June is an incredible month!
“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” Maud Hart Lovelace
The end of June marks the official middle of the year. For me, this time gives rise to reflection and soul-searching much like what takes place on New Year’s Day. Have you met your goals from six months ago? What new dreams are you working to make reality? Take stock of things. It’s time!
June also marks the official start of Summer. The Summer Solstice—on 21 June this year—gave us all the longest day of the year. It’s a great time to celebrate the wonder of life, the bounty of summer harvests, and the beauty of nature that beckons us out into gardens and onto beaches.
Personally, my parents were married in June. Now that they are both gone, they are celebrating their 73rd wedding anniversary together again. That date is a good day for me to officially honor them, enjoy memories, and applaud their love. Mom carried yellow tea roses in her wedding bouquet, a very appropriate choice for this month.
June’s flower, in fact, is the rose, giving the month the honor of being National Rose Month. No one seems 100% sure when or why this observance was created. My guess is that it was years ago by florists hoping to sell more flowers of thanks, appreciation and celebration. That roses are so abundant this month is a great luxury.
Roses themselves trigger many good memories for me:
One of the colleges where I used to teach had many lovely rose bushes, so many in fact that I carried scissors with me so I could cut a blossom or two for my office. That probably was not allowed, so I never asked permission. My office had no windows, so the little rose was an important addition!
I spent many good afternoons enjoying rose gardens with family and friends. Many tended their own personal gardens. One friend had rose bushes instead of a lawn and another had roses lining the walk way to her front door. Others visited more established places with me such as the Rose Gardens at the Arboretum or at Forest Lawn Cemetery where parents and grandparents are buried. The Visitor Center in my town welcomes folks with a small rose garden; Wasco, CA, brags about its status as the Rose Capital of the World; and Pasadena presents the Rose Parade every year.
One of my favorite books has always been The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The title character is a wise, delightful little guy who sees adults as odd creatures to be tolerated and who cherishes the rose he left behind on his own little asteroid. The Little Prince offers good advice about giving time to things important to us and caring for things that matter to us: “You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose.” and “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
Given all these memories and observances, it seems wise to celebrate life and love during the month of June through an appreciation of roses. After all, a rose offers a great analogy for life. The Rose has its own stages of growth from bud to full bloom as well as times of dormancy. The Rose itself offers beauty through its flower and danger or need for caution through its thorns.
It is said that it was during the Victorian Era that the colors of flowers starting sending secret messages to distant lovers. No matter what the color, the messages themselves always celebrated some aspect of life: Red (Love, Respect & Courage). White (Adoration & Innocence). Yellow (Celebration & Joy). Orange (Enthusiasm & Desire). Pink (Thanks & Admiration).
So, please, as June draws to a close, take a moment to reflect on the natural beauty around you and to express your love and appreciation to your loved ones who add beauty to your life. If you can, consider giving someone a bouquet of roses, even a single stem would do. As George William Curtis reminds us, “The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.”
At the very least, enjoy a stroll through my virtual rose garden! As Richard Brinsley Sheridan says, “Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.”
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“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” Abraham Lincoln
“Truths and roses have thorns about them.” Henry David Thoreau
“An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it makes a better soup.” H. L. Mencken
“What a lovely thing a rose is! . . . Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.” Arthur Conan Doyle
“He picked up one of Lorna’s roses and set it in my lap. ‘Here.’ I picked it up and smelled it. He poked me in the shoulder. ‘See what I mean? Thorns don’t stop you from sniffing. Or putting them in a vase on the kitchen table. You work around them…. Cause the rose is worth it… Think what you’d miss.’” Charles Martin
“That which God said to the rose, and caused it to laugh in full-blown beauty, He said to my heart, and made it a hundred times more beautiful.” Rumi
“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.” Emma Goldman
“The world is a rose; smell it and pass it to your friends.” Persian Proverb
“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” Leo Buscaglia
“I don’t know whether nice people tend to grow roses or growing roses makes people nice.” Roland A. Browne
“One may live without bread, not without roses.” Jean Richepin
“True friendship is like a rose: we don’t realize its beauty until it fades.” Evelyn Loeb
“A rose is a rose is a rose.” Gertrude Stein
“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to out off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon—instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.” Dale Carnegie
“Love is much like a wild rose, beautiful and calm, but willing to draw blood in its defense.” Mark Overby
“Why it is that no one ever sent me one perfect limousine, do you suppose? Ah no, it’s always just my luck to get one perfect rose.” Dorothy Parker
WHAT GARDEN DO YOU GO TOO FOR BEAUTY & REFLECTION & SOLITUDE, EITHER REAL OR VIRTUAL?
OR WHERE ELSE DO YOU GO TO REJUVENATE?