Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mother Knows Best: Hardanger Embroidery

Needlework by Mom.

I am SOOOOO excited to have my first guest blogger today! I'm sure you'll come to appreciate our guest's skill and knowledge about Hardanger embroidery but I already have unlimited love and appreciation for her because she's my momma! So, go Momma!

Needlework by Mom, photo by Dad

If you are looking for a type of needlework that is light weight, easily transported, requires only a few basic supplies, is done with a few basic stitches and can be adapted for several different uses, Hardanger Embroidery maybe just the thing for you. It may look a bit intimidating but if you can be patient and can count, you can quickly master this art form. Well, I have to admit that being a bit of a perfectionist helps.

Egyptian Embroidery, found in a tomb at Thebes. Image via Gutenburg Project

There is no definitive history of Hardanger Embroidery although it may have roots back in ancient Persia and Asia. Some of the motifs look similar even to early Egyptian and Assyrian stitches and patterns. There are similarities to some of the early Italian handwork, so it has a long ‘bloodline’. Like so many other things, it just developed, taking on a life of its own.

Stalheim Hotel and Naerodalen, Hardanger Fjord, Norway

Image via Old Picture

Trolltunga (Troll's Tungue), Hardangerfjord, Norway. Image via

Image via Visobservatories

The distinctive style we know today as Hardanger Embroidery was developed along the South Western coast of Norway in the Hardanger Fjord area beginning in the 16th century. This was an area geologically isolated by glacier-capped mountains and the North Sea so it had long been a sea faring community. Therefore there is a plausible theory that some of these hardy Vikings in their wide ranging explorations picked up some fabrics that had been decorated with needlework of various types. The men brought them home to their wives and the patterns caught the attention of the women of Hardanger. Over the next 200 years they developed and refined their own style of needlework. The local farmers grew their own flax to use in carding, spinning and weaving the needed threads and fabric. The natural white or off-white color of the linen set the traditional color scheme of white on white. Present day crafters are adding colors but the purists among us stay with the white. To me that’s a big part of the elegance of the work.

Hardanger Fjord Girl, wearing Bunad with Hardanger on apron.
Image via WikiMedia Commons

The Norwegians call it Hardangersom – “work from the Hardanger area”. In the beginning it was used only for the collars and cuffs on their folk costume, called ‘bunad’. And they made separate bands to be added to the white apron that in some locals was a part of the bunad. Later Hardanger was included into household linens. I’ve seen bedspreads and table clothes covered in this needlework. They are beautiful but I would find it hard to put it on a table with food.

Kloster blocks and satin stitches
Needlework by Mom

There are two basic stitches used predominantly; first is the satin stitch or Kloster block. This is a series of five stitches worked over four threads. They are put on in straight rows or at right angles to each other. The second most used stitch is the over-under woven bar used in the drawn thread spaces. These straight rows and right angles cause the overall piece to look somewhat geometrical and angular. The cutting for drawn work is never done until all Kloster blocks are in place. Then the decorative additional stitches go on to soften the overall look. Don’t let the cutting stop you from trying Hardanger. There are many pretty patterns that can be done without open cut work.

Needlework by Mom, photo by Dad.

The few basic supplies needed include:

Fabric   Since the square or rectangle becomes the basic principle of the design, the fabric used must be of even count, meaning the same number of threads per inch in both directions; warp (lengthwise) and woof (crosswise). There are many fabrics available that meet this standard but the most commonly used fabric today was developed specifically for this use with two threads running together each way but are treated as one thread. This is simply called Hardanger fabric and may have from 18-32 threads per inch, 22 count being the most popular.

Image via Nordic Needle

Thread   Two sizes of thread are needed; a larger thread for Kloster blocks, and a slightly smaller thread for the needle weaving and decorative stitches. 22 count fabric calls for size 8 & size 12 DMC floss.

Needles   To match these threads you’ll need two sizes of needles; # 24 & #26 Tapestry needles with their blunt point so you don’t split the fabric threads.

Scissors   This is a must : a pair of fine pointed, very sharp embroidery scissors (and it's a good idea to keep one pair just for the cutwork).
Tweezers   May be helpful in pulling cut threads (and for correcting mistakes and there will some).

