Thursday, June 6, 2013

Roses are Pink, Violets are Purple

 Presenting Le Ripe's Roses

My favourite colour for roses is pink, preferably palest pink. Many modern romantic clichés are connected to the red rose. Do we have Robbie Burns to thank for that, or is the source medieval, cf. the Roman de la Rose and the earlier cultivation of red and white roses in Europe?

illuminated manuscript of Roman de la Rose: note red roses in border; red and white roses were de rigueur in the medieval garden

Despite this, pink has to be the rose colour par excellence and by definition: rosa in Latin and Italian means rose, rosea in Latin is 'rosey' and in Italian rosa or color rosa means pink. The first recorded use of rose as a colour in English was in 1382.

More from Wikipedia: "The etymology of the color name rose is the same as that of the name of the rose flower. The name originates from Latin rosa, borrowed through Oscan from colonial Greek in southern Italy: rhodon (Aeolic form: wrodon), from Aramaic wurrdā, from Assyrian wurtinnu, from Old Iranian *warda (cf. Avestan warda, Sogdian ward, Parthian wâr)."

At Le Ripe we have mostly pale pink, white and some yellow/pale apricot roses. There is also a raspberry-pink intruder which may be relegated to a far corner of the orchard one day.

Here are some examples from our garden, flowering right now:

This is a David Austin, may be 'Shepherdess': pale apricot pink, wonderful fragrance

our beloved Nahema

lovely Mermaid rose of the single flower: only a few blooms appear at a time, but summer-long

starting off pinkish, this in fact a white climbing rose, very prolific
New Dawn, a pretty climber

the raspberry pink moss rose intruder; its saving grace: fragrance!

So, roses are pink, and as for the violets: if it weren't for the handy rhyme, they would certainly be purple!

(Speaking of David Austin roses, here is a recent paean to the standard rose in general and David Austin roses in particular.)


  1. So beautiful, especially Nahema and New Dawn.

  2. I didn't realize Le Ripe had so many different roses. I guess I've never been there at quite the right time for all.

    But I do remember the amazing scent of the Nahema!

  3. "O my luve's like a red red rose
    That's newly sprung in June"
    etc,as Rabby Burns wrote, and which is appropriate to recall for the excellent photos of this beautiful June roses display,and accompanying interesting information.This has given us another glimpse of lovely Le Ripe.
    Perhaps one should pen a new poem,"O my love's like a pink pink rose,
    That's newly sprung in June" etc,in honour of

  4. Thank-you Publius for this appreciative comment and the newly-adjusted Robbie Burns' classic...


Comments are welcome but will be checked before publishing.