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Roses and More Roses

“My love is like a red, red rose”…or maybe a black rose, a pink rose, or a yellow rose!

As Valentine’s Day approaches (February 14th), Cupid’s victims everywhere may be thinking about what kind of roses to send to their sweethearts. You can be sure that professional florists are thinking about it, as they busily prepare to accommodate everyone’s rose requests. Red roses, of course, are universally understood to symbolize love. But, just as there are many degrees of love, there are many shades of roses that may be called “red”. Some are so deep that they even come close to being black.

A truly black rose is a thing of legend; it doesn’t really exist. Black is a color that just doesn’t seem to occur very often in nature’s palette of flower colors. Nonetheless, the idea of a black rose seems to convey a sense of magic, mystery and rarity, and hybridizers are doing their best to provide them for us. Three such rose varieties are already on the market in somewhat limited quantities: ‘Black Magic’, ‘Black Beauty’ and ‘Black Baccara’. Each of these roses is actually a deep maroon in color. The ‘Black Magic Rose’ is a dark, velvety red. ‘Black Beauty’ is a Victorian burgundy color with a beige tone at the base of the petals. The ‘Black Baccara Rose’ is the color of a nearly ripe blackberry. It’s probably the darkest rose of all. All of these roses display a rich, velvety texture that is captivating.

Two more roses that have an air of mystery about them are called ‘Abracadabra’ and ‘Hocus Pocus’. Each of these smaller sized roses is a very dark red in color with random splashes and streaks of cream-yellow throughout the petals. ‘Abracadabra’ is a bit darker and has a few more streaks than ‘Hocus Pocus’.

As far as red roses go, they are available in a wide range of sizes and shades. Two of the largest are ‘Grand Gala’ and ‘Rouge Basier’. Each is a bright, clear red in color. ‘First Red’ and ‘Charlotte’ are two medium sized roses that have deep red petals. ‘Classy’ is a medium to large rose that tends to be more burgundy. ‘Bull’s Eye’ is a new medium to large hybrid with a rich, romantic red color. ‘Temptation’ and ‘Kardinal’ are both bright red in hue and delicate in size. ‘Red Berlin’ is a large rose with a rounded shape and tomato-red petals. An unusual new red rose is called ‘Red Intuition’, which features dark red streaks on its bright red petals.

White roses symbolize purity and innocence, and there are abundant choices among these roses as well. While none are really as white as freshly fallen snow, some rose hybrids do come very close, while others are varying shades of ivory, cream, or beige. ‘Bianca’ and ‘Escimo Roses’ are two medium sized white roses are nearly a true white in color. ‘Tineke’ has a greenish-cast to its petals, especially before it’s fully open. ‘Vendela’ is a beautifully shaped rose in a champagne ivory tone. ‘Avalanche’ is perhaps the largest white rose on the market, presenting a big hand-full of petals in a bright eggshell hue. See our June 2002 Flower Shop Network Newsletter for more descriptions of white roses.

If pink roses are more your style, your local florist has a large selection available. Pink generally means sweetness, gentleness, or happiness, but the varying shades of pink roses can imply many different moods. ‘Charming Unique’ is a rose that has a graceful, tall bud that opens in a medium, warm pink color. ‘Hot Princess’ and ‘Mascara’ are two roses that are a vivid, shocking pink. ‘Aqua’ is a new, large sized rose in a clear, lavender pink hue. ‘Anna’ is a creamy, cameo pink, while ‘Bianca Candy’ has a very soft, cotton candy pink color. A very unusual rose is ‘Henri Matisse’ that has light pink petals streaked with dark pink. There are dozens more pink rose varieties, ranging from coral through peach to nearly lavender in tone.

The choices abound among yellow roses too. Traditionally understood to symbolize joy, friendship, or even jealousy, yellow roses come in wide range of shades. ‘Aalsmeer Gold’ is an old favorite, a long lasting rose with bright golden yellow petals. The ‘Judy Rose’ is one of the largest yellow roses that is a soft, buttery yellow in tone. ‘Skyline’ and ‘Cream Prophyta’ sport pale yellow petals and ‘Golden Gate’ is a deep, golden yellow color. An interesting bi-color rose is called ‘Konfetti’, featuring yellow petals with a red edge.

Blue roses? Well, they’re more elusive than black ones. Roses don’t seem to have the genetic makeup to produce blue petals, and all the so-called blue roses on the market are really varying shades of lavender. One of the best is called ‘Blue Bird’, a medium to large, clear lavender rose with a rounded shape and a high petal count. Another is ‘Blue Curiosa’, which has a matte lilac color and seems to open more slowly. ‘Pacific Blue’ is a pale, antique lavender with a romantic, ruffled shape. Lavender roses signify enchantment.

One more rose worth considering is named ‘Milva’, with bright, pumpkin orange petals blazed with darker orange. Juicy! In September, ‘Milva’ was named “Outstanding Variety of the Year” by the Society of American Florists.

There are many more types of roses that bear mentioning, which we’ll cover in a future newsletter. But for now, bear in mind that the meanings associated with the various rose colors are not necessarily consistent or universally understood. And, the meanings that have been ascribed to some flowers have changed over the years. For a complete list of the historic traditional meanings of flowers, check the Flower Shop Network Flower Meanings page. Below, we’ve assembled a listing of the more contemporary messages that are commonly associated with the colors of roses. Use this guide at your own risk:

Red Rose true love, passion, I love you
Deep Burgundy Rose unconscious beauty
Yellow Rose happiness, friendship, freedom
Pink Rose sweetness, gentleness
Light Pink Rose grace, joy
Dark Pink rose thankfulness
Peach Pink Rose admiration, appreciation
Peach Rose let’s get together, sincerity
Coral Rose desire
Orange Rose fascination, enthusiasm
White Rose purity, innocence
Lavender Rose enchantment, love at first sight
White and Red Rose unity
Yellow and Red Rose jovial and happy feelings

Visit the Flower Shop Network Flower Gallery to view pictures of roses arranged.

Valentine’s Day is a really busy time for flower shops, so be sure to give your local florist plenty of advance notice, most especially if you want to send a specific color or variety of rose. It’s also a good idea to have a second choice in mind. And remember that your neighborhood flower shop can arrange for roses to be delivered out of town, too. Consider having the flowers delivered a day or two early. It will make easier for your florist to give you the best selection and service, and it will let your Valentine know that you just couldn’t wait to get your message across.

What will your flowers say?

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