he returned to his room and pulled out a great dusty book, and began to read.

The Bey of the Roses

The Bey of Roses by Elsa Sophia von Kamphoevener

In the rich southern region of Asia Minor there lived a beautiful girl whose name was Gülilah (from Gül, “the rose “). Her father was a merchant and was away traveling most of the time. Her mother was sickly and knew that her death was approaching. She foresaw that her husband would take another wife after her death. Therefore she called Gülilah and showed her the largest and most beautiful rosebush of the garden. She told her daughter to go there whenever she was sad, to lay her hand on the bush and call her mother.

The mother died, and soon Gülilah’s father returned from a journey, already married again. When the new wife was given all the jewels of Gülilah’s dead mother, the girl felt desolate. She hurried to the rosebush; the gray veil in which she liked to wrap herself fluttered about her like dove wings. Beseechingly she laid her hands upon the strong wood of the rose and called her mother. The rosebush opened as if the curtain was drawn from before a chamber. Gülilah stepped into the rosebush; it closed upon her like the arms of her mother.

So Gülilah disappeared. All the day the nurse searched for her in vain. Finally she came to the rosebush and called the girl’s name. Gülilah answered from the bush, and then slipped out of it; innumerable rose petals clung to the gray veil. From then on she lived for many years most of the time in the rosebush with her mother.

Guelilah bush

It so happened that in the region of Gülilah’s home there lived a rich young man. His name was Omer, but he was also called the Bey of roses, for he possessed immeasurably large fields of roses. His mother wanted him to marry, but he resisted. When, finally, he seemed to give in, he did so on condition that he should himself make sure that the girl he would wed was fragrant with the most sweet smell of roses.

But it was of course impossible to fulfill this condition, since Muslim custom forbids a man to know the fragrance of a girl before marriage; he may not even see her unveiled. When his mother therefore remonstrated with him, Omer, playful as he was, suggested that his mother should choose several girls, bring them veiled to the courtyard of the women’s house, the harem, and there line them up. Then he would pass along the row, sniff at the girls as at roses without unveiling them, and choose the one with the sweetest smell.

By this demand Omer hoped to have frustrated his mother’s marriage plans. He told all his friends of the event, and winged Fame spread the extraordinary news all over the town.

Of course, all the mothers of marriageable girls were horrified at the idea. The girls, however, were ready to submit to the unusual bridal test. The mother of the Bey of roses made all necessary preparations with discretion, and Omer was caught in his own trap. Omer’s marriage became the talk of the whole town. Gülilah h in the fragrant prison of the rosebush was the only one who had not heard the news. The nurse, however, knew all about it and made her plans accordingly.

The nurse’s nephew was a carpenter. It so happened that he and a friend had decided to earn some additional money in the future as sedan ­chair men, and had therefore built a new sedan chair. This nephew the nurse took into her confidence.

The day arrived on which Omer had to choose his bride. His mother had invited sixteen girls to come to the courtyard of the harem. In good time the nurse called Gülilah in the rosebush: “Come forth, little dove, come to me, I must ask a favor of you, come forth.” Gülilah parted the leaves as if she were gliding through a curtain and said: “Can I do you a favor? Your request is already granted.” The nurse told Gülilah that her nephew had built a new sedan chair and wanted to test its strength: “I intended to ask you, Mistress, to do me the favor of letting him carry you a little way.” Gülilah assented immediately and stepped into the sedan chair, the curtains of which were drawn. The sedan-chair men carried her through the town.


