It's always a good time to send some love out to those you care about. And February (the home of Valentine's Day) serves as a good reminder to take a moment for this.
Valentine's Day traces its roots to the Roman times and the rise of the Christian church.
Around the year 270, Roman Emperor Claudius II forbade soldiers from marrying since he thought that bachelors made better warriors. Defying the law, the Christian cleric Valentine secretly performed weddings. He was caught and put to death. As a way to commemorate his life, the Vatican established Saint Valentine’s Day in mid-February, which also served to co-opt an existing Roman fertility festival.
Today Valentine’s Day is an international celebration. Traditions range from expressions of love between families and friends, acts of appreciation, and an opportunity for couples to share their love and commitment.
And few symbols of love are as powerful as the rose. Over 250 million will be sold on Valentine’s Day as part of what is now a multi-billion dollar holiday.
“Modern” roses known for their abundance of flowers and long bloom time trace their ancestry to plants brought into Europe from China in the late 1700’s. Thanks to its range of habit, size, and color, the rose remains a popular plant choice across gardens.
Here are just a few of my favorite examples:
Queen Mary’s Rose Garden, Regents Park. London, UK. A trellis covered in climbing roses gives the garden extra height and provides a backdrop for rectangular beds of shrub roses. Queen Mary’s Rose Garden in Regent’s Park was planted in the 1930’s. It is the largest rose garden in London with 12,000 roses across 400 varieties.
Patio de Acequia, Generalife. Granada, Spain. A yellow rose adds fragrance to this paradise garden. Built in the 1300’s as part of the Sultan’s summer palace, the garden is bisected by a water canal and a stone walkway. Plant material is lush and colorful, selected for its beauty and ability to delight the senses.
Rose Arbor, Longwood Gardens. Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Pink roses in full bloom cover an arbor that defines this outdoor space. Longwood Gardens were the personal passion of Pierre Dupont who purchased the property in 1906 when it was a working farm and arboretum. Over the years he expanded Longwood to over 900 acres and created over 40 garden spaces including fountains and conservatories.
The Rose Garden at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. Richmond, United Kingdom. A breathtaking cluster of salmon colored roses. In 1845, landscape designer William Andrews Nesfield created the Rose Garden as part of a series of rectangular planting beds. It contains 3,000 roses. Kew Gardens were established in 1759 to further the study of plants for their economic value; it is one of the most famous botanic gardens in the world.
Viale delle Rose, Giardini della Landriana, Ardea, Italy. Variegated box frame Bonica roses. An ivy covered brick wall provides shelter. Dark olive branches pull the eye up to shimmering silver leaves and the sky beyond. Russell Page designed this garden with the Marchesa Lavinia Taverna at Landriana in the 1960's. The property is divided into a series of outdoor rooms, each with its own personality.
Feel free to share this post (and your love) with those you care about.