June is National Rose Month. Roses have a long and colorful history. They have been symbols of love, beauty, war and politics.

Did you know that the rose was almost overshadowed by the marigold? On January 12, 1959, the president of the W. Atlee Burpee Co., David Burpee, wrote newly-elected Senate Minority Leader Everett M. Dirksen, proclaiming the virtues of the marigold and calling it “the flower of the people.” David Burpee was vigilant in the fight. He was known for using PT Barnum’s model for promotion and advertising — just like his dad! For nearly 10 years Burpee and Dirksen campaigned for the marigold.

Many other flowers were considered too … there were even those who strongly suggested the corn tassel be our national flower. What?


But, we know the end of the story… In 1986 President Ronald Reagan signed a resolution making the rose the national floral emblem at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden…

“Americans have always loved the flowers with which God decorates our land. More often than any other flower, we hold the rose dear as the symbol of life and love and devotion, of beauty and eternity. For the love of man and woman, for the love of mankind and God, for the love of country, Americans who would speak the language of the heart do so with a rose.

We see proof of this everywhere. The study of fossils reveals that the rose has existed in America for age upon age. We have always cultivated roses in our gardens. Our first President, George Washington, bred roses, and a variety he named after his mother is still grown today. The White House itself boasts a beautiful Rose Garden. We grow roses in all our fifty States. We find roses throughout our art, music, and literature. We decorate our celebrations and parades with roses. Most of all, we present roses to those we love, and we lavish them on our altars, our civil shrines, and the final resting places of our honored dead.

The American people have long held a special place in their hearts for roses. Let us continue to cherish them, to honor the love and devotion they represent, and to bestow them on all we love just as God has bestowed them on us.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 159 has designated the rose as the National Floral Emblem of the United States and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation declaring this fact.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the rose as the National Floral emblem of the United States of America.”



arslogoprintThe American Rose Society was founded in 1892,the American Rose Society is the oldest single plant horticultural society in America.  The ARS is an educational, nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to the cultivation and enjoyment of roses. ARS supports its members by providing educational programs, resourceful publications, and continuing research. We have more than 300 affiliated rose societies in our national network.

I am an active member and have met some amazing people and draw routinely from their wealth of information. For membership information, click here.


We meet on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 6:30 in the evening at the Sullivan Munce building in charming downtown Zionsville! That is except for special events and they are usually on the weekend.

Our time together ranges from member garden parties, wine and roses parties, and tours (always popular as there are some amazing gardens) to workshops on rose pests and diseases, general rose care, as well as recommendations for growing roses in our region! It is amazing how much we learn from the experts we bring in and from our local members! There’s always fun, food, and prizes involved too. Read more here.

NOTE: During COVID our meeting schedule has changed. Check the website for updates.


  1. marigold? really? nothing is as versatile, colorful, fragrant and hardy as the rose. the variety is endless, the fragrances many types, grow in many climes, can be a bush, a tree and a climber, or a bit of both. I mean nothing beats a rose and defintily not a marigold. you get roses that bloom vigorously for a few weeks and many who bloom all summer long. you have mini, large, medium, good for wetter areas good for drier areas. rose is the perfect pick for something special if my hubby gave me a marigold as a gift I would be okay give me a rose I am like thanks honey.

  2. Thanks to you! I’ve been collecting roses for about 2 years now. I never imagined I would be growing them haha and i’m pretty obsessed! Even in Chicago, I’ve managed to have 13 so far.
    I hate that the nearest rose society is 1 hour away, especially with millions of people here in the city.
    Thanks for all of your information

  3. Thank you for all of this information. I do know that marigolds are used on graves in some Asian countries, and there is a festival or remembrance of some sort where there are lots and lots of marigolds in the city or town. The rose is my favorite flower for all of its attributes, mostly its beauty.

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