Magnifier   If you are of a certain age this may be helpful – you’ll know if you need one – I do!

Patterns  There are many available or you can design your own.

NO hoop or frames! A hoop will mostly get in the way and can stretch the fabric. Instead the applied threads are just carefully laid on to fit the tension of the fabric.

Image via Montana Arts Council

If you have stayed with me to read this far you must be interested so I suggest it’s time to go to the Internet to explore further. Simply type in Hardanger Embroidery. You’ll find more resources than you can ever use! My favorite is Nordic Needle.  This is a shop in Fargo, ND and is the best source in the US I’ve found. These folks have anything you need from instructions, to patterns and supplies, to tips and more. I’ve called them for help over the phone and they are always patient and gracious with any help.

If you decide you want to try Hardanger local needlework &/or yarn shops sometimes have books or classes. Some craft shops have Hardanger fabric in smaller pieces or maybe even instruction books. It’s worth a look. Fabric stores will also sometimes carry the Hardanger or Aida fabric on bolts in case you want to make a bedspread!

Needlework by Mom, photo by Dad.

Two more things and then  I’m done: The word Hardanger may be pronounced “Har dung a”, “Hard un ger” but “Hard anger” only if you have just found a mistake that must be rectified.

And - the word Hardanger is always capitalized because it can mean four different things:

  • A location- Hardangerfjiord, Norway
  • This type of embroidery
  • The name of the fabric used to do Hardanger embroidery
  • A specific type of violin that is unique to Norwegian music.

Hardanger Fiddle. Image via Wikipedia

Happy stitching.

Is my mom great, or what? We once visited Little Norway just outside of Mount Horeb, Wisconsin and part of the tour of the house included a look at and discussion about Hardanger, which is everywhere at Little Norway. As we stood beside a bed covered with a gorgeous Hardanger bedspread, I heard my mom let out a little gasp. The docent glanced at mom and then said, "The tradition is that no piece of Hardanger should be perfect because only God is perfect. Can anyone find the imperfection on this bedspread?" Mom pointed to the corner of the spread with an altered pattern, which of course was correct but to be honest, I never did see the alteration in the pattern. So proud of my mom at that moment, even if I was a teenager!

This is a piece that mom made for me. It lives on my dining table under the fake peaches.

A hallmark of excellent needlework is the back of the piece. Go ahead, guess which side is the front...

Needlework by Mom

Here is some of Mom's work in it's natural habitat:

OK, those of you who have been with me know that this is the point at which we go on tour. Let's tour Hardanger...

Table Runner. Image via

Instructions diagram for a traditional motif. Image via The Caron Collection


Colored Hardanger tables centerpieces. Image via Gimletblog

Coleus 1 by Shirley Kay worked on 22-count Hardanger and dyed with Dye-Na-Flow.
Sorry Mom, I know this sort of non-traditional thing makes you faint.
Image via Embroidered Fables

Ringer Bearer's Pillow. Image via Stitching by A Cornish Sea Shore

Welcome Tea Towel stitched by Becky Moore. Image via Nordic Needle
This kit is available from Nordic Needle. Click here.

1900 HARDANGER Hand Embroidered SWEDISH WEDDING Dress
1900's Edwardian wedding dress. Image via Adanta3 on etsy.

One of the patterns my mom has used. Actually, it's very easy to take
part of one pattern and combine it with another.

I was thinking while photographing some pieces, that an image like this would make a nice Christmas card. A sweet little Hardanger snowflake, a greeting in Norwegian...

Lyn's Fine Needlework has a nice selection of instructional books and Save The Stitches by Nordic Needle has a great section on Hardanger stitching techniques.

That's about it for today, a nice little meet and greet with Hardanger embroidery. A big huge thanks and a hug to my mom for sharing her skills with us. And of course, today's butterfly picture ...

Image via hoogwater-laagland

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Terra Cotta Drink Coasters, Again

I mentioned in my last post, the drink coasters made from clay saucers, that I had made the coasters without painting them. I finally found the photos (three cameras, each one usually has a portion of each post) so here it is...

