A symbol of love and a classic garden flower, the red rose is celebrated on June 12 each year. This is a fitting date for observing Red Rose Day, for not only are many roses in full bloom right now, but the rose is also the birth flower of June. People also value this flower for its sweet scent and use in teas, herbal remedies, and skincare products.
How to Celebrate Red Rose Day
Any way you can think of showing appreciation for red roses is a great way to celebrate Red Rose Day. Use one or more of the following ideas, or get creative and come up with your own. Many of these can be fun for kids, too!
- Learn more about red roses, including their symbolism, life cycle, uses, and cultural importance.
- Cut a rose (or bouquet!) from your own bushes or purchase one from a florist to gift to a loved one, teacher, nurse, etc.
- Visit a rose garden and admire the many different types: this makes a fun day trip for the family or with friends.
- Dry fragrant rose petals to make your own rose tea or potpourri (harvest only from chemical-free plants). This prairie rose potpourri is a must-have!
- Try some rose-scented skincare products like this rose whipped body cream, or gift them to someone who might appreciate a spark of joy today.
- Incorporate roses into your favorite art forms, such as drawing, painting, knitting, sculpting, or even baking.
- Plant a red rose bush or vine (or several!) in your garden.
Tips For Planting Red Roses
Red Rose Day is an excellent time to plant red roses in your garden, especially if you choose potted plants. Bare root roses should be planted in early spring or in the fall for best results. Here are a few tips to help get you started on your red rose growing journey.
Choose a variety
First, you have to wade through the myriad types of red roses available and find the one(s) best suited to your garden and your tastes. Browse the offerings of your local nursery or make a wish list and go treasure hunting. I’ve gathered a few varieties here to give you just a taste of what’s available:
Champlain – repeat-blooming shrub with a light fragrance and true-red petals with darker tips. Pest- and disease-resistant.
Crimson Glory – climbing hybrid tea rose with large, deep red, heavy double blossoms with a strong fragrance.
Darcy Bussel – English shrub rose featuring deep crimson, fully double, tutu-like blossoms with a fruity scent. Heat tolerant.
Munstead Wood – English shrub rose with pale red buds that open to deep burgundy blossoms with a strong classic rose scent.
Thomas A Becket – English shrub rose with natural, shrubby growth and medium-large crimson, informal rosette flowers.
Check out this list of over 40 roses to get some inspiration.
Select a suitable site
Roses prefer full sun, but a minimum of six to eight hours of sunlight, ideally with the morning sun to dry dewy leaves, will suffice. Choose a site away from fruit trees, if possible, which share some pests and diseases.
Good air circulation is also important.
Finally, keep the mature size of your chosen rose(s) in mind: while miniature roses reach less than a foot high, shrub roses average three to six feet tall, and climbing roses eight to 15 feet.
Prep the soil
Your roses will be happiest in loose, well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter. Dig a hole larger than the pot or root ball to allow the roots to spread, leaving a mound of soil in the bottom of the hole if planting a bare root rose. Mix a small amount of peat moss, coconut coir, or well-rotted manure with the removed soil – about a 1:3 ratio.
Plant your rose
Place the rose in the prepared hole, making sure it doesn’t sit too high or too deep. Then scoop the amended soil around the roots and water thoroughly. To reduce weeds and retain moisture, mulch around the rose with pine straw, pine bark, mulched leaves, or wood chips, leaving a bit of space around the stem. Now it’s time to put your tools away and take a well-deserved break.
No matter how you choose to celebrate, I hope you can at least find time to stop and smell the roses on Red Rose Day!
Serena Manickam is a freelance editor and writer and sustainable market gardener in rural Virginia. She holds a BA in environmental science and runs Fairydiddle Farm, a small market garden in which she grows no-spray produce and herbs to sell at a local farmer’s market.