Tag Archives: hybridization

Where have all the scented roses gone?

True or false? “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”…..

Evidently not anymore. It has been many years since I have been anywhere close to a bouquet of roses. I can remember once or possibly twice that my husband sent me roses and that was back some time in the early 80s. The only other bouquet of roses I received was from a male friend (I was hoping he would become a boyfriend) who was supposed to come back home from school in Chicago when I was still in high school. Instead he sent the bouquet as an apology for not coming home and stayed at school. I remember the flowers’ sweet smell.

I was unaware of what was happening to the heavenly scent of the beautiful roses. Two weeks ago, I bought flowers for the chancel for a couple who has been married for sixty years. It was supposed to be anonymous, but that message was not made clear to the church secretary who sent them a letter telling them that flowers were donated for their anniversary and they needed to be at church to pick them up. She told them who had donated them. I was really disappointed because I wanted them to wonder who their friend was….or maybe friends. Due to other obligations they hadn’t been coming on a regular basis for the past few months.

Since they already knew, after the service I walked to the front and retrieved the bouquet for them. I delivered it to the wife at the back of the church and stood there talking with her and another friend. It dawned on me that something was missing. I sniffed the roses still in my arms and I could not smell a thing. I was surprised. Yesterday a neighbor took another neighbor a bouquet of roses to the hospital rehab where she is staying while she is recuperating from double knee replacement. I went along to hold the roses so they wouldn’t spill in the car. Again I smelled the roses and again there was no fragrance to smell.

We talked about it in the car and I was informed that all the scent has been hybridized out of modern day roses. I came home and did some research. Ecuador and Columbia  are leading producers of roses. Growing roses is a major industry.The rose fragrance was bred out of them when they bred for roses that would last longer without wilting. This is the kind of trade off that growers made in order to be able to send produce around the world.

The roses I was holding yesterday were beautiful. But it was no longer the total sensation I remember from earlier days. The roses were so perfect, they didn’t look real. Without the scent, anyone who may be blind would have no use for them. I think such roses should be sold at half price because half of the rose is missing!

Luckily, people still grow roses in their yards so if I’m fortunate enough to be invited to a home where there is a bouquet in the house, I can still smell one of my favorite scents. But that doesn’t happen very often.

Roses are a symbol of romance. The scent is supposed to evoke feelings of love. I see no value in the newlyweds’ bed being sprinkled with rose petals. It’s no different than tearing up construction paper. The experience is just not the same.

I cry for the world that is becoming more genetically modified, hybridized, and cloned every day. If this trend continues, nothing of Earth’s original cornucopia of heaven made sensations will even exist any more. What are we as humans thinking? Why do we think we can or should improve on Mother Earth’s original design? Why this obsession and failed experimentation on almost every living thing? Why do we have such a desire to not have any roses to smell if we wish to stop?



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