This saucer is smaller, about 3 inches, and has a shallow, wider slope than the other saucers I had. I just glued a scrapbook paper insert in the middle, outlined the insert with a Sharpie pen, and sealed the whole thing with the same polycrylic I used on the coasters. Just a reminder to check the depth of the saucers against what you'll be using them for. I have some saucers that have rather deep sides and for most coffee mugs, they are too deep because the handle on the mug hits the sides of the saucer and the mug doesn't sit totally flat on the saucer.

And there it is- a little ring dish to keep by the sink, because as we learned in our birthstone posts, it's generally best to remove your rings when doing anything other than sitting around looking fabulous in your jewels.

OK- that's it for today. Keep checking in at the jungle because I have a very special post coming up to share with y'all. I'm so excited! I'll give you a hint: ethnic needlework and a loved one.

Learning our ABC's with today's butterfly picture:

Image via Butterfly Alphabet.
At this site you can order custom names, saying, or symbols using images from butterfly wings. So cool!

See ya next time.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Here, Put This Under Your Glass

I wish wish wish I could remember the website where I first saw this idea: the name is almost on the tip of my tongue and I'll know it when I hear it so if this is yours, let me know and I'll give you all the credit. This is such a great little craft and I've done this several times for Craft Night with my patients at work. It's always a hit, mainly because the materials used are so unexpected. Plus, it's glorious how inexpensive these are to make.

We've had this old pair of coasters for a few years now and they were holding up pretty well. Until, that is, someone took a fancy to them. I'm not naming any names ...

... but apparently someone who is otherwise fairly clumsy can manage to get up on the table in order to help herself to something to chew on. So if the scratch marks all over the table top fit the foot .....

Huh? What?

Anyway, you'll need:

  • 4-inch terra cotta trays. We usually make a set of four during Craft Night but however many you need. Usually way under a dollar each.
  • Scrapbook paper, or even magazine pictures, old cards, etc. You could even use photographs (but don't use the originals for Pete's sake).
  • Gesso (optional, maybe)
  • Paint- I use plain old acrylic craft paint.
  • Felt
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Paint brush
  • Polycrylic- more on that when we get to that step.

Yup, that's right, the saucers meant to catch the water from your clay pots. As coasters. Genius! Wish I had thought of it.

OK- the first thing you want to do is paint the saucers with gesso. This is possibly an optional step but sometimes the saucers will soak up tons of paint. If you want more of a "stained" look, like when you see wood grain, it might work OK for you not to use the gesso. I've made these without painting teh saucers at all and they can be nice (you do still want to seal them) but the gesso will make the paint color more opaque. Paint one side first, let it dry, flip it over and do the other side. I usually start with the bottom but there's no actual reason for that.

Once the gesso is dry, paint the saucer with the paint. I used a silver metallic for these coasters. Paint the bottom first and let it dry very well before turning it over to do the inside. Sometimes the paint will goop up along the edge from laying on the table surface (I use waxed paper over the table). If you do the bottom first you can use a nail file to gently even out any thick areas before proceeding.

I painted the inside with two coats since this will be the visible side, making sure to dry well in between coats.

While the paint is drying, cut out circles from your paper, magazines, photos, whatever to go on the inside. For a 4-inch saucer, I use a wide mouth canning jar lid as the template. It has just a bit larger diameter but that lets the edges of the paper go up the sides of the saucer just a bit. Keep in mind that some saucers barely curve up, some have a relatively deep side, so you'll just need to play around with this part to get what you want. I get my saucers at Lowes because they have the shape I like.

I drew out a butterfly template and cut out some little blue fellas to go inside the saucer.

OK- once the paint is dry, use the glue stick to glue down the paper inside the saucer. I like to do this as a separate step instead of with the Polycrylic so that I can smooth out the paper and get rid of any wrinkles or bubbles. Next, glue down the butterflies or whatever you might want to add to the saucer.

