By Linda Wiggen Kraft
“My love is like a red, red rose” – Robert Burns
A red rose is the symbol of eternal love. We give red roses on Valentine’s Day to honor the lover that cupid’s arrow has chosen for us. The red rose and cupid are not the symbols of St. Valentine. They are the symbols of Aphrodite the Greek Goddess of love and divine beauty. Aphrodite later became the Roman Goddess Venus. She tempted men and gods alike to her bed of roses. Here she made love to her many lovers. Cupids were at her command to travel to the world of humans and to pierce their hearts with blind love’s arrows. In ancient Greece Aphrodite’s power was summoned by envisioning oneself in her mirror of transformation, which was adorned with red, red roses.
We too can have a bed of roses in a garden dedicated to love. This can be a place where our sensual and passionate love can be shared. A garden for lovers honors Aphrodite’s essence. It is a garden that arouses the senses, and is dedicated to divine beauty and eternal love. The perfect time to conceive the dreams for a garden for lovers is in February, the time of St. Valentine.
The essence of Aphrodite is found in plants that arouse the senses and open the heart. Aphrodisiacs are plants that arouse sexual desire when ingested. Yet a more subtle and stronger arousal of desire and love is achieved through the sight, smell, touch and sound of plants.
Of all the flowers the red rose is most arousing. The color red carries the energy of fire, heat and passion. The beauty of the rose is divine. The pattern of rose petals as they overlap in a rose flower is said to be the same pattern that the planet Venus makes its eight-year journey through the sky. The fragrance of roses inspires and ignites feeling of love. The soft velvet petals inspire the softness of a gentle caress. There are even those of a sensitive nature who can hear the sounds of flowers. For them light and sound are one. A friend described her perception of plants after a near death experience. For her a field of wild grasses was like a great orchestra of light and music. Trees had a deep, sonorous hum. Perhaps we too will someday hear the heavenly sounds of passion from a red, red rose.
There are other plants for a garden for lovers. Many fragrant plants are most powerful at night, a time when lovers often meet. There is a hosta called “Aphrodite”. It has large white blossoms whose fragrance fills the night air. Datura flowers only open at sunset, emitting a lush fragrance. Tall flowering tobacco, nicotiana sylvestris, has white flowers with a lovely night fragrance. Even petunias send out a sweet nocturnal smell. Some plants are fragrant day and night. Oriental and trumpet lilies are the most fragrant lilies.
Trees can also carry the essence and meaning of love. Hawthorne trees bloom in the spring with a profusion of sweet smelling white flowers. The flowers turn to red berries for fall and winter beauty. In Greece Hawthorne sprigs were given to the bride and groom for happiness and prosperity. In Rome the groom would lead his bride to the nuptial room that was adorned with Hawthorne branches and lit by Hawthorne torches. Today the flowers, leaves, and berries are all used as herbal, homeopathic, and flower essence heart healers.
A perfect garden for lovers can be placed in a secluded corner of the yard. Winter King Hawthorne trees can provide shade for a comfortable bench or outdoor bed. A garden of fragrant flowering plants can define the lover’s space. William Shakespeare, Francois Rabelais, L.D. Braithwaite, The Dark Lady, David Thompson and Henry Nevand are all names of fragrant red roses that can surround the garden. With time and love the plants will grow in great beauty and profusion. And with time there will be enough rose petals for a bed of red, red roses.
Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She is also a mandala artist and workshop leader. Please visit her blog: CreativityForTheSoul.com/blog or on her website: CreativityForTheSoul.com. Call her at (314) 504-4266.