--From Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
One of my favorite roses started blooming this weekend in my garden. It's a simple species rose, with five single white petals, and a wonderful early morning fragrance, hence the origin of it's common name, "Musk Rose". Once mine starts blooming, it will keep blooming off-and-on all summer as long as I keep the spent buds removed. My friend Caroline (yes, of Pete's Herbs) found a musk rose for each of us at a nursery in California somewhere - they are considered to be difficult to propagate. Here's what the Olympia Rose Society says about this ancient rose:
"Rosa moschata: Species. date unknown. The 'Musk Rose'. The rose of the Persian poets, its praises were sung by Shakespeare, Bacon, and Keats. One of four or so species roses from which most other old and modern roses have derived. R. moschata, combined with the Gallica roses, gave rise to the Autumn Damasks and then to the Centifolia roses. It is thought to be native to Europe, the Mediterranean and Northern Africa but is rarely seen growing there in the wild. Its flowers have an unforgettable sweet scent reminiscent of musk - a rare and expensive perfume obtained from the diminutive Musk deer of India. Attar of roses, an ancient perfume worth six times its weight in gold, was distilled from the flowers of the musk rose. There has been a great deal of confusion over the whereabouts of the true R. moschata. It was supposed to have been introduced into Europe around 1651 and subsequently grown until about 1830. After 1830, plants with the same name were grown throughout Europe but were different from the original R. moschata and were probably R. nepalensis. The true R. moschata was discovered growing in a garden near Enfield, England by the eminent botanist Graham Stuart Thomas."
A perfect rose for this Spoleto season.