I use this Polycrylic product from Minwax to seal the coasters. I found this after searching for something I could use inside with my patients that is low-odor, water clean up, but water resistance once dry. This babe fits the bill perfectly. So, again working on waxed paper, coat the bottom and let it dry, then coat the inside with two coats, letting it dry well in between each coat. Don't rush it. You want your coasters to dry for at least 24 hours before you set your cool drink on them. You can use these for hot drinks as well but I've noticed that the hot mugs stick a bit for the first few days until they polycrylic is really hard.

Last thing you do is add a felt circle to the bottom. The dog may scratch your table top but you wouldn't want your lovely new coasters to scratch it. Maybe some felt doggie shoes....  I used the canning lid again as a template but then cut about an eigth of an inch inside the marking so it would fit.

And there you have it... custom coasters.

Thanks for visiting the jungle today. Hope to see ya again! And today's butterfly pic ...

Chrysalis of Marsh Fritillary
Image by Deanster 1983 via Flickr

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Happy Birthday To You, Rose! (June)

'Lady Emma Hamilton' garden roses. Image via Could I Have That

The Rose Family

The rose is a rose,
And was always a rose.
But the theory now goes
That the apple's a rose,
And the pear is, and so's
The plum, I suppose
The dear only knows
What will next prove a rose.
You, of course, are a rose-
But were always a rose.

By Robert Frost

OK, here we go-- off on another birthday adventure, this time out in the garden! Yes, it's true, every month has its birthday flower. And June has the rose. What a lucky gal June is.

Now I must say first off- when we start getting into all the varieties of plants and the HUGE diversity of each flower, as you'll see in a minute with roses, life could get pretty complicated pretty fast. Even though I LOVED doing the birthstones, they were tons of work. I'm not complaining; it truly was fun to explore the stone for each month and I'm so happy we took a peak. But as I've mentioned before, life for me right now is a bit up in the air with transitions about to happen and I need to focus on those things. But what a better way to break from all that hub-bub than to stroll in the garden. Briefly. Let me say again-- briefly.

Unless a particular month's flower is just so ravishingly beautiful that I can't drag myself in from the garden. And seeing as we begin with June's rose, well.... we could be in trouble. But let's hit the garden path and see what we can see.

Image via Rose Garden

Let's look at some basic plant structures, just to get us started, since we'll most likely be using these terms over the next year. You avid gardeners and horticulturalists can correct and clarify where needed (Thanks, Mom) but we'll keep this very simple. No cellular level phytotomy, probably.

Image via Biology Pictures

Sepal-encloses the immature bud before it opens.
Anther- structure where male reproduction occurs. Produces pollen (sperm).
Ovule- reproductive structure inside ovary. The "eggs".
Ovary- base of pistil which holds the ovules.
Stamen- consists of filament and anther (male reproduction).
Stigma- upper part of pistil where pollen is deposited.
Style- stalk between stigma and ovary.
Carpel or Pistil- ovary, stigma, and style (female reproduction). Receives the pollen at the stigma, which travels down the style to fertilize the ovule (egg) within the ovary.
Filament- thin, stem-like stalk, supporting anther.
Petal- colored leaves on the flower. Attracts pollinators, like bees and butterflies.

A very comprehensive look at flower structure, fertilization, and fruit development can be found at the Marietta College Biology Lab site by clicking here. Remember, I'm trying to keep things brief here. If you're interested, the American Rose Society has three pages of terminology, which you can find by clicking here.

Note to teachers, students, the fabulously curious, and anyone who needs great biology pictures: go to Biology Pictures and bookmark it. Outstanding visual aids.

SO... all that said, here is June's rose, exposed ....

File:Rose hip 02 ies.jpg
Cross-section of developing rose, showing ovary and the white ovules within.
Image via Wikipedia.

The name "rose" comes from the Latin rosa. However, it passed through the Oscan, colonial Greek, Aeolic, Aramaic, Assyrian, and Old Iranian languages before becoming rosa. The word  "rose" itself had many transitions, beginning as war, then ward, warda, vard, wurtinnu, wurrda, wrodon, rhodon, and, finally, rosa.

