Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Wild About Roses

The Boboli Gardens (Florence)

Roses are a symbol of romance in almost every culture, so I was not surprised that Italy, one of the most romantic countries, had the flowers growing wild nearly everywhere we went.  I found it very interesting that the Wild Rose only has five petals compared to the cultivated Rose which has many more.  One of my favorite memories from this trip was the excursion to the Boboli Gardens in Florence.  Our professor took us to the gardens behind the Pitti Palace.  These gardens were absolutely stunning, and I also really enjoyed how the Italian culture values art so much they incorporate it into their everyday lives.  The food, the sculptures, and the gardens are all carefully constructed with such diligence one can only admire it as art.  

Tuscany is famous beautiful and deeply colored flora, which can be seen carefully planted in the Boboli Gardens.   We stopped in front of a beautiful cream flower with five petals and five sepals.  Looking nothing like the rose we are used to in grocery stores, I was surprised to find out it was a wild rose!  The large number of petals that we see in the cultivated roses that we use for bouquets and arrangements are the result of a mutation.  The Wild Rose flower typically appears from spring through the summer.  The blossoms are followed by bright red hips.  These hips are what contains the seeds and are actually edible.  The rose hips are a rich source of vitamin C and were used in alternative medicine treatments to relieve stomach pain.  After seeing the beautiful gardens and flowers in Italy, it gives me a whole new perspective on natural beauty.  I will dearly miss exploring this beautiful country and all its art.

-Hannah Dressen

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