Shabby Chic Rose Granny
Throughout history no flower has been so loved, or renowned as the rose. Rose is older than the human hands that first cared for it, drew pictures of it, and celebrated rose in music and lore. Forty million years ago, a rose left its imprint on a slate deposit at the Florissant Fossil Beds in Colorado, and fossils of roses from Oregon and Montana date back 35 million years, long before humans existed. Fossils have also been found in Germany and in Yugoslavia. Roses grow wild as far north as Norway and Alaska and as far south as Mexico and North Africa, but no wild roses have ever been found to grow below the equator.
The rose apparently originated in Central Asia about 60 to 70 million years ago, during the Eocene epoch, and spread over the entire Northern Hemisphere. Early civilizations, including the Chinese, the Egyptians, the Phoenicians, the Greeks, and the Romans, appreciated roses and grew them widely as long as five thousand years ago.
About 500 B.C. Confucius wrote of roses growing in the Imperial Gardens and noted that the library of the Chinese emperor contained hundreds of books about roses. It is said that the rose gardeners of the Han dynasty (207 B.C.-A.D. 220) were so obsessed with these flowers that their parks threatened to engulf land needed for producing food, and that the emperor ordered some rose gardens plowed under.
The oldest rose identified today is Rosa gallica, also known as the French rose, which once bloomed wild throughout central and southern Europe and western Asia, and still survives there. Although the exact origin of Rosa gallica is unknown, traces of it appear as early as the twelfth century B.C., when the Persians considered it a symbol of love.