32 million year old fossilized rose.
Discovered by Steven Manchester in the John Day Fossil Beds of eastern Oregon
Image via Northwest Rose Historians

There is fossil evidence of roses existing 35 million years ago (even though they barely last a week in a vase). Cultivation of roses probably began 5000 years ago in Asia. Cultivated roses weren't introduced into Europe until the late eighteenth century. These introductions came from China and were repeat bloomers, making them of great interest to hybridizers who no longer had to wait once a year for their roses to bloom. Most modern-day roses can be traced back to this ancestry. The first true primary red rose seen in Europe was 'Slater's Crimson China,' introduced in 1792 from China, where it had been growing wild in the mountains. Today there are over 30,000 varieties of roses and it has THE most complicated family tree of any known flower species. A rose is a woody perennial of the genus Rosa, within the family Rosaceae. There are over 100 species. Click here for a list of  rosa species.

                                                                    Kingdom: Plantae
                                                                    (unranked): Angiosperms
                                                                    (unranked): Eudicots
                                                                    (unranked): Rosids
                                                                    Order: Rosales
                                                                    Family: Rosaceae
                                                                    Subfamily: Rosoideae
                                                                    Genus: Rosa

Notice the Family name? Rosaceae-- this is where we get the name for the skin condition marked by red flushing called rosacea. That's just an aside because I'm sort of easily distracted.

Image via It's About Time

“It was roses, roses all the way.”
- Robert Browning

Experts today tend to divide all roses into two groups. There are "old roses" (those cultivated in Europe before 1800) and "modern roses" (those which began to be cultivated in England and France around the turn of the 19th century). Until the beginning of the 19th century, all roses in Europe were shades of pink or white. Our romantic symbol of the red rose first came from China, as mentioned above.

Soul of the Rose, by J.W. Waterhouse (1908)
Image via WebMuseum

There are, however, several ways to divide roses by type. All-America Rose Selection lists seven types of rose: Floribunda, Hybrid, Grandiflora, Shrub & Landscape, Climber, Miniature, and Tree Roses. Rose Gardening Made Easy identifies three types: species rose (wild roses), old garden roses (those cultivated before the introduction of the hybrid tea rose in 1867) , and modern roses (those cultivated after 1867). The old and new roses each are further subdivided. We could go on for quite some time with this discussion and probably most avid rose-lovers would disagree with each other. Let's just say it's a family tree that is difficult to climb.

Greek mythology tells us that it was Aphrodite who gave the rose its name, but it was the goddess of flowers, Chloris, who created it. One day while Chloris was cleaning in the forest she found the lifeless body of a beautiful nymph. To right this wrong Chloris enlisted the help of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who gave her beauty; then called upon Dionysus, the god of wine, who added nectar to give her a sweet scent. When it was their turn the three Graces gave Chloris charm, brightness and joy. Then Zephyr, the West Wind, blew away the clouds so that Apollo, the sun god, could shine and make the flower bloom. And so the rose ...

There is also the legend from the Roman empire, where there was an incredibly beautiful maiden named Rhodanthe. Her beauty drew many zealous suitors who pursued her relentlessly. Exhausted by their pursuit, Rhodanthe was forced to take refuge from her suitors in the temple of her friend Diana. Unfortunately, Diana became jealous. And when the suitors broke down her temple gates to get near their beloved Rhodanthe, she also became angry turning Rhodanthe into a rose and her suitors into thorns. Another legend is that roses were thornless in the Garden of Eden. Thorns appeared on the rose when Adam and Eve were expelled.

Image via Colored Garden

Venus, the Roman equivalent of Aphrodite, was also associated with roses. As told in Ovid's "Metamorphoses," the goddess fell in love with a beautiful mortal named Adonis. When he was killed while hunting, she wept. Wherever her tears fell on the earth, white roses bloomed. Venus is also connected to red roses. It is said that when she was walking through a garden, she stepped on a thorn and her blood colored the roses red. Besides the Rodanthe legend, Romans also believed that Cupid gave the roses their thorns. According to their mythology, while Cupid was shooting arrows, a bee stung him. He jerked, and his aim was thrown. The arrow landed in Venus's rose garden and the landing of its pointed tip caused the roses to grow thorns.

Tea Rose. Image via How Stuff Works
This link takes you to great information about the Tea Rose.

