Rosa rubiginosa bush (Photo: Janice Tucker)
R. rubiginosa is considered invasive in southwest Australia and New Zealand. It has been restricted for planting. It makes me wonder if there is a close relationship between R. rubiginosa and Rosa woodsii, a common Rocky Mountain wild species rose. They both send out sturdy suckers and tend to take over garden space. I made the mistake of saving R. woodsii that came as a bonus with aspen trees we planted in our new landscape, and requires some constant cutting back of suckers which grow large quickly in improved, rich soils and irrigated garden situations. But I love the sweet pink blossoms that are the first roses of spring. I first encountered it when hiking mountain trails when I was new to New Mexico and was so surprised to see the beautiful pink rose growing in the wild.
Roses are the flowers of love in almost all cultures. Countless examples are there to be seen in poetry:
Shakespeare – “a Midsummer-Night’s Dream”, Oberon on Titania’s bower:
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows;
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk roses and with eglantine.
Then there is Bobby Burns:
My luve is like a red, red rose…
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear…
I will luve thee still.
Perhaps the rose has come to symbolize love because of its beauty, fragrance, and idea of purity associated with the Holy Mother. And maybe because of the danger of its thorns! Of course, the rose was probably the first flower to be used to produce perfumes. If all of this weren’t enough, rose hip oil, pressed from mature hips, is widely used in skin care products. It is high in beta-carotene and absorbs easily, so is said to be useful for hydration of the skin, healing of scars, and to alleviate aging.
For whatever reason, let us celebrate the Rose family!