woman smelling roses

It’s finally here — National Rose Month! June is the special month we dedicate to celebrating the wildly popular rose. Roses are truly special flowers, with over 150 species that bloom all over the world in a variety of colors.

Roses have been a part of American history since the birth of the nation. It is believed that George Washington was an early American rose breeder, and the White House famously has its own rose garden, which presidents still use for important meetings and signings.

National Rose Month was established in 1959, as a way of trying to build support for making the rose the national flower of the United States. However, that goal was not realized until almost three decades later, when, in 1986, President Ronald Reagan declared the rose the national floral emblem, stating in his proclamation: “More often than any other flower, we hold the rose dear as the symbol of life and love and devotion, of beauty and eternity.” Since then, National Rose Month has taken on a larger significance, as it not only honors the beautiful flower but recognizes a symbol of our country.

It seems only fair, then, that we should mark this occasion in a floral and festive manner — whether that’s simply displaying a beautiful rose centerpiece, beginning a creative project, or traveling to a rose garden or rose festival. In honor of National Rose Month, we present 10 ways you can celebrate this most revered flower throughout the month of June.

Visit a rose garden

One of the best ways to celebrate the rose is to plan a trip to visit a rose garden. There are rose gardens all over the country, but you might be lucky enough to live close enough to one of the seven most beautiful rose gardens in the country. If you don’t live near any of these, a simple internet search will yield rose gardens located in your area.

Attend a rose festival

a photo of rose month with a float at the portland rose festival

Many rose festivals happen around the country in June. Portland, Oregon, known as the City of Roses, is home to one of the largest rose festivals, with four parades and dozens of events over a two-week period in early June. There’s also Elizabeth Park’s Rose Weekend in Connecticut, which takes place in the nation’s oldest operating rose garden. For Midwesterners, there’s the Slate Center Rose Festival in Marshalltown, Iowa, which hosts a well-known festival that attracts thousands of rose lovers each June.

Plant a rose bush

There’s a reason June was chosen as National Rose Month: This is when roses look their best. Many rose types love full sun, making them a great summer addition to your garden. Pro tip: Never plant roses in soil where you have planted roses before, as it can make the new rose more susceptible to disease. Roses also need lots of nutrient-dense soil to keep their blooms fresh all summer long.

Decorate with roses

Since roses peak in June, it’s the perfect time to clip a few from your garden or have fresh rose plants delivered to bring a lively presence to your decor. Beyond that, rose patterns are a common decorating theme and cover a variety of home decor items. Now’s the time to display those beautiful rose pillows or set out a fragrance diffuser and votive candle and fill your home with the unmistakable scent of roses.

Turn roses into rose water

A photo of rose month with rose water

Rose water is a clean and delicate floral liquid with just two ingredients: rose and water! Rose water is simple enough to make at home: Just toss a handful of rose petals and a few cups water into a pot, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for five to 10 minutes, or until the rose petals have lost their color. Prep in batches to keep rose water on hand for a variety of recipes, such as…

Make rose water ice cream

With homemade rose water in your pantry, the best way to celebrate a June holiday is with homemade ice cream! Bring the flavor of authentic Persian rosewater ice cream to your freezer with our easy-to-make recipe, which uses rose water for a floral note and chopped pistachios for a crunch. Add a half teaspoon of saffron powder for a golden hue and earthy sweetness.

Send a friend or loved one roses

a photo of rose month with gifting someone roses

One of the best ways to celebrate any holiday is to share the love and get gifts in celebration. In honor of National Rose Month, send a fresh bouquet of roses to someone who you know loves receiving flowers. No need to stick to traditional red roses either: With colorful options like sorbetkaleidoscopepale pink, or bright yellow, you have a variety of ways to send someone a splash of color.

Make your own rose arrangement

Of course, while you’re brightening someone else’s day with roses, make sure to get some for yourself, too. Stock up on fresh roses in a variety of colors and gather the family for a fun afternoon activity. Get creative with not only the arrangements but also the containers. For instance, you can arrange roses in a planter’s box, recycled glass bottles, crates, tin cans…you name it! The main rules of flower arrangements are: balance, proportion, unity, harmony, and emphasis.

Make pressed roses

a photo of rose month with a woman pressing roses

Pressed roses make for great craft projects. Follow our tutorial, and you can have your very own pressed flowers in five minutes using a microwave, or go with the old-fashioned method of pressing them into a book, which takes about a month. Either way, pressed roses make for beautiful decor and creative projects.

Learn how to keep roses for longer

We all want our roses to stick around as long as possible, and to help you with that, we have an easy-to-follow guide on how to keep cut roses fresher for longer. First, make sure to cut the stem at an angle one inch from the bottom. Then, clip the leaves — don’t rip them, as that can cause bacteria to grow in the water. It’s also good to keep roses in a cool room and away from direct sunlight. And, of course, change the water every few days as needed. Just these few tips will add days or weeks to the life of your roses!

Author

Rachel Kolman specializes in personal essays on wellness, technology, beauty, family, and self-care. Her writing has been published in Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, The Inquistr, The Tech Viral, Sinkhole, and others. She teaches English classes at Drexel University and is the editor of Rathalla Review literary journal.

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