211. History of the Rose (Rose Garden)

Few plants have enjoyed such reverence and popularity across human cultures as the rose, long

appreciated for its beauty, flavor, and fragrance.


Western cultivation of roses dates back millennia to ancient Persia. In ancient Rome, roses were

exalted and grown in great quantities.


During the Dark Ages, cultivation dropped off until Arab cultures reintroduced roses to Europe.

By the 13

th

century, the French rose,

Rosa gallica

, helped Provence become the center of a

perfume industry that exists to this day.


At the end of the 18

th

century, the introduction of repeat-blooming roses from China gave a boost

to ornamental rose cultivation. Breeders produced new hybrids, catching the eye of Jos├ęphine,

wife of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Jos├ęphine became a major benefactor of roses, and

their popularity spread from France across Europe and other continents.


Here in the United States, the rose was selected as our official national floral emblem in 1986.