The roses are starting early this year, just one or two blossoms opening on some of the shrubs. They aren’t plentiful enough for a traditional arrangement, but a pocketful of flowers is more than enough material for a floating floral display.
The long stemmed roses that we take for granted in arrangements are fairly recent introductions from the late 1800s. For centuries prior, cut roses were floated in rose bowls. Old roses’ wide bottoms and cupped petals create a raft, so the flower doesn’t need to be held aloft by the plants’ short, wispy stems, like on this blossom of ‘Harison’s Yellow’, introduced in 1825 and one of the first yellow roses.
Rose bowls seem to last a little longer than cut flower arrangements, and either I’m imagining it or the rose fragrance is a bit stronger too. For my first rose bowl of the season I wanted to use only roses, but later on I’ll use ferns, berries, other flowers, and floating candles along with them. It’s fun because it’s just combining plants, not designing. You can’t mess it up, and there’s no better way to enjoy these gorgeous, sometimes fleeting, blossoms.