roses and rose petals
Jill gave me some beautiful roses from her garden. After nearly two weeks in a vase they started to fall apart, and when they were petals I loved them even more.
In botany-speak, petals are modified leaves that protect the reproductive part of the flower, the part containing pollen and tiny eggs called ovules. When the flower is pollinated and the ovules fertilized, the ovules turn into fruit. Together the petals are referred to as the corolla.
Rose petals are edible, the flavour reported to being a bit like strawberries and green apples. I should have used the petals in the photos for salad, instead of disposing of them in the compost. Studies in China have found rose petals - and other edible petals - to be very good for our health.
Scattered rose petals are used for romantic occasions. If you don't have your own they can be bought fresh or freeze dried.
Roses feature in many fairy tales. The rose has a central part in the recent film of Beauty and the Beast. The story starts with a cold hearted prince who refuses the gift of a rose, so is turned into a fearsome beast, his servants into household objects. There is hope that they might change back, but after the last petal falls they will be like this forever. When the father of the heroine, Belle, steals a rose he is locked up in the castle. But Belle takes his place, and just as the last petal falls, the Beast redeems himself, and all is well.
This film truly illustrates the line by poet William Carlos Williams: "It is at the edge of a petal that love waits."
Back in 2009 I posted a piece about a book I'd just read, called The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red. Rose Red was a dangerous house that killed people by enveloping them in a 'twisting, creeping choke' of instant jungle of red roses. Here roses are powerful and beautiful, but a malignant force for evil - until purity and goodness is restored, of course.
I don't know why we humans are programmed to love roses and rose petals so much. I guess this has considerable evolutionary value for the roses, ensuring they are pollinated, cultivated and propagated. So bees and other insects aren't the only pollinators in nature's system. We humans are also pollinators, responding to the bright colours, soft petals and ancient symbolism.