Do you think faded roses are beautiful?

Faded roses

A few years ago, I would not have considered this picture to convey beauty simply because the roses are a day or so (plus a rain shower) past their prime. The flowers are over, spent, no longer worthy subjects. I wouldn’t have taken the picture, let alone posted it on my blog.

Learning to see like a photographer has loosened me up. If I was a more talented photographer, I’m confident I could find beauty in anything.

You may agree with the old me, or the new me, but no matter what the consensus there’s no way this shot would be selected to sell this variety of rose today on a plant label or in a rose catalogue.

I won’t say it could never be used because our ideas of commercial beauty might change. Now wouldn’t that be interesting?

The petals of the lowest rose in the cluster are just loosely hanging on till the next rough breeze shakes the stem and bounces them off. Yet this is the bloom that most attracts me in the shot, the one that keeps pulling my eyes back to it.

I’ve felt roses like this so often when deadheading that my mind can touch it, even though my fingers can’t. The petals are limp, slightly moist, clingy. I can read the future in the angle of the petals. If they hadn’t been caught in a shower and were dryer, this is rose susurrus in the making.

It’s about time I started to open up to a wider range of beauty in flowers and stopped demanding perfection.

I often say that I enjoy the soft, warm beauty in old people’s faces just as much – perhaps even more than – the ordinary beauty of youth. That’s my idea of a blessing. The easier it is for us to see beauty, the richer our lives will be.


54 Replies to “Do you think faded roses are beautiful?”

  1. I just had a flashback to a song which was the theme of the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli movie of “Romeo and Juliet” —
    “What is a youth? Impetuous fire.
    What is a maid? Ice and desire.
    The world wags on,
    A rose will bloom….
    It then will fade:
    so does a youth,
    so does the fairest maid.”

    I was 15. Thanks for the memory!

    1. It’s funny how a picture or something we read can trigger a memory. The idea of roses in general always takes me back to my Mama’s small, triangular rose garden. There was a path around it and it always seemed like a special place. Many of the roses had scents – they all seemed to tower above me as a child.

  2. As much as I love fresh flowers and photos of them, I also really love this kind of photo! The colors are luxurious and a photo like this would not deter me from buying roses, knowing that they would “die” beautifully.

  3. I love roses, no matter the stage their and colours. Your thoughts on the rose about to fall reminds me of one that used to stand in a garden where nothing else grew. It appeared like magic, grew strong and tall without tending, and endured two violent storms before finally succumbing to the third. I always marveled at it. Thanks for reminding me how special roses are 🙂 These are beautiful and look like they smell heavenly!

    1. Thanks for sharing your story. It sounds like the one you remember might have been a shrub rose. Roses can be much tougher than we’re led to believe – especially shrubs.

      1. Thanks! I’ve always wished I could identify flowers better:) I had a friend who and learned a lot from her, but there’s still a lot to know. Shrub roses, are they best for drier parts of the country too?

  4. I feel life and beauty are related. Young children are full of life and hence full of beauty. Old people might have the grace which comes with experience and wisdom but beauty is something which is more related to life. This proves: life is beautiful but life is not opposite of death(birth is!)

    Thanks for sharing your ideas with us,


    1. I think it’s easier to connect beauty with age as we get older ourselves. Life might not bubble on the surface quite so much in older people, but it’s there all the same. I’ve had lots of profound responses to this post and have really enjoyed reading so many different perspectives. Thanks for sharing yours!

  5. Flowers fading are part of the natural cycle. Nature is beautiful in itself. You are right that people expect perfection. What about the ugly mishaped fruit and veg they won’t sell in the supermarket because it’s not uniform! A shame really as I think they’re rather endearing. Not to mention a complete waste of perfectly good food. X

    1. That’s a very good point. My sweetheart often buys marked and (to my mind) over-ripe fruit because he says if he doesn’t buy it, nobody will. I need to think about this more myself. It’s not that I want perfectly shaped fruit, I just like it to start off basically sound when I buy it in case I don’t get round to eating it right away.

  6. I would not have seen your photo as being passed their prime. It did make me think about how I have often been drawn to dried flowers, which obviously show a side of floral life which does not reflect the once vibrant living plant, yet carries a quiet beauty.

    1. I used to be very picky about roses (for professional reasons) – I’m so glad I’ve managed to loosen up because now I know what you mean! I love dried flowers too, especially hydrangeas, but I rarely seem to see them.

      1. Have you dried your own flowers? My mother used to have several dried ‘bouquets’ around her room, and also potpourri bundles with rose petals and lavender. The lavender has been really amazing in her room, now mine, in the process of being redone, and has kept the scent.

        1. Mum grows lavender and dries bunches each year. I’ve tried hydrangeas but I’m not having much luck getting flowers, let alone drying them!

          1. Are hydrangeas not available in your area? Would they be able to grow well on your property? I hope you find some. I looked at some pictures of them, and they are beautiful!

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