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  • Writer's pictureOlivine Moss

Rose Myths Legends Poetry and Planting

Updated: Dec 2, 2023





Myths and Legends

Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665) The Empire of Flora (detail) (1631), oil on canvas, 131 × 181 cm, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Desden, Germany. Wikimedia Commons.

The Myth of Chloris (Flora)

According to Greek mythology, the rose was created by Chloris, the goddess of flowers and vegetation. One day, she came across a lifeless nymph in the woods and decided to transform her into a flower. She asked for the help of other gods and goddesses to make the flower more splendid and enchanting.

Dionysus, the god of wine, gave the flower a rich color. Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, added grace and charm. The nectar of the flower was infused with a sweet scent by Chloris herself. Aeolis, the god of wind, cleared the sky of clouds and allowed Apollo, the sun god, to shine his light and make the flower bloom. Finally, Mars, the god of war, added thorns to the stem of the flower to protect it from harm.


1796 Benjamin West

According to some legends, the rose was originally white, until it was stained by the nectar of the gods. Here is the story of how Cupid, the son of Venus, accidentally gave the rose its red color.

Cupid was the god of desire and affection, who often caused trouble with his arrows of love. He liked to join the festivities of the other gods and goddesses, and one day he was invited to a banquet in honor of Flora, the goddess of flowers. Flora had created a new flower, a white rose, and she presented it to the guests as a gift.

Cupid was dancing and having fun, but he was also careless with his belongings. He had brought a cup of nectar, the drink of the gods, with him, but he left it unattended on a table. A bee, attracted by the sweet smell, flew into the cup and drowned in the liquid. Cupid did not notice this, and when he returned to his seat, he picked up his cup and resumed his dance.

As he was spinning and twirling, he spilled some of the nectar from his cup. The drops fell on the white roses that Flora had placed around the hall, and they instantly turned red. The nectar had dyed the petals with the color of blood and passion. The gods and goddesses were amazed by this transformation, and they praised Cupid for his accidental creation. Flora was delighted with the new color of her roses, and she declared that they would be a symbol of love and beauty ever since.

Venus and Adonis

Venus, Adonis and Cupid by Annibale Carracci

Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, and her lover Adonis, a handsome mortal. According to this story, Venus was rushing to save Adonis from a wild boar that had attacked him. As she ran, she stepped on a thorn and cut her foot, spilling her divine blood on the white roses that grew along the way. The roses absorbed the blood and turned red, symbolizing the love and sacrifice of Venus for Adonis. This legend is one of the many ways that people have tried to explain the origin and meaning of the red rose, which is still considered a sign of passion and romance today.The rose has always been associated with the divine and the magical in pagan mythology, and it continues to enchant us with its fragrance and elegance.


Chinese mythology, the legend of the blue rose is a story of love, courage and magic that involves a princess, an emperor and a gardener. Here is how the legend goes:

The princess was the daughter of the emperor, and she was very beautiful and intelligent. She had many admirers who wanted to marry her, but she was not interested in any of them. She only had eyes for the gardener, who worked in the palace and tended to the flowers. The gardener loved her too, but he knew that he had no chance with her because of his low status.

The emperor was getting old and he wanted to see his daughter married and happy. He decided to hold a contest for all the suitors who wanted to win her hand. The princess asked her suitors to bring her a blue rose, a rare and mythical flower that symbolized true love and loyalty. He thought that whoever could find such a flower would be worthy of his daughter.

Many suitors came from far and wide, bringing roses that they had dyed blue or painted blue. Some even brought fake roses made of silk or glass. But the princess saw through their tricks and rejected them all. She knew that none of them truly loved her or cared about her happiness.

The gardener was heartbroken when he heard about the contest. He knew that he could never find a blue rose, because it did not exist in nature. He searched everywhere, but he could only find roses of other colors: red, yellow, pink, white. He decided to pick a white rose and give it to the princess anyway, hoping that she would recognize his sincere feelings for her.

He went to the palace and presented his rose to the emperor. The emperor was angry and disappointed when he saw the white rose. He thought that the gardener was mocking him and his daughter. He ordered his guards to arrest him and throw him in prison.

But as soon as the princess saw the white rose, she ran to the gardener and embraced him. She told him that she loved him too, and that she did not care about his status or wealth. She looked at the rose and saw that it was blue, not white. She realized that it was a miracle, a sign of their true love and destiny.

She showed the blue rose to her father and begged him to let them marry. The emperor was astonished and confused when he saw the blue rose. He could not believe his eyes. He realized that he had been wrong about the gardener, and that he had been foolish to judge people by their appearance or social rank. He apologized to the gardener and gave him his blessing to marry his daughter.

