Rose’s Roses at Blue Rose Romance

Flowers play an important part in my debut novel, Deflowering Daisy. In the story, some of the most sensual and romantic scenes take place in an extensive rose garden and its large rose-covered arbor. The hero compares this rose garden with the grand rose garden which was developed by the Empress Joséphine at the Château de Malmaison, her lavish country estate outside Paris.

Recently, as a guest of romance author Collette Cameron, at her blog, Blue Rose Romance, my article about the color and fragrance of the roses which would have been found in the gardens of Malmaison was posted. Those roses were very different than the majority of roses found in most gardens today. If you are interested in old roses, particularly roses which would have been growing during the Regency, you might enjoy my article, Rose’s Roses — Color and Fragrance at Collette’s blog.


7 thoughts on “Rose’s Roses at Blue Rose Romance

  1. Fascinating! I know more about the varieties available in the 16th century than the development. I am jealous of such fragrant roses for the making of delicious wines though….
    and sorry that Bonapart changed a lovely romantic name to a name which is so undistinguished as Josephine, which to me is a name for a calico cat…

    • Interesting! I did not know roses were used to make wines. MMmmmm.

      From what I have read about Bonaparte, he does not appear to have been a man of any real innate taste or class. I think that is one of the reasons he married Rose, she was a very elegant and classy lady. Maybe he chose the name Josephine since he thought a multi-syllabic name would go better with Napoleon. I am sure he would be quite chagrined to know you think it is more appropriate for a cat!


      • He wasn’t fond of cats either I believe… even if not an out and out ailurophile. Well you can’t call a cat with a coat of many colours Joseph because they are all female… I make rose wine and it’s the most gorgeous desert wine, especially if made from the dark red petals of a strongly scented rose like Papa Meilland. Having said that I got a pretty good batch from Rosa Rugosa, which is a species rose. Yellow roses make a less rich but still pleasantly delicate wine, if well scented [i use China Girl]. Fascinating that yellow roses are much later. And of course the Red Roses of the Wars of the Roses were what we would now call magenta rather than red.

        • Actually, he became quite fond of a cat that lived near his house on St. Helena. Before that he just didn’t have the time for them, and he always admired the slavish loyalty of dogs over the independent attitude of cats when he was head of the army. On St. Helena, with no more battles to fight or armies from which to demand loyalty, he seems to have mellowed towards cats. Also, the cat which lived near his St. Helena home was a talented mouser and he seems to have admired its stealthy and effective hunting skills.

          I cannot imagine a more heavenly dessert wine than that made of roses. I knew that roses were used in cooking, but not that they were used to make wine. Some kind of rose-flavored cake, custard or ice cream paired with a rose wine sounds like a glorious, rosy dessert combination! 😉

          There were yellow roses in the Middle East, parts of China and other areas with a dry warm climate for centuries before the nineteenth century. From what I read, those roses did not do well in the cooler and damper climates, especially in northern Europe. They would sort of grow, but did not flourish, and never bloomed. So it took many years of breeding the Middle Eastern and Chinese yellow roses with the hardier stock of northern Europe to get a yellow rose that would actually bloom in cooler climates.



          • I recall you writing about it now… it was around the time my mum was very ill indeed and I wasn’t taking as much in as I should. I’ll have to go back and read properly…
            What a marvellous meal experience…
            I love turkish delight too, the proper stuff, not what you get in supermarkets smothered in chocolate. It’s hard to get though because EU regulations put all the small makers out of business.
            I’ve never had any luck striking cuttings of yellow roses, I’ve read you get better results grafting them to a wild rose root stock. Whereas red and pink flourish happily

            • From what I read, wild European rose root stock was used in developing yellow roses which would bloom in northern Europe. That might have been the case with the true red roses, which came from China. Despite their delicate color, it seems that many of the pink roses were native to northern Europe, so they tended to do very well, even in the cold.

              I also learned that old roses are actually more hearty and disease-resistant than hybrids, so many modern gardeners are seeking them out. Here in the US, there are some rose nurseries which specialize in old roses and they are doing a very good business. So, the old roses should stay with us for the future.


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