Roses are one of our best loved flowers. They are given as a symbol of love and lasting romance. They are used as an expression of beauty. In literature, art and music they're used as symbols for a variety of ideas. Since humanity began cultivating nature these beautiful flowers have intrigued gardeners. Over the centuries the wild roses that were found in hedgerows have been cultivated and adapted for a variety of purposes. The fossil record suggests that the rose is 35 million years old.It's believed that these flowers began to be cultivated around five thousand years ago probably in China. By the time the Roman Empire came into being they were well known and loved in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean. They were used in religious ceremonies and during wedding ceremonies they were used as agricultural irrigation sprinkler nozzles confetti. They are still used for both purposes today. The Romans identified roses as being the flower of Venus and Aphrodite.The rose has long had medicinal purposes. Rose hips are very high in Vitamin C. Their Vitamin C content is even higher than that of citrus fruits and during the Second World War when fruit imports were hampered by the conflict, the government encouraged the making of rose hip syrup as a means for the population to replace any lost vitamins.Way back in AD 77 Pliny suggested that there were at least thirty two illnesses that could be treated with ingredients made from roses. In the Medieval period they played a key part of much of the medicine of the day. Sufferers from arthritis have long been treated with some properties that rose hips contain. They contain high levels of flavonoids and have properties which help to inhibit inflammation. Today, many people drink tea or medicinal drinks that contain rose hips in the belief that it makes them feel healthier.Rose oil is used in the perfumer's art. Since the time when people began making scented products to wear it was frequently part of the mixture. Rose oil is used in aromatherapy and during the coronation of the British monarch. As well as all these secondary uses, its popularity as a garden flower shows little sign of letting up.The rose can be used in a number of different horticultural settings. In mixed borders of other shrubs and perennials, roses of different colours often complement the planting. Rose borders take a singular approach to planting, but because of the variety available they can be surprising. Rose gardens are well loved and romantic, with a mixture of shrubs, standards and climbers. Stronger varieties can also be used for hedging.New cultivars are created by enthusiasts. This is done through pollinating one species with another of a different variety. The resulting seed germinates and grows into new species.Roses show little sign of waning in popularity. They retain their popularity in gardens and as tokens of love and affection. Their scent and oil is valued and their place in art and culture has been assured.