Roses are seen as the flower of love. Another custom for Midsummer's eve was that young girls would scatter rose petals before them and say the words:-
'Rose leaves, rose leaves, rose leaves I strew, He that will love me come after me now.'
Then, according to legend, the next day, Midsummer's day, their true love will visit.
I wonder if this ever happened? In Act 1 Scene1 of William Shakespeare's play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' Lysander enquires of Hermia
'How, now my love? Why is your cheek so pale? How chance the roses there do fade so fast?'
Hermia replies 'Belike for want of rain, which I could well beteem them from the tempest of my eyes'
Lysander follows with 'Ay me! For aught that I could ever read, could ever hear by tale or history, the course of true love never did run smooth.'
Roses are much used in perfumes and also for healing purposes.
How to make rose water:-
Gather the roses from your garden just before they drop from the plant. Place in a heat-resistant bowl and cover with boiling water and leave them for about half an hour. Strain the mixture through muslin or cheesecloth into a jar and discard the petals. This mixture will last about 10 days if kept in the fridge, a tablespoon of vodka will act as a preservative if you want to store it for longer. Place in a spray bottle as a refreshing spray for warm summer days. You can also combine the rose water with glycerine to make a soothing moisturiser:-
3 tablespoons of glycerine to 3 tablespoons of rose water. Combine in a clean bottle, fasten the lid and shake the mixture. You need to shake before each use.
The rose above is called The Herbalist.
After I'd written this post and set it ready to publish later today we went for a walk around Trentham where we decided to have an ice cream from Cadwallader's ice cream parlour. Well, you've probably guessed - the flavour I chose was Rose Petal it was a pretty pale pink colour but this doesn't show very well on the photo which was taken with the phone camera; it was delicious - such a soft delicate flavour.