It is said that one of Cleopatra's gifts to Mark Anthony was a bathing room full of scented rose petals, strewn across the floor to a depth of three feet! Personally I'm not quite that extravagant or possess such a large rose garden to produce so many fresh petals but I do appreciate the sentiment.
Christmas in the northern hemisphere means we look out over our rose beds of bare canes and some of us miss the summer blooms, the vibrant colors and the delicate scents.
Christmas gifts for rose lovers can help maintain the sentiment and bring joy to an otherwise heavy heart. To help you with your gift giving plans, here are a variety of Christmas present ideas for the rose lovers on your 'nice' list.
Use Your Own Roses
If you have had the foresight to save and dry some of your own roses, why not use them to create a summer memory? A dry rose bud centerpiece or small door wreath both look nice, or how about using a variety of dried petals and a cinnamon stick to make up a potpourri which can easily be presented in a small wooden box topped with a rose bud.
Use Your Rose Hips
These wonderful little berries can be the source of many an unusual and welcomed gift. Boiled they can become a rose hip tea, rich in Vitamin C or added to your door wreath of dried rose buds they complete the Christmas color theme. My Aunt has the best idea however, she uses them to make rose-hip jelly. Now wouldn't a pot of that go down well at Christmas time?
Get Crafty with Petals
Dried rose petals, your own or purchased, can be used in paper-making, candle-making and soap -making. They bring color and some scent to all these crafts and their value can easily be enhanced by adding a card with dried and pressed rose buds. Gifts like these become even more poignant if the card noted that the petals being used had been cultivated in your own rose bed!
Crystal and Glass
Okay, so your not into crafts and you forgot to collect and dry your own roses this year. No Problem. What about a single rose made in crystal or a small tiffany style lamp with a rose design motif or, my favorite, a crystal rose shaped pendant? There are some stunning designs available that incorporate rose shapes and colors and these would be perfect for your rose loving friends.
Books and Stuff
Actually I really like to receive a yearly calendar full of rose photographs at this time of year. Books such as '100 English Roses for the American Garden' or any of the Peter Beales books make good choices. How about 'A celebration of Roses – An Illustrated Anthology of Verse and Prose' if you prefer a more lyrical outlook, or 'And Roses for the Table – A Garden of Recipes' for the budding chef on your list. Don't forget the notepaper and envelopes with printed rose buds or the yearly subscription to the 'American Rose Society'. Then there is another favorite of mine, a yearly subscription to my favorite magazine 'The Rose'.
Dabble in Oils
Not painting so much, although a nice framed picture of your favorite bloom would be a great idea, but rose oils. It's worth considering for it embraces both ends of the spending spectrum. Rosewater is both useful, fine scented and rather inexpensive, while rose attar (true rose oil!) is both exotic and costly. Who wouldn't like to receive even a small gift in this category?
Small Tools for the Spring
How nice to be reminded that spring will be around again and you will have a new tool to help you produce those superb blooms. My most used small tool is a water probe which is both inexpensive and invaluable. How about small pruners or a sharpening kit for old pruners? The ultimate Christmas gift ideas in this category however is a pair of rose gardening gloves, the ones that are thorn proof and have long sleeves, covering the lower arms from scratches. These would really bring a smile to your rose lover friend.
When I was a child I always envied our relatives in Australia at Christmas time, because they got to spend Christmas at the beach, but now I envy them because they have a full rose garden of blooms at Christmas while I, living in the Northern Hemisphere, stare out at bare rose canes. I know the spring is coming so I go hunting for Christmas gifts for my rose loving friends and somehow this bridges the winter gap. Hopefully these Christmas ideas can help you with your gifts for your rose loving friends.
Oh, and don't forget, reminding them to get a tetanus shot every ten years is probably the most useful of all gifts, but of course it is a little difficult to wrap!