CUPID, RED ROSES AND VALENTINE
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This month when we celebrate Valentine’s Day, it is interesting to note that the rose is not only a symbol of love but a symbol of discretion. Legend has it that Cupid gave a red rose to Harpocrates, the god of silence, to bribe him to secrecy over the dalliance of Venus and so the red rose become the symbol of discretion, love, passion and romance. Roses were henceforth painted on the ceilings of banquet halls to remind all gathered there that whatever was said there, should not be repeated which became the expression sub rosa (under the rose). Another legend says that while Aphrodite was running to the dying Adonis, she was scratched by a rose bush and her blood falling on the roses turn it into red. Other account says that Adonis turned his blood into red roses.
Whatever legend strikes your fancy, there is nothing in our garden at this time of the year but the florist and even the supermarket stores are selling roses grown in South America so there is no excuse not to give red roses for Valentine’s Day. And how did Valentine’s Day get started?
A certain Bishop Valentine started it to replace the Roman festival of Lupercalia. There were several Bishop Valentines but nobody is really certain as to who is the real Bishop Valentine. But whoever he is, the tradition continues and we celebrate this day exchanging gifts and greetings between our loved ones, friends, family but mostly lovers. During the Victorian era, valentine cards are mostly decorated with old-fashioned roses. Even today, valentines are still associated with roses. For Valentine’s Day, red roses are arbitrarily the most popular flower.
There are several red roses in the market nowadays but I can recommend some tried and true varieties that grow very well in the garden. Plant some of them and give your valentine red roses again in June.
HYBRID TEA ROSES:
- Alec’s Red – medium red rose
- American Pride – dark red rose
- Chrysler Imperial – dark red rose
- Crimson Glory – dark red rose
- Dublin – medium red rose
- Firefighter - dark red rose
- Grand Masterpiece – medium red rose
- Ingrid Bergman – dark red rose
- Kardinal – medium red rose
- Kentucky Derby – dark red rose
- Lasting Love - dark red rose
- Legend – medium red rose
- Marilyn Wellan – medium red rose
- Mister Lincoln – dark red rose
- Olympiad – medium red rose
- Papa Meilland – dark red rose
- Veteran’s Honor – dark red rose
- Europeana – dark red rose
- Lavaglut – dark red rose
- Showbiz – medium red rose
- Black Jade – dark red rose
- Liberty Bell – Red blend rose
- Old Glory – medium red rose
- Peggy “T” – medium red rose
- Ralph Moore – medium red rose
- Falstaff – dark red rose
- Leonard Dudley Braithwaite – dark red rose
- Othello – medium red rose
- Red Simplicity – medium red rose
- Tess of the d’Urbervilles –dark red rose
- The Prince – dark red rose
- Tradescant – dark red rose
- William Shakespeare – dark red rose
- William Shakespeare 2000 – medium red rose
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