Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Yellow Rose Of Texas



There may be only 100 species of roses, but there are thousands of varieties of this most popular flower. These perennial flowering shrubs can be erect, trailing or climbing and their beauty and fragrance are loved by gardeners and non-gardeners around the world. Ancient Greeks and Romans identified them with their Goddesses of Love, Aphrodite and Venus and the symbolism has carried across the centuries to the present. Florists sell more roses than any other flower and they have been irresistible to artists, as well. Some of the most famous painters of roses were Pierre-Joseph Redoute and Impressionists Paul Cezanne and Claude Monet.

Both England and the United States claim roses as their national flower and four states, Iowa, New York, North Dakota, and Georgia chose the rose as their state flower. Portland, Oregon calls itself the "City of Roses". But there is only one Tyler, Texas, the "Rose Capitol Of America". Tyler and Smith County are responsible for 20% of all roses, and more than half of all roses are shipped from that area. Tyler has the world's largest municipal rose garden and an annual event that draws 100,000 people to town.

This versatile plant produces edible fruit, called rose hips and attar of roses, which is steam extracted from the flowers and has been used in perfumes for centuries. Rose water can be used in cooking and rose hips can be made into jelly or jam and dried for boiling for tea.

The beautiful photograph was made in Balboa Park by Jon Sullivan of pdphoto.org.

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