In Crete, there are Frescoes which date to c. 1700 BC illustrating a rose with five-petalled pink blooms. Discoveries of tombs in Egypt have revealed wreaths made with flowers, with roses among them. The wreath in the tomb of Hawara (discovered by the English archaeologist William Flinders Petrie) dates to about AD 170, and represents the oldest preserved record of a rose species still living. Clay tablets excavated in the temples of Ur in Iraq speak of the delivery of rose water intended for the sultan of Baghdad. The sultan used no fewer than 30,000 jars of rose water a year, to make his rooms smell nice for his extensive harem. The Saracen general Saladin sent camel caravans loaded with rose water through his empire to cleanse the mosques after 'impure' crusaders had occupied the prayer rooms.

golden celebration roses
Yellow Golden Celebration Roses. Image via Rose Gardening Made Easy

It is said that the floors of Cleopatra's palace were carpeted with delicate rose petals, and that Confucius had a 600 book library specifically dedicated to the rose. Napoleon's wife Josephine so adored roses, she grew more than 250 varieties. It is  in her gardens that the Belgian painter Pierre-Joseph Redouté was inspired to paint roses. His rose paintings are considered to be the finest rose paintings ever and his book Les Roses the finest collection of rose engravings. 

P. J. Redoute "Rosa Alba Regalis" 1817
"Rosa Alba Regalis" 1817 by Redoute. Original print available via Stonegate for $3850.

During the fifteenth century, the factions fighting to control England used the rose as a symbol. The white rose represented York, and the red rose symbolised Lancaster. Not surprisingly, the conflict between these factions became known as the War of the Roses.

In ancient times the rose was painted on the ceiling of the chamber where secret meetings were held to signify that nothing that was said in the room would leave the room. This comes from the Latin from meaning "under the rose". The rose's connotation of secrecy dates back also to Greek mythology. Aphrodite gave a rose to her son Eros, the god of love; he, in turn, gave it to Harpocrates, the god of silence, to ensure that his mother's indiscretions were not disclosed. Paintings of roses on the ceilings of Roman banquet rooms were also a reminder that things said under the influence of wine (sub vino) should also remain sub rosa. In the Middle Ages a rose suspended from the ceiling of a council chamber similarly pledged all present (those under the rose) to secrecy. Hence our phrase sub rosa, for secret or private.

Rose on the ceiling of Hampton Court Palace, England, summer
home to Henry VIII.
Image via JosephFM Lib-ing in the UK

Until the early 19th century dried rose petals were believed to have mysterious powers. Napoleon gave his officers bags of rose petals to boil in white wine, to cure lead poisoning from bullet wounds, Even today, rose water is still used to refresh the hands before a feast or festive greeting, from the Middle East to northern India. Monastery gardens of Medieval England were full of roses; roses were closely associated with the church, particularly the wild red rose which was considered to represent the blood of Christ and each of its five petals represented his five wounds. Rose hips were used to make rosaries and many Rose windows are found in English cathedrals.

The medicinal uses for our rose are seemingly endless. I personally cannot verify these uses and in fact do not endorse them here simply because I don't know if they are effective or even safe. BUT... some uses include rose tea to bring down a fever, alleviate skin rashes, or boost the immune system's ability to fight colds. Rose water is often used to refresh skin and alleviate irritations. It is used in aroma therapy to reduce anxiety and depression. Rose hips are the "fruit" of the rose. The hip develops at the base of a pollinated flower and contains the seeds. Rose hips usually remain green and hard until the first frost, when they turn red or orange and soften a little. The nutrient content is highest at this time. Rose hips make delicious tea with a naturally sweet, citrusy flavor. Hips are used in cooking, where they add flavor as well as nutrition. Besides the high vitamin C content, rose hips contain vitamins A, B3, D, and E. Hips are a source of bioflavonoids, flavonoids, fructose, citric acid, and zinc. The bioflavonoids in rose hips have been shown to provide pain relief for people who have osteoarthritis. Studies in Denmark indicated a decrease in patients' need for other anti-inflammatory drugs when they took powdered rose hips over a three- to four-month period. But again, I leave it up to you to determine the accuracy and safety of using roses medicinally. I personally have used rose petals to make a delicately flavored Rose and Lavendar Rhubarb Jam. And of course roses are so ubiquitous to perfumes that I don't think we even need to elaborate. One of my top two favorite perfumes is Tea Rose by The Parfumer's Workshop. (The other is Chanel Mademoiselle, just to give a shout out). Beautylish has three easy rose skincare recipes for summer skin care. I've used the refreshing toner rosewater recipe and it's lovely. As Beautylish notes, be sure to do a test patch first before you dive into new homemade recipes.

