The Secrets behind Rose colours...
From before Victorian times, flowers have always been associated with meanings, but it was the Victorians who took it to a new level with their language of flowers.
Each flower had a secret message and when combined into a posy it became a complete story.
We all know that red roses mean “I love you” but did you know that giving yellow roses can mean “I have been unfaithful”. The last thing you want to be proclaiming on your wedding day!
In a sort of silent dialogue, flowers could be used to answer questions too. A “yes” answer came in the form of flowers being handed over with the right hand, if the left hand was used the answer was “no”.
So, if like me you adore roses in all shapes, sizes and colours, and would love to know the meaning behind your favourite rose, here is a little guide to choosing your perfect colour for your wedding bouquet.
The white rose is associated with birth and is the symbol of virginity and purity. White roses are found in many Medieval paintings showing clear connection to The Madonna. White roses are used in wedding bouquets to symbolise new beginnings and purest love.
Red Roses - The Queen of Roses
Since Cleopatra lined her bedroom floor with a carpet of red rose petals, these beautiful flowers have stood for pure passion.
Red roses are the symbol of unconditional love, but did you know they also stand for courage and respect, with connections to The War of The Roses.
My favourite red rose varieties are: Grand Prix, Red France, Baccara and Wanted.
Burgundy roses are a stronger darker colour and signify beauty and simplicity.
Blush pink roses.
A blush pink rose symbolises gentleness, grace and elegance.
Pink roses also express friendship. Choosing them for your bouquet says, “You are my best friend”.
Dark pink roses, are the stronger form of these emotions showing a maturer love.
My favourite blush pink roses are La Perla, Quicksand and Marine Guillot.
The garden roses, are so beautiful, softly scented, and very expensive.
Yellow roses we mentioned express jealously and infidelity, so why?
The origin of this association dates back according to legend to the Prophet Mohammed. Whilst away fighting a war he was tormented by thoughts that his wife was being unfaithful. When Mohammed returned from the battle, his wife Aisha rushed to greet him carrying a large bouquet of red roses. She was surprised when he ordered her to drop them into a river, whereupon they changed to saffron yellow.
More recently rose producers have promoted this rose to mean friendship and joy… but it’s not the original meaning.
The trick to using this flower if you are superstitious about its connotations is to do what the Victorians did and mix it with other flowers – this then changes the meaning of the bouquet and becomes a completely different message.
Lilac roses characterise secrecy, enchantment and the unattainable. Possibly because they are close to the colour blue, which is impossible in a true rose.
Lilac and purple are also strongly linked colours throughout history to Royalty and Religion, so adding to this allure and sense of mystery.
My favourite Lilac roses are: Ocean Song, Amnesia and Coolwater.
Orange roses blaze with joy, energy and excitement. Choosing orange roses for your wedding bouquet conveys desire and enthusiasm for your marriage.
For a Chinese Bride choosing a peach rose in her wedding bouquet symbolises long life. For a Japanese bride a peach rose symbolises truth.
Peach is a gentler form of orange, so suggests happiness to us all.
The Juliet peach rose is coverted as a wedding flower - very expensive but sheer beauty with its multi layers of petals.
Green Roses. ... The most significant and popular meaning of the green rose is fertility. Green symbolizes richness, abundance, and bounty; green roses are thereby a sign of plenty. Green is life, abundant growth, and constant rejuvenation of the spirit. It signifies cheerfulness and new beginnings.
My favourite varieties are Super Green and Green Tea and yes they are real, not dyed or spray painted, unlike the blue varieties, of which as mentioned a true blue rose has yet to be created.
There are literally thousands of cultivated varieties of roses.
When choosing a colour, please don't rely on a photographic image, it could have a filter applied.
Where possible ask to see the roses in reality. If this isn't possible, ask for a swatch sample to show you the actual colour and how it will change in different lighting situations.
When choosing rose varieties please don't expect all of them to be available, all of the time, your florist will advise you the best roses in any given month.
All flowers around the world are bought at Auction daily, and it will depend on what the supplier has brought to market in your country at any given time.
You can rest assured there are so many to choose from that you will be spoilt for choice!
Here are a few of my favourites.
If you fancy knowing a little more about the history of flowers and also colour - why not join our FREE online taster floristry course www.chirpee.net/floristryschool for further details.
Hope you enjoyed finding about the colours of the roses - we have another blog about choosing your wedding flowers through the Seasons which you might find interesting
Steph and Tim x