When the sixteen girls, veiled and perfumed, were assembled in the courtyard, and when the Bey of roses was about to pass along them to test their fragrance, just then the sedan-chair men arrived at the court of the Bey and set the chair down. Gülilah pushed aside the curtains a little bit: her gray veil fluttered. She asked the men why they had stopped, opened the door, and was about to descend. Just then a light wind came up and the sweet smell of roses was carried to the Bey. In a moment Omer was beside the sedan chair. But when Gülilah saw a strange man coming towards her, she hurriedly closed the door, and the bearers took up the chair and carried it away. Omer was so overcome that he did not even think of stopping the sedan-chair men. But on the ground just where the sedan chair had stood there lay a rose that had fallen from the gray veil of the girl. Omer took up the rose and breathed in its fragrance. Every­thing around him sank into oblivion. He returned the way he had come, did not even notice the sixteen waiting girls, and went up to his chamber. He lay on his bed and smelled the rose. For three days and three nights he lay there motionless j he ate nothing but a handful of grapes which his servant had put beside him.

The two sedan-chair men hurriedly took Gülilah home. She was all excited; and when she arrived, she threw herself into her nurse’s arms. She spoke of a young Padishah that had approached her, of one that was at once like the bright orb of the sun and like the gentle rays of the moon. She never left the rosebush in the days that followed.

Gülilah’s nurse soon heard that Omer lay lovesick in his chamber. She went to his mother and said she knew whence Omer’s rose had come; she said that she could lead Omer to the bush of the rose: “Then he will be healed.” Omer’s mother brought the nurse to his chamber. The nurse told me Bey heard these words, he leaped from the bed. The nurse took his hand and led him along the streets and through the high gate that encircled Gülilah’s home; she conducted him through the gardens until they came to the part that was like a forest. There they found the mysterious rosebush that hid the girl. Omer recognized the fragrance of the rose. He laid his hands on the rose­bush and said: “I have come to be cured by virtue of your fragrance and to be awakened to a new life. Why do you conceal yourself? May not my fingers touch your dove-colored veil, tenderly and reverentially, as one touches a sacred talisman?” Gülilah answered from the bush: “You may not, my Lord. I hide from you because my mother told me so. She enclosed me and spoke thus: ‘When he will come, he who dreams of the sweet smell of your rose, tell him this: The bush will open when you have unearthed it, when you have dug, deep and long, for forty days. And at the same time you shall order that a hole be dug on your own soil as deep as the one around my bush. Then you must carry the bush to your soil and there let it down into the earth. When you have accomplished this task, the rosebush will open and show you the one destined for you. But you shall not see her before.’ Thus, my Lord, my mother bade me speak to you.”

The Bey asked Gülilah: “Is your mother with you in the rosebush?” She answered him: “No, my Lord, she died and left me this bush for my consolation. When I am within the bush, I hear her voice. Hitherto I could enter and leave as I chose. Now, however – forty days are a long time.”

Omer went and fetched workmen, who began to dig up the bush. Every day Omer sat before the rosebush that did not release its prisoner. The nurse stood near the trees and worried whether the girl was troubled by hunger and thirst. The girl answered from the bush: “The dew suffices for my thirst, and my hunger is satisfied with the fragrance of the roses.” For forty days the workmen dug around the bush in a wide circle; not the tenderest root was to be hurt. Many people stood outside the walls, to watch in silence over the wonder within. The mother of the Bey of roses had the chambers prepared for the one that was to enter as the bride of her son.

Gülilah’s father did not know of these events, and it so happened that he had gone on a journey at just about the same time. His new wife accompanied him. Brigands attacked him on the way; they killed him and kidnapped his wife. There was no one to say yes or no to Gülilah’s marriage.

On the fortieth day the ditch around the rosebush was ready. A large cart, carefully built for the purpose and drawn by strong mules, stood ready, and the bush was loaded upon the cart. Then it was driven away from the gardens of Gülilah’s father’s house. The high gates of her home opened to let the bride pass, the prisoner of the rosebush. The Bey of roses walked beside the cart, worrying because of the uneven road and taking the utmost care to protect the bush; but Gülilah in the bush trembled with joy and expectation.

