Updated: Jul 26
The Legend of Rosa Mundi
Rosa Mundi (from my very own garden)
Rosa Gallica Versicolor
The longest cultivated rose in human history is called the Apothecary Rose or the Red Provence Rose. It has been found on fresco's dating all the way back to 1600 BC.
It's also a well-known fact the ancient Romans LOVED roses.
In the medieval era, the Apothecary Rose became the most common rose grown and one day, a sport was born. A sport is a genetic mutation and in this case, the result was a pink striped beauty as seen in the photo.
In the 12th century, there lived a beautiful woman named Rosamund Clifford; the mistress and true love of King Henry II. Henry built an elaborate garden maze and in the center was a cottage, a beautiful garden, and a bathing pool for his fair Rosamund. This entire setup wasn’t just for their liaisons, but to hide and protect her from his wife, the very powerful, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine.
But, word got back to the Queen about the affair and one day she watched King Henry exit the maze. Unbeknownst to him, a silk thread from his clothing had become unraveled and it led Eleanor through the maze and directly to Rosamund.
Fair Rosamund (John William Waterhouse)
Queen Eleanor and Fair Rosamund (Evelyn De Morgan)
Determined to end the affair permanently, the Queen offered Rosamund a choice: death by poison or by knife.
Rosamund chose poison.
King Henry had her body sent to a nunnery near Oxford and every year, on the anniversary of Rosamund's death, her tomb was to be decorated with masses of this pink striped rose known to this day as…Rosa Mundi.
Needless to say, as soon as I read about this legend, I had to get my hands on a this romantic rose for my own garden.