Roses are the queen of flowers. They symbolize beauty, perfection and love in flower. They have their unchanging place in Christianity as attributes of the Virgin Mary and also appear on the coats of arms of many families and cities. As if destiny predestined everything for me – I come from the Moravian royal city, which has a light pink rose in its emblem. These flowers have surrounded me all my life. Starting with a very old shrub in my grandmother’s yard, through planting roses in the garden of our house in the Czech Republic and ending with a rose garden surrounding our current home.
Bulgarian Damascena rose from Kazanlak
Simply life begins and ends with roses. Proud fathers bring them to maternity hospitals, we congratulate them on their birthdays and create condolence wreaths at the end of their lives. In the world today we can count about 12-30 thousand bred cultivars. My favorite is the so-called The rose from Kazanlak (Rosa damascena mill). This traditional Bulgarian variety is grown in a 120 km long strip called The Rose Valley, which territorially overlaps with the Valley of the Thracian Kings, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a magical place from which the intoxicating scent of millions of blooming flowers emanates about one month a year. You won’t run away from that scent, it’s everywhere! Too bad he hasn’t figured out a way to pass the scent online yet!
Harvesting in the Rose Valley
Visiting the Rose Valley during his harvest season was my big dream. One does not know which is more beautiful! Whether the sight of an infinite number of light rose flower heads or the unreal scent surrounding their fields or the mountain range stretching along them. It is the Central Mountains and the vast “Stara Planina” that create a specific climate suitable for growing roses. The local unique variety produces the highest quality rose oil in the world, which is used in the production of world-famous perfumes and their cosmetic lines (Elizabeth Arden, Kenzo, Channel, Bulgari, Paco Rabanne, Еstee Lauder, Dior) and, last but not least, natural cosmetics. Every year, 95% of the total 2,000 tons of “liquid gold” goes directly to export. A large number of human hands and loving care are required before reaching the final oil. Yes, the flowers are collected by hand after sunrise, when they are still sprinkled with morning dew and their petals contain the highest amount of essential oils (0.02-0.04%, exceptionally up to 0.09%). And the proof that a really large workforce is needed is a simple equation of about 3000 kg of flowers distilling off “only” 1 kg of valuable oil.