Image via Beautylish


If Confusius had 600 books about roses, there is no way I'm even going to attempt to discuss growing roses. The American Rose Society has anything you could ever possibly want to know about growing and caring for roses. Other places you might want to check out include All-American Rose Selections, Fine Gardening, and Growing Roses. Of course you can do your own web search or library/bookstore search, contact your local Extension Service as well.

Rose colors have a long history of specific meanings:

Red Roses….. True Red exemplifies lovers, Fiery Red exhibits high passion, Cardinal Red speaks of great desire.

White Roses….. Purity, innocence, loyalty and sincerity are conveyed. Known as the “bridal rose”, the rose of confession and of servitude. They also represent humility, youthfulness and charm.White Roses in Bud is a sign of a girl too young to love.

Yellow Roses….. A symbol of jealousy in Victorian times, now yellow is friendship, happiness within the home, or a message of “I’m sorry”. Joy and friendship - yellow roses don't specifically show love. They can also represent starting over,or a new beginning. Yellow tipped with red shows friendship falling in love.

Pink Roses….. Dark Pink or Hot Pink conveys thankfulness. Other hues may indicate romance, joy, elegance, admiration or beauty. To give pink roses shows grace, joy, and gratitude. Pale pink also has the meaning of fun attached to it.

Orange Roses.... Desire and enthusiam. These would be a great choice to give to someone if you want the relationship to develop further.

Green Roses….. Fertility is symbolized by the green rose; also fruitfulness, calm, self-respect. Well-being; may provide a negative force through envy, “the green eyed monster”.

Purple Roses….. Lavender is a sign of love at first sight; enchantment, wonder, impossibility, royalty and control.

Deep purple can be used as a memorial rose for a spouse who has passed, or as love long lasting for anniversaries of 25 years and more.

Blue Roses….. Rarely found in a natural state, the blue rose can be tied to the lavender; its closest relative on the rainbow scale. It means unobtainable, impossible love. I remember seeing a blue rose in a gardening cataloge once and I have to admit that it wasn't very pretty. Kind of weird.

Peach Roses….. An unspoken “thank you” or “I appreciate you”.

Black Roses….. An expression of sorrow or death; often used for funerals. They can also be a bad sign or omen. Most "black rose" are actually deep deep shades of red (or dyed) as black is not a natural color for roses.

Leaves of a rose bush are a sign of hope while a crown of roses represents virtue or reward.

Love Letter Box has a nice chart of the rose colors and their meanings as well as of the meanings of number of roses. For example, one rose means loves at first sight, fifty roses mean regretless love, one hundred roses means devoted couple to a ripe old age, and so forth.

Tyler Rose Garden. Image via Garden Visit

The Tyler Rose Garden in Tyler, Texas is the world's largest rose garden at 14 acres with over 38,000 rose bushes of at least 500 different varieties, from tall grafted rose trees to miniature roses no larger than a dime. I used to live in Tyler and the gardens are stunning. Be sure to take your allergy medicine if you go when the blooms are at their peak. Additional info can be found here.  

OK then- this has been fun and we could continue with our rose education for days and days, but I think this gets us off to a good start. This post got to be waaaayyyy longer and muuuuuch more involved than I plan to do for the birthday flowers posts, but this month's flower is a rose and my goodness they're gorgeous.

Image by Rose Fire Rising via Flickr

Let's finish up our look at June's rose with a rose butterfly, of course: the Crimson Rose, found in India, Sri Lanka, and possibly on the coast of western Myanmar.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Thanks so much for visiting and please do stop by again. Next time we'll do a little crafty thing.