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Elizabethan roses.

13 years ago

I'm compiling a historical rose list to send to the B.B.C. in the hopes they will stop doing things like showing Queen Elizabeth the Great being given a very long stemmed yellow, high-centered H.T. as they did in 'The Virgin Queen' with all the other surroundings accurate to that period. The earliest date of an yellow rose, I could find, that has the fullness of petals to appear like a garden rose,to be introduced to England was probably grown in John Tradescents' garden in 1603, the year of Elizabeths death; R. hemispherica.

Because eglantine roses were shown in paintings with her as a symbol of virginity, those would have been appropriate to give her, or the white 'Rose of York' ( she was named after her paternal grandmother Elizabeth of York who belonged to the family that the rose was named for )and the red 'Rose of Lancaster, which comprise the Tudor rose symbol. Any of those could be given to her in late spring or early summer.

Graham Stuart Thomas wrote that he thought R. moschata was introduced to England in the Elizabethan era, but I don't know what facts he based his opinion on. If it is because Shakespeare reffered to a sweet Musk rose, which could imply fragrance, I would agree with him because to me R. arvensis (Englands' native musk rose) has little scent other than a little bit of vegetal like scent that reminds me of cornsilk, while R. moschata is not only sweetly scented, but the fragrance wafts quite a bit around, and away from the rosebushes.

Would I be correct in saying-

-all of the wild roses native to Europe are pink and/or white?

- each wild rose blooms for c. one month each year, most roses bloom in spring or early summer.

If anyone could tell me when the wild rose species in England bloom I would be greatly grateful.

The only red in a native European wild rose I could see was in R. alpina which is white edged with cerise edges. No yellow roses appeared until c. 1550's after what was afterwards called the 'Austrian Briar' was introuduced from the middle east to Europe.

R. hemisperica was so rare in the 1600's even in the large floral markets of Amsterdam that a painter commisioned to paint The Yellow Rose' as it was called then, could not find even one.

Thank you very much,


Comments (11)

  • michaelg
    13 years ago


    R. gallica and Apothecary Rose were called "red" at the time.

    The Elizabethans also had a pink damask rose.

    Here is a poem comparing Elizabeth to a rose-- see the acrostic in the left margin, "Elisabetha Regina." As far as I know, this is the first appearance of the phrase "Queen of flowers" in English.

    To the Rose
    Sir John Davies (from Hymns of Astraea, 1599)

    Eye of the Garden, Queene of flowres,
    LoveÂs cup wherein he nectar powres,
    Ingendered first of nectar;
    Sweet nurse-child of the SpringÂs young howres,
    And BeautieÂs faire character.

    Best jewell that the Earth doth weare,
    Even when the brave young sunne draws neare,
    To her hot Love pretending
    Himselfe likewise like forme doth beare,
    At rising and descending.

    Rose of the Queene of Love belovÂd;
    EnglandÂs great Kings divinely movÂd,
    Gave Roses in their banner;
    It shewed that BeautieÂs Rose indeed,
    Now in this age should them succeed,
    And raigne in more sweet manner.

  • mariannese
    13 years ago

    Most wild roses bloom in late June in England and northern Europe.

    I agree that it is very irritating with roses that are out of period in period films, etc. On the cover of my copy of The Apothecary Rose - A Medieval Murder Mystery by Candace Robb is a monk surrounded by red hybrid teas. If it's not possible to find the right kind of rose in flower, the film makers could use an artificial rose instead. The audience would never know if the rose is made from silk and an actress worth her salt should be able to swoon over it as well as the real thing.

  • le_jardin_of_roses
    13 years ago

    I love this thread and find it fascinating. I love the Elizabethan England era. Thank you for posting this, Luxrosa.


  • organic_tosca
    13 years ago

    HEAR, HEAR!!

  • patriciae_gw
    13 years ago

    The Scots Briars being native would be in period but doubles werent being raised till the late 1700's. I cant see the Queen being handed one of those though.


  • michaelg
    13 years ago

    As to time of bloom, the poem says "Even when the brave young sun draws near," that is, around the summer solstice, June 22, when the sun is strongest..

  • luxrosa
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Thank you, Michaelg,
    for the historical poem, it is useful to know when the term Queen of flowers, was used in English.

    Has the Scotch Burnet rose been documented as being grown in England in the 1500's? or is it native to southern England?

    - I came across one source that says that Robert de Brie introduced the 'Autumn Damask' to Europe in the middle ages, does anyone know if this is likely to have been true? Does anyone know its date of introduction into England?

    Many thanks,

  • jerijen
    13 years ago

    Does anyone know its date of introduction into England?

    *** I don't think anyone really knows, but from what I read, they feel that a good many of these things were brought to Europe and England by returning Crusaders.
    This doesn't help substantially, since there were multiple Crusades, over a long period.
    But it might give you an end-date, if you check on when the last crusades ended.


  • zeffyrose
    13 years ago

    Great post---very interesting.


  • michaelg
    13 years ago

    Lux, the essayist Montaigne mentions the oddity of a repeat-blooming rose, "red" (pink), in Italy in the early 1600s. This is the earliest certain mention of repeat-blooming in Europe and it might have been Autumn Damask. However, it is strange that such a wonder wouldn't have quickly spread around the continent.

    Take the "rose history" chapter in a typical rose book with a grain of salt. There are all sorts of fanciful notions being copied from one book to another.

    It has been proven by DNA research that Autumn Damask arose by mutation from something like the basic damask (Kazanlik), but there is no evidence of its existence in the Middle Ages or antiquity.

  • kaylah
    13 years ago

    Elizabeth I was born 1533 and died in 1603. Carolus Clusius(1526-1609) was at the Court of Austria and later began the Clusius Botanical garden at Leiden, Holland in 1593. His friend Ogier Giselain de Busbeq(1520-1592) supposedly sent him tulips which he collected when he was the ambassador to Turkey. It's been my theory that Busbeq brought back rosa foetida bicolor, native to Persia, also known as Austrian Copper, but I haven't seen any proof.
    Now, the Dutch revolted against Spain in 1572 and Elizabeth defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588,so there's a chance of friendly contact between the Netherlands and England. Busbeq was sent to attend the marriage of Elizabeth's sister, Mary.
    Here's the time puzzler. Busbeq died in 1592 and Clusius began the botanical garden in 1593. He must have just brought some plants with him that he collected in Vienna. He was prefect of the imperial medical garden in Vienna by Maximilian II and made Gentleman of the Imperial Chamber, but he was discharged from the imperial court shortly after the accession of Rudolf II in 1576.
    You can see that all of these dates need some work. If anybody could discover Clusius's list of plants he grew at Leiden, you might know whether the Austrian Copper and Autumn Damask were among them.
    Whether they got across the English Channel or not, who knows? But the appropriate gift for a queen at the time would have been tulips.
    There's a painting of roses and tulips at this website.

    Here is a link that might be useful: tulips and roses