From being compared to the beloved’s face, to relay burning passions and hidden messages in plain sight, or pressed into the pages of a book long forgotten, roses have proved their versatility, beyond doubt and in all of living memory.
Where lies the allure of this sublime bloom? Is the enchantment woven into the intricacy of the arranged petals, encased in the bud, or in the graceful falling apart of the mature blossom?
Is it in the fragrance, so synonymous with tranquil beauty? Or is it in the missives they hide so well, words they relay to each of us, at once universal yet uniquely personal?
Story telling or eloquence are in no way the dominion of the majestic rose alone; there are other contenders, varying in their languages, but perhaps less universal in their appeal.
So, do you know how to say it with a rose?
The signature hue
Think of a rose and more often than not, the colour you imagine is deep red, a coveted hue even as the lips of an innocent Snow White. It is no wonder really, as the flower in its singularity has had the power to link hearts with enduring love and passion, immortalised in many a fable since time immemorial. The colour also denotes deep emotions like respect and devotion.
There is no one shade of ‘red’ though. It is a whole spectrum, from fiery reds to deep sober maroons and even strawberry tints. Imagine all those cherished moments, left incomplete, if not for the presence of a meaningful red rose.
The blazing sun
Yellow as the bright rays of the sun, the colour as a rose is now a symbol of friendship, and the peace and joy that we often find therein. It brings instant cheer to the receiver, and very succinctly lets us summarise what we often feel towards our dearest of friends—“Thank you, for being you!”
Its mellow texture represents a new beginning and works like an elixir for the senses of anyone who is ill, and hence is ideal to send as a message of goodwill, like when visiting someone sick and wishing them a speedy recovery.
White is often the colour of choice when thinking of something pure, innocent and flawless, and the white rose imbibes a similar connotation. White is untarnished, all encompassing, rejection of all the colours in a ray of light, and fierce in its purity. So it is no wonder that white roses are known to symbolise these very same virtues.
In a bit of a twist, white also represents secrecy, and in its serenity inspiring shade, connotes respect, humility as well as loyalty.
It is also best suited for sombre occasions, like when visiting someone grieving or sick, or saying farewell to a dearly beloved, or even to express hope for the future.
Pretty in Pink
The colour pink in roses is more like a spectrum, as there are so many shades they come in—each with a different meaning too. When deeply pink, the rose can convey gratitude, appreciation, and admiration, and in a paler shade it stands for grace, happiness, joy and gentleness.
A light pink can also relay sympathy and understanding. It also holds the spirit of soft and elegant femininity.
With the warm and invigorating hues reminiscent of summer sunsets, the orange rose represents enthusiasm and passionate desire, as well as admiration and attraction. It is also a good missive for fascination, with undertones of irresistible vitality and enthusiasm. Perfect for whenever you are too excited to be coherent!
Also, in its milder shade, it has perhaps the sweetest connotation than all others—of the combined emotions of love and friendship.
It may appear somewhat similar to the white rose to many but to those with a discerning eye for colour and sensitivity, it is an entirely different bloom, with a plethora of its own meanings. It represents charm, thoughtfulness, and grace. It also represents, due to its pearly appearance and soft luxurious texture, an implied charm, richness and perfection. A bouquet of cream roses is a great option to let someone know that you care without romantic intentions.
The mystical and serene lilac or purple rose carries a meaning as unique as its hue — love at first sight, enchantment, splendour and mystery. Wondering how to tell someone you like them in a special way? Send a single lilac rose. In its deeper version, the purple rose can mean adoration and fascination.
Like the colour, the meaning of the burgundy rose is also exceptional. It stands to signify unconscious beauty, or a very deep passion which requires more than the quintessential red rose.
The sweet and subtle peach rose can convey modesty, sincerity, authenticity, and also be a great way of saying thank you! It can also be a colour of choice for occasions requiring an expression of sympathy.
Roses have been the go to flower for expressing our very human emotions in their quietly vivacious ways. Perhaps it is time we bring back the tradition of saying things with flowers—they do appear to be more eloquent than many of us.