Someone once told me that people either love the smell of lavender OR rose. We were having a conversation about Neal’s Yard Remedies and aromatherapy, and I mentioned that most people like lavender, but she objected. She is not a fan of lavender in general, but she does love our Rosewater and Rose skincare, not to mention Rose fragrance. She is impressed that we do not adulterate our products with synthetic fragrances. Many have praised the fact that our products smell like the plant materials they are made from and are not ‘prettied’ up with artificial (and potentially harmful) ingredients.
When it comes to essential oils and flowers, I love to smell all types, as long as they are natural (and preferably organic.) I like lavender, but I like rose too. If hard pressed it would be difficult for me to choose my absolute favorite. While at certain times I might prefer, for example, geranium to jasmine, I allow for the possibility that my preferences can change depending on the season or even the time of day. In terms of aromatherapy, I often choose essential oils based on whether I want to relax or feel energized and focused.
According to the book Essential Oils, by Susan Curtis, rose essential oil and absolute have relaxing, cooling and toning properties. In terms of history,
Roses have been used as a medicinal plant since antiquity; rose oil was first distilled [more than] 1,000 years ago by Avicenna. Rosa centifolia (cabbage or Provence rose), believed to originate in Persia, is now produced mainly in Morocco and France. Rosa damascena (damask rose), probably a native of China, is primarily cultivated in Turkey and Bulgaria.
Some sources date the oldest rose fossils at 35 million years old. Roses symbolize love, beauty and war in art and literature. A treasure trove of articles about historical Rose exhibitions can be found in the New York Times, like this one from June 19, 1910.
Roses start blooming in May and are usually at their peak in June, but I have recently discovered that some roses thrive well into the Fall. One of my favorite places to enjoy roses is—you guessed it—the New York Botanical Garden. During a recent visit, I was surprised to learn that the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is home to more than 650 varieties of roses.
Heirloom roses are believed to be the most fragrant, so of course, they are among my favorites! Below are a few of the photos I took. I’m planning on visiting again in summer and in the Fall, so stay tuned for more photos.
Categories: Culture, Green spaces, New York City, Our Times