To the Bey the way to his own home seemed very long. Finally Omer saw a multitude of people, heard the calls of his friends, and the Imam approached who was to unite him with the girl of the roses when the bush opened. The rosebush was carefully lowered into the ditch. “Slowly, slowly,” the Bey implored the workmen. “Do not worry,” called the voice from the bush, “I am secure.” When the people in the crowd heard the voice from the bush, they were amazed at the miracle. And then the rosebush touched the soil of the Bey’s paternal ground and sank into the earth. The earth closed upon it, though no hand had stirred, and the rosebush opened as if it were a curtain opening.

Gülilah appeared, wrapped in her gray veil, roses behind her and roses at her sides. She looked as if clothed in veils and as if a cloud was floating about her. Silence greeted this wondrous sight that no one who was given to see it ever forgot. Into the silence came forth the Imam’s voice: “Omer, my son, take this thy wife Gülilah.” Gülilah stretched out her hands, and in a moment Omer was beside her, lifted her from the rose cage, wrapped her in his cloak, and carried her into the house.

Silence still reigned when the Imam spoke again: “The bride was concealed during the sacred forty days. Only when the earth of her home soil was wedded to the earth of her husband’s home soil was she released from her captivity.” And the Imam praised god, and all the people that had watched dispersed as if they renounced celebrating a wedding because they had already participated in something more than a cele­bration.

And in the evening the faithful nurse spoke thus to the women and maid-servants: “What we have witnessed today shall be an example of love and its wonders. Though many sceptics will say it is nothing but a legend, a tale -let them do so. We know of its veracity and truth.”


Rose Red

Rose Red

Snow White’s sister, ex-girlfriend of Jack Horner, brief fiancée of Bluebeard, and brief wife of Sinbad. For centuries, Rose’s relationship with her sister was defined by wild carousing and partying, serving as an embarrassment to her sister. Snow’s then husband Prince Charming got tangled with Rose Red in an adulterous relationship when she had stayed with the couple as Snow White’s companion, thus putting an end to the already troubled marriage. In the first Fables story arc, she is believed to be murdered, until Bigby Wolf solves the mystery: She and Jack had faked her death as part of a complex plan to avoid her impending marriage to Bluebeard after using a great deal of his money to finance one of Jack’s ill-fated get-rich-quick schemes.

In the second story arc, she and Snow White go up to the Farm for Rose to do as punishment for her faked death, where they are caught up in a revolution. At the end of that story, Rose finally finds her niche, managing the Farm, which allowed her to stand equal to her sister, the then-deputy mayor. At the end of the arc Rose is shown to have matured greatly and has fixed her relationship with her sister and broke off her bad relationship with Jack for good. She continues to run the Farm, doting on her nieces and nephews, and has occasionally provided assistance to covert operations. Though her life as the original party girl is well behind her, she still maintains a cheerful attitude and independent spirit, evident in how she runs the Farm, regardless of how the current administration would like her to manage things.

She was briefly involved with Weyland Smith before his death in the battle of Fabletown. Rose was also the one who persuaded her sister to trust Frau Totenkinder and take her with them to the mundane world while they were escaping from the Homelands and the invading armies of the Adversary. Rose seems to have stopped smoking as well. She had shown interest in Boy Blue while overseeing his labor sentence, but rejected his advances on the eve of Fabletown’s strike against the Emperor in order to preserve their friendship. Boy Blue did not take the rejection well.[1] Following the war story-arc, Rose married Sinbad, but immediately divorced him on account of her despair over Boy Blue’s post-war condition. She attempted to revive her romantic relationship with Boy Blue in his last moments, but was denied by Blue himself, with him stating that she goes out with whoever seems to add the most excitement to her life, and that he deserves better than that, but he hopes someone else can “fix her”.

Emotionally destroyed by Blue’s rejection and immediate death, Rose has descended heavily into self-loathing and depression, refusing to leave her bed for any reason. She reunited briefly with Jack on her descent toward rock-bottom.

