The Red Rose Of Lancaster

This ancient red rose, also known as the Red Rose Of Lancashire, is believed to be "Rosa Gallica Officialis", which was understood to be the first cultivated rose. It grew wild in central Asia and was discovered by the Persians and Egyptians. The Romans adopted it and took it to France, where it assumed the name of Rosa Gallica. It Rata Penuhis recorded as being cultivated for the courts of Charlemagne in the ninth Century AD for use in medicine and perfume. Other names have included Apothecary's Rose, Old Red Damask and Rose Of Provins. To our eyes it actually appears more bright pink than red, with bright yellow stamens in the centre. They are highly perfumed and their slightly ruffled petals, even when dried retain much of their scent. It is therefore no surprise that they quickly became popular for international trade, especially for their many herbal and medicinal remedies and their suitability, even today for using in potpourris. They have been just as attractive to bees as they have to ourselves. Their tough and hardy bushes grow to about a metre high and they provide masses of blooms towards the end of June and into July. They can thrive in impoverished soils and enjoy full sun. Although they lose their blooms relatively quickly, they certainly perform abundantly each year, after a session of pruning.

The first time the rose was adopted as an emblem or heraldic device was by the English first Earl Of Lancaster and it became the Lancashire Emblem after the Battle Of Bosworth Field in 1485 during the famous Wars Of The Roses. This was a time when signs and symbols spoke louder than words. When Henry Tudor ascended to the throne of England, it merged with the York White Rose to form the Tudor Rose. York and Lancashire were the two fighting factions during The Wars Of The Roses.

The Wars Of The Roses began in 1399 when Henry Bolingbroke, who was the Earl Of Lancaster, overthrew King Richard 11 from the English throne. It wasn't until Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 when Henry Tudor defeated the Yorkist leader King Richard 111 and claimed the throne, becoming Henry V11. He cemented his claim by marrying Elizabeth of York, the daughter of King Edward 1V. Thus the two houses of Lancaster and York merged, forming the Tudor Dynasty, which had it's emblem of the Tudor Rose.

In more recent times it was worn as a badge during World War 1 by the British 55th (West Lancashire) Division of the army. Their motto was "They win or die who wear the Rose Of Lancaster." It has also been adopted on the cap badge of the Duke Of Lancaster's Regiment since 2006. The American baseball team adopted the name Lancaster Red Roses in 1906, changing their name from The Maroons. Their rival team York White Roses criticized them for this, but many believed that the two teams were named after the historic Wars Of The Roses in British Tudor times.

Love of Life - Nature

To love the natural world of our environment is not difficult in view of the beauties and wonders that abound throughout our home planet. Whether we find a personal affinity with the earth, minerals, agriculture and other aspects of the material element or feel more drawn to the watery worlds of fishing, diving, sailing or aquaculture it is a matter of our own personality and inclinations. All the realms of nature can offer their own unique interest, to warrant our fascination and response of admiration and wonder, enough to maintain our lifelong focus on the exploration and enjoyment of the natural world around us.

The studies of one sphere or another is often associated with our activity of collecting samples. This was more evident in the 19C when collecting included such trophies as birds' eggs, insects and butterflies, and creatures of all kingdoms including animals from all over the far flung colonies of the times. With present understanding and greater sense of responsibility in not interfering with ecological systems this has been largely restricted to museums and research establishments rather than private collections. Public urge to collect natural specimens is discouraged and in many countries is illegal.

A new spirit of appreciation and preservation of natural life has been injected into the educational system of some countries and is applauded even though many scientists consider the effort comes too late to adjust the imbalances that material lifestyles have created through destruction of the environment and pollution problems. There are certainly wider issues beyond the personal activities and interests of individuals.

However, for the moment it is good to be aware of the unlimited range that Nature offers us to observe, to study and to respect as examples of the infinite variety of forms and energies that comprise the natural kingdoms for our hobbies, professional research or for our inspiration.

Many people and philosophies equate Nature with God and natural life as expressions of the cosmic consciousness. When considered synonymous then natural life is perceived as the outer garment of God as the poets, the Bible and many philosophers believe. Naturalists tend to agree that their religious nature finds easiest worship when focussed in the outdoors or in the wilderness rather than in man built churches and make their choices accordingly.

Our spiritual devotions are a private matter but it is clear that we need inspiration and best when we have a means of enhancing our appreciation of the wonders of natural life to avoid becoming imprisoned in the limitations of the man made world where material values dominate and the human ego establishes an artificial 'glass ceiling'.

When we are in direct contact with nature and natural life forms there is a light in the eyes - an eagerness and an innocence unequalled and perceived sometimes in those astronomers who study the stars, or in plant lovers in their gardens, or those who pursue the search for Nature's mysteries and secrets in the spheres of the earth, the air, the waters and the energies of fire. Whether it is by the instrument of the human eye alone or by microscope or telescope we are privileged to be able to perceive the natural wonders that abound.