Scotland has the thistle, Northern Ireland the shamrock, Wales the daffodil and England the rose. The flowers that make up the United Kingdom bring a whole new meaning to the phrase rainbow coalition, while in England, the rose has come to signify so much of the country’s heritage, from royal dynasties to wars.
Most famously, though, the rose symbolises love. To demonstrate its love of all things botanical, Crabtree & Evelyn created its own rose, named after the great 17th and 18th century English diarist and horticulturalist, John Evelyn. The Evelyn Rose sits at the heart of our work and was cultivated over several years by renowned florist David Austen.
The very first mention of the rose can be found as far back as in the work of Confucius, nearly 2,500 years ago (so the story goes). Rose cultivation then developed over subsequent Chinese dynasties, before the pretty-petalled little gem made its way to British shores in the 18th Century, becoming one of the most sought after flowers thereafter. Later roses were featured heavily in Gothic architecture, religion and royal symbolism.
Beyond Britain, roses have also played a critical role in the mythology and folklore of other noted empires. Cleopatra famously carpeted the floor of her boudoir with heaps of roses to seduce Mark Anthony, while these days the White House has its famous Rose Garden, from which presidents address the nation. There’s also that schmaltzy, Valentine’s Day poem, which, by the way, lied to you: not all roses are red. In fact, the Evelyn Rose’s petals start out pale in the spring and emerge pink in the summer – much like our very own British bodies.
Further afield, roses are still revered in India, while in the Himalayas 15 different species can be found. Rose water and rose oil became household staples, thanks not only to their sweet flavour but also their many, many cosmetic benefits. Rose is known to hydrate and moisturise the skin and help control excess oil levels.
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