Rose Red usually dresses in red and always has some sort of rose motif in her clothing, even if it is just a scarf tied in the shape of a blossom

Rose Daughter

Rose Daughter

Author: Robin McKinley
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Series: Folktales
Genre(s): Fantasy novel
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Media type: Print (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0-688-15439-5
Preceded by: Beauty
Followed by: Spindle’s End

First edition, 1997

Rose Daughter is a second retelling of the tale of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley, published in 1997.

Like McKinley’s original Beauty, the heroine has a strong, independent personality that sets her apart from the average fairy-tale female. In the original fairytale, Beauty’s sisters were selfish and vain. In Rose Daughter, Beauty’s two older sisters are brave and clever respectively, but cannot tolerate people less brave or clever than themselves. The impoverishment of the family forces the two older sisters to learn love and patience.

In the world of this book, roses can only be grown by using magic and are thus very rare. When the family moves to a lonely cottage left to them in a will from an unknown, distant relative, they find the house surrounded by a strange unpleasantly thorny bush. The sisters and father think the bushes should be uprooted but Beauty argues that nobody would grow such a nasty plant around the house without a reason.

There is a local legend that a curse will befall the area when three sisters live in the cottage. As the oldest sister, Lionheart, has disguised herself as a young man in order to get a job as a groom for the local lord, the neighbours do not know that the prophecy/curse is about to be fulfilled.

The main part of the book follows the basic plot of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast but with a few alterations: Beauty stays at the house for what seems to be seven days, during which she revives the roses in the Beast’s greenhouse and calls small creatures (bats, birds, frogs/toads, hedgehogs) back to the palace, and the Beast has filled the roof of his mansion with beautiful paintings.

At the point when Beauty returns to the Beast and declares her love for him, she is given a choice between returning the Beast to his human form or keeping him as the Beast. If he returns to human form, his wealth and fortune will likewise be returned to him and Beauty and her family can return to their former wealth and status. She and the former Beast will use their wealth to help other people and their names will be spoken far and wide. If he remains a Beast, they will return to the village and the life which the family has created there. Beauty asks how she and the Beast will be spoken of, if he returns to human form; the magic reveals that they would be spoken of with fear and loathing as nobody can know how best to help strangers.

Beauty chooses to stay in the village with the Beast in his current form, as not only would he miss being immune to the weather and strong, but more importantly, she fell in love with him when he was a Beast, and as a human, he would be a stranger to her.

Anne Bachelier has illustrated Rose Daughter in a limited edition as Rose Daughter-A Re-Telling of Beauty and the Beast.

Briar Rose

Briar Rose

Better known as Sleeping Beauty, Briar Rose was Prince Charming’s second wife. She escaped from the Homelands with close to nothing, but a blessing received on her christening day, which promised that she’d always be wealthy, came to her rescue, and she rapidly gained great wealth through successful speculation on the stock market. As such, she lives in a luxurious apartment filled with expensive furniture and decoration. Her curse, however, remains in effect, with the slightest prick of her finger leading to her falling asleep, followed by everybody else in the building, which is then surrounded by rapidly growing thorn-bearing plants. A kiss from a (genuinely) loving “prince” resets the curse back to the start.

While generally a hazard, forcing Rose to take extreme care and wear gloves at all times, the curse has proved useful on at least two occasions. The first was in the story A Two-Part Caper when journalist Tommy Sharp threatened to reveal what he’d discovered about the Fables, the curse was employed to put the inhabitants of his building to sleep while a team led by Bigby Wolf ransacked his apartment.

The second occasion was during the war against the Empire, as depicted in the War and Pieces story-arc, was the curse was deployed within the Imperial capital, putting the inhabitants of the entire city to sleep, depriving the Empire of most of its senior officials and the majority of their combat-ready sorcerers. As of the current storyline, Rose is still asleep under the effect of her curse.

