Arts

The Sweetest Flower

Q.
Which flower has the most entrancing scent?

 

A.
‘The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live….’

So writes William Shakespeare in Sonnet 54. Does the rose have an uncommonly sweet odour? Do we deem it fairer because of its scent? Is Shakespeare right?

Of course he’s right. Bill knows his business. Gardening Magazine asked 3500 members to identify their favourite flowers by scent.

 

Top 5 Flowers By Scent

  1. Roses (with an emphatic win)
  2. Sweet Peas
  3. Honeysuckle
  4. Lavender
  5. Jasmine

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Shakespeare’s poll-loving fellow Brits agree. Country Living reported out on a 2017 poll asking 2000 Brits to identify their favourite flowers. Once again roses came out tops. Good thing, as the red Tudor rose is also England’s national flower.

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Their Favourite Flowers

  1. Roses
  2. Lilies
  3. Tulip
  4. Daffodil
  5. Sunflower
  6. Orchid
  7. Carnation
  8. Bluebell
  9. Freesia
  10. Poppy
  11. Sweetpea
  12. Snowdrops
  13. Lilly of the Valley
  14. Gerbera
  15. Peony
  16. Dahlia
  17. Daisy
  18. Foxglove
  19. Magnolia
  20. Iris
  21. Forget-me-not
  22. Violets
  23. Pansy
  24. Chrysanthemum
  25. Lilac
  26. Snapdragon
  27. Lupin
  28. Hyacinth
  29. Dandelion
  30. Hydrangea

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So, Mother’s Day is coming on Sunday, May 10th. If your Mum is into gardening, are sweet-scented roses a safe gift purchase?

Well, not necessarily. In 2019, BBC’s Gardener’s Magazine revealed the garden plant that topped their ‘most hated’ polls. Turned out, it was the same plant that topped their ‘most loved’ polls: the rose. While some gardeners love to stop and smell their multi-hued roses, others complain of aphids, thorns and high maintenance tending.

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Gardener’s Magazine Most Divisive Plants

Rose
Dahlias
Lavender
Hydrangeas
Hardy Geraniums
Euphorbias
Periwinkle
Ivy
Begonias
Bamboo

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There is one rose that even Shakespeare can’t get behind: the dog-rose, or the canker bloom  – sonnet anti-hero.

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Sonnet 54. William Shakespeare. 1609

O how much more doth beauty beauteous seem,
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye
As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
Hang on such thorns and play as wantonly
When summer’s breath their masked buds discloses:
But, for their virtue only is their show,
They live unwoo’d and unrespected fade,
Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made:
And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
When that shall fade, my verse distills your truth.

www.justcurious.ca

Header Photo: Allie Smith
Photo 2: Amy Shamblen
Photo 3: Floreser
Photo 4: K. Mitch Hodge

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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton