June's birth flowers: rose and honeysuckle

June marks the start of summer both meteorologically and astronomically, and the month's birth flowers really shine at this time of year: the rose and the honeysuckle. Both make a wonderful gift to send someone celebrating their birthday in June.

You'd be forgiven for assuming the rose is the birth flower of February, thanks to its association with Valentine's Day, but its actually the sixth month of the Gregorian calendar that calls the Rosa its birth flower.

There are many different categories of rose, but more than 300 species across the world. Thanks to the relative ease with which they can be bred and cross-bred, there are thousands of cultivars resulting from experimenting with combining different roses together. Broadly speaking, roses can be put in to one of several categories:

  • Hybrid tea - an often fragrant crossing of robust, perpetual hybrid x tea roses and are usually a single bloom on a stem making them great cut flowers for bouquets
  • Polyantha - small shrub with clusters of small flowers and bushy growth
  • Floribunda - a cross between hybrid tea and polyantha, floribunda plants are hardy and bushier with clusters of larger flowers and many without a scent
  • Patio - similar to polyantha, grown for bushy, shrub-like density with compact flowers
  • Ground cover - these plants are generally wider than they are tall, with small flowers
  • Climbing - as the name suggests, these are climbing plants that can be trained up structures, with less vigorous growth and few flowers than a rambler, but flowers tend to be larger
  • Rambling - vigorous climbers that produce flowers in June and July, and require cutting back immediately after flowering to ensure growth and future blooms
  • Damask - considered the best for fragrance, this old grouping is the kind used to make rose oil and rose water
  • Gallica - among the oldest garden roses, gallicas are bushy with double flowering of ruffled, strongly perfumed blooms
  • Alba - one of the toughest rose plants, the flowers are often white, cream or pale pink with characteristic grey-green leaves
  • Centifolia - also known as the 'Provence rose', these shrub roses have an open growth and produce large almost spherical roses with a strong scent
four photos in a grid - clockwise from top left: a peach Hybrid tea rose; pink polyantha roses; a vibrant pink Damask rose; lemon yellow climbing rose wrapped around an red brick column;

Clockwise from top left: A peach Hybrid Tea rose; pink Polyantha rose, vibrant pink Damask rose; lemon yellow climbing rose

As well as many different kinds of rose, this flower also holds many different meanings. From the classic meanings of love, passion and beauty, roses can also mean immortality, gratitude and even jealousy - it all depends on the colour you choose!

photograph of a honeysuckle plant with its distinctive tubular white and pink flowers

If it's the birthday of someone you love this month and you're looking for a slightly more unusual gift, then a honeysuckle plant could be the very thing you're looking for.

You'll often see this fragrant flower in country gardens and rambling over fences in a wonderfully chaotic display of flowers the colour of tubular white and pink flowers that mellow to yellow later in the growing season. You'll notice the fragrance more in the evening as Lonicera periclymenum has evolved to attract night-flying moths as pollinators.

Honeysuckles have some lovely symbolic meanings, including affection, devotion, happiness and steadfastness. In some lore, the honeysuckle was also believed to have the power of fidelity, protection and money.

Why not surprise someone with a bouquet made using their birth flower the rose as a gift with that little bit of something extra special. Shop bouquets now.

By Beth Cox

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