There is evidence to prove that red roses date back millions of years. They have played a significant role in the histories of China, Europe and the Mediterranean. They remain universal in their appeal, and a symbol of true love, especially on Valentine's Day, when a single red rose or a dozen red roses are at a premium. Beautiful red roses of all descriptions are available year-round at florist shops, garden centers and growing in gardens everywhere.
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Horticulturists cultivate red roses of exceptional beauty and quality to honor outstanding individuals. The Jane Lathrop Stanford Hybrid Tea Rose is named for the founder of Stanford University in California. Special roses also honor the presidents and first ladies of the United States, like the rose for president Ronald Reagan (pictured above).
Red roses celebrate noteworthy events. One of the sporting world's annual horse racing highlights is the Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Derby Hybrid Tea Rose is a red rose created in honor of the Derby.
The ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans cultivated and admired red roses. In mythology, so did Venus and Cupid, who are internationally recognizable symbols of love. They are usually portrayed with red roses.
In medieval England, the War of the Roses pitted Lancaster against York. A red rose stood for Lancaster and a white rose for York. The red rose prevailed, even though the eventual outcome was a unified kingdom.
The Brothers Grimm penned numerous enchanting fairy tales. "Snow-White and Rose-Red" was among them, immortalizing the image of an exquisite, red rose (see Resources).
Red roses play a prominent part in poems and literature through the ages. The Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759 to 1796) wrote one of the most famous poems in reference to a red rose. It begins, "O my luve is like a red, red rose, That's newly sprung in June..."