America's Flower

America's Flower

By Robert B. Martin, Jr.

In October 1985, a Senate resolution naming the rose America’s National Floral Emblem was passed. The same resolution by the House of Representatives was passed in September 1986. And, on November 20, 1986, President Reagan, signed Proclamation 5574 declaring the Rose to be The National Floral Emblem of the United States of America. With this proclamation the Rose took its place among the beloved patriotic symbols of our nation, symbols that include the American Flag; the Great Seal including the U.S. Motto; the Bald Eagle; the National Anthem; the official March; and the National Tree, the Oak.

The identification of the Rose as America’s National Floral Emblem is prominently stated in the logo of the American Rose Society. In addition, on September 26, 2003, at the Fall ARS National Convention at Washington, D.C., the ARS unveiled an insignia celebrating the Rose as our National Flower. The design was commissioned by Mea Nursery, and gifted to the American Rose Society. The ARS, in turn, offered it as “our Gift to the Nation, to be used by all who would celebrate the Rose in commerce, at rose events, and in public and private gardens.”

Having been honored to be the Guest Editors of the 2006 American Rose Annual, Dona and I thought it then fitting on the 20th anniversary of this Proclamation that our theme for the Annual should be “The Rose in America”. There we presented a variety of articles on the roses of America, its public gardens, its rose hybridizers, its industry and its emblems. Also on October 1, 2006 the National Garden was unveiled. First Lady Laura Bush presided at the dedication. In her remarks, Mrs. Bush said, “Mary (Johnston) planted the seeds of this garden in the early 1980s, when she worked with the American Rose Society and members of Congress to establish a national flower.

In years past, the American Rose Society has undertaken nation-wide events to draw attention to the Rose as America’s National Floral Emblem. These include the Year of the Rose – 2002, and Rose Day America, in 2005.

November 2016 will mark the 30th Anniversary of the Proclamation declaring the Rose to be The National Floral Emblem of the United States of America. I believe this an appropriate time has for the American Rose Society to once again undertake an initiative to remind the nation that the Rose holds a prominent place among the nation’s great patriotic symbols.

The position of the Rose in America is unique among flowers. Patriotism is never out of fashion, nor is the Rose. Let us never forget - nor fail to remind - that the Rose is America’s Flower and we of the American Rose Society are its guardians.