The shy, young bride sits as her maid of honor tightens the corset on her long, satin dress. Nervously, she looks in the mirror, tousles her hair and takes one final breath before she stands to pick up her fragile bouquet of delicate white roses. She is innocent, fresh and alive. She has found her true love, and this is her new beginning.
What are White Roses
The white rose is a traditional symbol of virtue and purity, and it is well recognized as one of the most popular wedding flowers. This flower’s color and delicate shimmer denotes pure, untainted affections and all that is unspoiled and everlasting.
Like a pure white snowflake, white roses shimmer in the rain and have a crystal-like appearance when the sun reflects off the morning dew as it forms tiny droplets on their delicate petals. Their color represents virtue and innocence and an untarnished beginning in life.
White roses are the “flower of light” and symbolic of a love that is strong enough to withstand the test of time. Couples who hold a bond that is so strong, even death cannot tear them apart are rightfully represented by a white rose.
A single white rose stands as a symbol of chastity, purity, worth and devotion. The flower speaks of new beginnings and grants a fresh, promising start to a union.
Famous Uses for White Roses
To understand the powerful symbolism of the white rose, first look to Greek mythology and Aphrodite, the Goddess of love. As the story goes, Aphrodite had but one purpose, and that purpose was simply to bring love into the world. When she was born, the sea foam fell to the ground, and from it emerged a vast garden of white roses.
White roses have a long established connection to many historically significant unions. In 14th Century England, the white rose represented the Duke of York who faced off with the House of Lanister, giving us the famous War of the Roses. The two houses later formed a union and combined their red and white roses to create the now famous Tudor rose.
Queen Victoria chose a fragrant bouquet of white roses to carry during her nuptials to Prince Albert in 1840. The bouquet perfectly complimented her white satin dress trimmed in orange blossoms and set the trend for many weddings to follow.
How to Grow White Roses
White roses are an exceptional choice in any garden. Even if you are drawn to color, use these specimens to bridge other varieties of roses together, create interesting and noticeable borders and illuminate your garden as the evening sun sets.
Mother Nature is quite the artist, and her pallet of white roses is proof of her masterful design. In addition to snow white, there are many different shades of white roses that can be added to your garden from blue-white to pale cream and ivory. Choose the right one, and the results will be striking. Here is a short list of some of my favorite white roses.
- White Pet – A shrub rose that grows creamy white blooms in the summer. This rose is versatile and excellent for pots and planters.
- White Dawn – A clear white climber that can grow from 12 to 20 feet. Beautifully contrasts with green foliage and provides fragrant blooms.
- LaMarque – These roses are creamy white with a slightly yellow hue. A hardy plant that often continues to bloom until the first hard freeze.
- Moondance – A hardy rose bush with large, white clusters of flowers. This plant is highly fragrant and produces gorgeous flowers through the summer months.
- Honor – Pure white and highly fragrant, in past years, this rose has enjoyed the title of Rose of the Year. With their long stems, honor roses are an exceptional choice for those who love cut flowers.
Regardless of which shade of white you choose, keep these tips in mind to grant your garden the greatest opportunities for striking blooms.
- Rose bushes thrive in the sun. Choose a spot that provides at least six hours of sunlight per day.
- Start with healthy, well drained soil. Mix in organic compost to create optimal growing conditions.
- Once you have established your growing spot and prepared your soil, plant your rose bush, and top it with about 3” of mulch. Choose a coarse, organic variety. This will keep water closer to the roots, where it is needed, and prevent foliage disease that comes from too much water being splashed on leaves.
- Provide your roses with water regularly, but avoid over watering. A drip method or soaker hose can be very effective as it directs water to the roots, where it is most needed.
- Inspect and prune your roses regularly to promote growth, shape your plants and prevent diseases.
- Add a dose of phosphorous (ground up, organic banana peels are an excellent option) regularly to keep your plants healthy and enhance growth.
Whether you are choosing flowers for your wedding day or simply looking to bring contrast and interest to your garden, you cannot go wrong with a beautiful white rose.