Of all the British Wild Flowers, there is none that epitomises the advent of Summer more than the wild rose. Maybe honeysuckle comes a close second - and the combined scent of both on a warm Summer's evening makes any walk worthwhile.
The honeysuckle is well in bud. A few warm days and it will be in full burst. But the wild rose is just coming out in sheltered places.
I have two old wildflower books with illustrated plates and archaic text. They were bought me for my birthday - I can remember the joy with which they were received. I was nine years old and mad on collecting the names of wildflowers.
Exactly why it is called the dog-rose (rosa canina) is hard to tell. I wonder if it is because whoever named it thought it was the "poor relation" of the cultivated rose. because the adjectival use of "dog" seems always to suggest something that is not quite right, too common (as in dog-latin for example). In French it is le rose de chien and in German hund-rose. I see that my old book says that "dog" probably means "worthless".
Well. I can tell you that this is not so. It is the most beautiful, simple flower - delicate pink and with a delightfully subtle scent. Sometimes it forms a bush and sometimes it goes mad climbing up a hedgerow or tree. And then - when all the flowers have gone - it surprises us with a wealth of startlingly red hips. It is without a doubt, my favourite wild flower and I post today a photograph of the first one I have found this year, together with a photograph of the illustrated plate in my book. Three cheers for the very English Wild Rose.