The Rose Tree

The Rose Tree by Joseph Jacobs

There was once upon a time a good man who had two children: a girl by a first wife, and a boy by the second. The girl was as white as milk, and her lips were like cherries. Her hair was like golden silk, and it hung to the ground. Her brother loved her dearly, but her wicked stepmother hated her. “Child,” said the stepmother one day, “go to the grocer’s shop and buy me a pound of candles.” She gave her the money; and the little girl went, bought the candles, and started on her return. There was a stile to cross. She put down the candles whilst she got over the stile. Up came a dog and ran off with the candles.

She went back to the grocer’s, and she got a second bunch. She came to the stile, set down the candles, and proceeded to climb over. Up came the dog and ran off with the candles.

She went again to the grocer’s, and she got a third bunch; and just the same happened. Then she came to her stepmother crying, for she had spent all the money and had lost three bunches of candles.

The stepmother was angry, but she pretended not to mind the loss. She said to the child: “Come, lay your head on my lap that I may comb your hair.” So the little one laid her head in the woman’s lap, who proceeded to comb the yellow silken hair. And when she combed the hair fell over her knees, and rolled right down to the ground.

Then the stepmother hated her more for the beauty of her hair; so she said to her, “I cannot part your hair on my knee, fetch a billet of wood.” So she fetched it. Then said the stepmother, “I cannot part your hair with a comb, fetch me an axe.” So she fetched it.

“Now,” said the wicked woman, “lay your head down on the billet whilst I part your hair.”

Well! she laid down her little golden head without fear; and whist! down came the axe, and it was off. So the mother wiped the axe and laughed.

Then she took the heart and liver of the little girl, and she stewed them and brought them into the house for supper. The husband tasted them and shook his head. He said they tasted very strangely. She gave some to the little boy, but he would not eat. She tried to force him, but he refused, and ran out into the garden, and took up his little sister, and put her in a box, and buried the box under a rose-tree; and every day he went to the tree and wept, till his tears ran down on the box.

One day the rose-tree flowered. It was spring, and there among the flowers was a white bird; and it sang, and sang, and sang like an angel out of heaven. Away it flew, and it went to a cobbler’s shop, and perched itself on a tree hard by; and thus it sang,

“My wicked mother slew me,
My dear father ate me,
My little brother whom I love
Sits below, and I sing above
Stick, stock, stone dead.”

“Sing again that beautiful song,” asked the shoemaker. “If you will first give me those little red shoes you are making.” The cobbler gave the shoes, and the bird sang the song; then flew to a tree in front of a watchmaker’s, and sang:

“My wicked mother slew me,
My dear father ate me,
My little brother whom I love
Sits below, and I sing above
Stick, stock, stone dead.”

“Oh, the beautiful song! sing it again, sweet bird,” asked the watchmaker. “If you will give me first that gold watch and chain in your hand.” The jeweller gave the watch and chain. The bird took it in one foot, the shoes in the other, and, after having repeated the song, flew away to where three millers were picking a millstone. The bird perched on a tree and sang:

“My wicked mother slew me,
My dear father ate me,
My little brother whom I love
Sits below, and I sing above

Then one of the men put down his tool and looked up from his work,


Then the second miller’s man laid aside his tool and looked up,


Then the third miller’s man laid down his tool and looked up,


Then all three cried out with one voice: “Oh, what a beautiful song! Sing it, sweet bird, again.” “If you will put the millstone round my neck,” said the bird. The men did what the bird wanted and away to the tree it flew with the millstone round its neck, the red shoes in one foot, and the gold watch and chain in the other. It sang the song and then flew home. It rattled the millstone against the eaves of the house, and the stepmother said: “It thunders.” Then the little boy ran out to see the thunder, and down dropped the red shoes at his feet. It rattled the millstone against the eaves of the house once more, and the stepmother said again: “It thunders.” Then the father ran out and down fell the chain about his neck.

In ran father and son, laughing and saying, “See, what fine things the thunder has brought us!” Then the bird rattled the millstone against the eaves of the house a third time; and the stepmother said: “It thunders again, perhaps the thunder has brought something for me,” and she ran out; but the moment she stepped outside the door, down fell the millstone on her head; and so she died.