The princess and the gardener got married and lived happily ever after. They planted the blue rose in their garden and cherished it as a symbol of their love.

Medicinal Uses

rose petals

  • Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic

Medicinal uses of rose leaves

  • Soothes sore throats, treats infections, relieves headaches, reduces skin redness, and heals cuts scars, and burns.

  • The calming scent reduces stress and depression


Now will I weave white violets, daffodils, With myrtle spray,

And lily bells that trembling laughter fills,

And the sweet crocus gay, With these blue hyacinth and the lover's rose,

That she may wear— My sun - maiden - each scented flower that blows

Upon her scented hair.

Trans . from Meleager . - W . M. HARDINGE ,

" Maids, get the choicest flowers, a garland and entwine; Nor pink, nor pansies, let there want, be sure of eglantine.

See that there be store of lilies, ( Call'd of shepherds daffadillies )

With roses, damask, white, and red, the dearest fleur-de - lis ,

The cowslip of Jerusalem, and clove of Paradise. "

Eclogue III .


How to Grow Roses: A Guide for Beginners

Roses are one of the most popular and beautiful flowers in the world. They come in many colors, shapes, and sizes, and they can add charm and elegance to any garden. However, some people may think that roses are too difficult or fussy to grow. The truth is, roses are not as hard to care for as you may think. With some basic knowledge and tips, you can grow roses successfully and enjoy their blooms for years.

Here are some steps to follow if you want to grow roses in your garden:

  • Choose the right roses for your climate and site. There are many types of roses, such as hybrid teas, floribundas, shrub roses, climbers, and ramblers. Each type has different characteristics, such as flower size, shape, fragrance, color, bloom time, and disease resistance. You should choose roses that suit your climate zone, your garden space, and your personal preference. You can buy roses either as bare-root plants or as potted plants. Bare-root roses are cheaper and easier to plant, but they need more care at first. Potted roses are more expensive and harder to transplant, but they are already established and ready to grow.

  • Plant your roses in a sunny location with good drainage. Roses need at least six hours of direct sunlight every day to produce healthy and abundant flowers. They also need well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter and nutrients. You can improve your soil by adding compost, manure, or peat moss before planting. You should dig a hole that is twice as wide and deep as the root ball of your rose plant. You should also loosen the roots gently and spread them evenly in the hole. Then, fill the hole with soil and water well. If you are planting bare-root roses, you should soak them in water for a few hours before planting. You should also mound some soil around the base of the plant to protect it from drying out.

  • Fertilize your roses regularly for impressive flowers. Roses are heavy feeders and need a balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You should fertilize your roses once a month during the growing season, starting from spring until late summer. You can use a granular or liquid fertilizer that is specially formulated for roses, or you can use organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion, bone meal, or blood meal. You should avoid fertilizing your roses in late fall or winter, as this may stimulate new growth that can be damaged by frost.

  • Water your roses evenly to keep the soil moist. Roses need about an inch of water per week, depending on the weather and the soil type. You should water your roses deeply and infrequently, rather than shallowly and frequently. This will encourage deep root growth and prevent diseases such as powdery mildew or black spot. You should water your roses early in the morning or late in the evening, and avoid wetting the foliage or the flowers. You can use a soaker hose, a drip irrigation system, or a watering can to water your roses.

  • Prune your roses in early spring to shape them and remove dead or diseased wood. Pruning is essential for maintaining healthy and attractive rose plants. It helps to improve air circulation, reduce pests and diseases, stimulate new growth, and enhance flowering. You should prune your roses when they are dormant or just before they start to leaf out in spring. You should use sharp and clean pruning shears or scissors to make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle above a bud or a branch. You should remove any dead, diseased, damaged, or crossing branches, as well as any weak or spindly stems. You should also cut back any old or faded flowers to encourage new ones.

  • Enjoy your roses! Roses are not only beautiful to look at, but also fragrant and useful. You can cut some fresh roses from your garden and arrange them in a vase for your home or give them as a gift to someone special. You can also dry some rose petals and use them for potpourri, crafts, or tea. You can even make some rose water or rose oil from your roses and use them for skincare or aromatherapy.

Roses are rewarding plants that can bring joy and beauty to any garden. By following these simple steps, you can grow roses successfully and easily.



Further Reading and Resources

Rosalind Northcote (1903), The Book of Herbs, retrieved from (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2023, from

Instances of Roses in Mythology. (n.d.). Dose of Roses®. Retrieved January 16, 2023, from


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