How The Rose Became Our National Flower


Veterans Honor – Pope John Paul II

All the world loves a rose, so it was no surprise to me that an entire month is set aside to celebrate the world’s most beloved flower. June is National Rose Month.

Did you know that in 1986 President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation making the rose our “National Floral Emblem”? Many think of it as our national flower or America’s Flower.

Now, this was not the first time a resolution was put forth to designate a national flower. In 1965, Everett Dirksen, statesman from Illinois introduced senate joint resolution 19 which would designate the American Marigold as our National Floral Emblem. Apparently, it did not gather much steam, and in 1967 was put forth again with a recommendation that it again be sent to the committee of the judiciary for implementation. In his remarks, he sets the marigold on a high pedestal. “It is as sprightly as the daffodil, as colorful as the rose, as resolute as the zinnia, as delicate as the carnation, as haughty as the chrysanthemum, as aggressive as the petunia, as ubiquitous as the violet, and as stately as the snapdragon. It beguiles the senses and ennobles the spirit of man. It is the delight of the amateur gardener and a constant challenge to the professional.” Alas, the resolution never passed.


Peggy Martin & Francis Meilland

I think I can state with total honesty, that I have never been as beguiled by the marigold, as I have been the rose. The rose to me, is a true reflection of our national spirit. Growing roses takes time and knowledge and they are not the easiest flower to grow, just as our nation was not formed with ease. But was formed by the blood and sweat of willing men and women who were yearning for a “more perfect union”. Just as the nation stands as a beacon of hope, so does the wonderful magical rose. Hope for a sweetheart who embraces a bouquet and the promise it brings. Hope for the aged as they receive roses from a stranger and hope for an aspiring gardener who enjoys the flush of a spring bloom. Hope for all humanity……..

Below is the text of Resolution 5574 which designates the rose as our National Floral Emblem. It inspired me. I hope it will do the same for you! Now is the time to plan for Spring planting! Order roses early…..



Photo Credit: American Rose Society

PROC. NO. 5574.




Proc. No. 5574, Nov. 20, 1986, 51 F.R. 42197, provided:

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 proofs 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 [Pub. L. 99-449, now this section], 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.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eleventh.

Ronald Reagan.


About Chris VanCleave - America's Favorite Rose Gardener

Christopher R. VanCleave – America’s Favorite Rose Gardener Nicknamed "The Redneck Rosarian”, Chris VanCleave is passionate about gardening and growing roses. He is an active member of the Birmingham chapter of the American Rose Society, serving two terms as President. In 2007, he created the Rose Chat Podcast which has reached over a half a million listeners with news and information on growing on growing the world’s most beloved flower, the rose. He was a contributor to the 2015 Southern Living Gardening Book, has appeared on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television show and was featured in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine. Locally, Chris serves as Chairman of the Helena Alabama Beautification Board where he has spearheaded efforts to create a sustainable landscape in one of the top one hundred places to live in the United States. His writing is seen at and on his popular website;, where he chronicles his gardening adventures and explores an intrinsic mix of life, faith and gardening. An agent of change with over 20 years’ experience in process innovation, Mr. VanCleave is leading the charge to reinvigorate horticultural societies and helping them to reach their full potential in the social media age.
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4 Responses to How The Rose Became Our National Flower

  1. Reblogged this on Ever-Blooming Roses and commented:
    A little history lesson on how the rose became our national flower.


  2. revec2015 says:

    Thank you for this – the rose is Queen of June and of our hearts. For ages the rose has been a spiritual symbol of the soul and of Divine Love. That is why we are unconsciously drawn to them.
    Their beauty emanates the energy of heaven, each variety in its own way.


  3. When you name your business A Reverence For Roses Inc, I think you know where my wife and I stand.
    Don Rogers


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