The second-century Greek writer, Athenaeus, claimed that Cleopatra covered her entire palace with roses to seduce Mark Antony. The Roman term sub rosa, meaning ‘to do something in secrecy’, is still used today in English law, since the rose symbolised the ancient god of silence, Harpocrates. Throughout history, the rose has been a powerful universal symbol, and this month, the annual International Competition of New Roses celebrates its 16th edition in Parc de Cervantes. The competition allows hard-working breeders to display their horticultural skills and, for those of us a little less green-fingered, it presents an opportunity to amble around the park, soaking up the scent and sight of over 2,000 species of rose. The event also involves other activities, including floral art exhibitions, food stalls and music performances. The competition began in 2001 and offers a chance to see little-known varieties of rose that are not currently found on the commercial market. Both the public and a panel of expert judges decide the winners in various categories, such as Best Hybrid Rose, Best Miniature Rose and Best Scented Rose. The competition’s world tour continues on to various cities, including Rome, Tokyo, Belfast and Adelaide.
More information here.