Love spoken in a book written in language of flowers
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    Auction Finds

    Our love affair with roses

    I was taking my morning walk one day recently when I saw bursts of roses abloom in yard after yard. It was if someone had startled Mother Nature from her sleep and she had flung open her arms and let them loose.

    They were beautiful in their different shapes and colors, hanging singly from a stem or in bunches from a fence, up a trellis or round a pole. Everywhere I looked, down one street and up another, were red roses, pink roses (there were lots of pinks), yellow roses, white roses. Roses still in buds, roses on the verge of dissipating.

    A pink rose and a water pitcher.

    They were blooming in my yard, too: A yellow rose bush that a friend bought me a decade or so ago as a house-warming gift. The bush has crawled up the corner of my porch and along the top of the window on the back side of the porch. The rosebush that I bought from a catalog for its orange bloom had even produced one or two flowers.

    After seeing the roses in nature, I started looking for vintage items that used the rose as a motif, and found plenty of them. Manufacturers know we are fanatic about these flowers, and they indulge us with products that feature them unopened or with fully opened petals.

    Who doesn’t love roses? They represent beauty and love, but they’re not just a pretty face. They also have some age on them. They appeared in fossils from millions of years ago and were first cultivated about 5,000 years ago in China, according to one account. The Romans built great rose gardens, and used the flowers for celebrations, as medicine and perfume. Two factions of the British monarchy took on the red rose and white rose as their symbols in a civil war in the 15th century that became known as the “War of the Roses.”

    A white rose and a Lime doll from the Dominican Republic.

    Empress Josephine created what has been described as a magnificent rose garden at Chateau de la Malmaison, the country home of her and her husband Napoleon outside Paris during the early 19th century. Her collection included as many varieties as she could find from all over the world. She may be history’s greatest lover of roses.

    There are said to be 150 species of roses around the world today. They have been the inspiration for songs, poems and books, and the Kentucky Derby has chosen it as its official flower. Here a sampling of the roses from my walks and the man-made replicas from auctions:

     

     

     

     

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