Tennessee History & Culture Of The Rose

state shape flag for history & culture of the rose in Tennessee

The rose has been an integral part of the history and culture of Tennessee for centuries. The state’s rich soil and favorable climate have made it an ideal location for cultivating a wide variety of roses. From the iconic yellow roses of the women’s suffrage movement to the wild roses that grow throughout the state, Tennessee has a long and fascinating history with these beautiful flowers.

The history of roses in Tennessee dates back to the early 1800s when settlers began planting them in their gardens. By the mid-1800s, roses had become a popular ornamental plant, and they were often used to adorn homes and public spaces. Over time, rose cultivation became a major industry in Tennessee, with many nurseries and growers specializing in different varieties of roses.

Today, Tennessee is home to a diverse range of roses, from the classic hybrid tea roses to the hardy wild roses that grow throughout the state. Whether you’re a gardener looking to cultivate your roses or simply interested in learning more about the history and culture of this beloved flower, Tennessee has a wealth of resources and information available.

Historical Roots

Roses have been a significant part of Tennessee’s history and culture for many years. The state’s love affair with roses dates back to the early 1800s when the first rose gardens were established. These gardens were often found in the yards of wealthy landowners and were used to showcase their wealth and status.

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, roses became more accessible to the general public, and their popularity grew. People began to plant roses in their gardens, and local nurseries started to sell them. By the 1920s, roses had become so popular that the state legislature declared the Iris and the Tennessee Rose as the official state flowers.

Today, Tennessee is home to many beautiful rose gardens, including the Cheekwood Estate and Gardens in Nashville, which has over 60 roses of all types and colors. The Tennessee Rose Society hosts an annual rose show that attracts visitors from all over the country. The state is also home to six other rose societies namely:

The state also has several public rose gardens, including the Memphis Botanic Garden and the UT Gardens in Knoxville.

Cultural Significance

Roses have been a significant part of Tennessee’s culture for many years. They have been used in various ways, including as symbols of love, friendship, and appreciation. The state flower of Tennessee is the Iris, but roses are still a popular flower in the state.

In the early 1900s, the women’s suffrage movement used yellow roses to show support for women’s right to vote, while anti-suffragists donned red roses to show their opposition to the movement. This became known as the “war of the roses” in Tennessee. Today, the yellow rose is still used as a symbol of women’s rights and is often worn during Women’s History Month in March.

In addition to their political significance, roses also play a role in Tennessee’s economy. The state is home to several rose nurseries and gardens, including the Cheekwood Estate & Gardens in Nashville. The rose industry in Tennessee contributes significantly to the state’s economy, providing jobs and income for many residents.

Roses are also a popular gift in Tennessee, especially during Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Many florists and gift shops in the state offer a variety of rose arrangements, including red roses, which are a popular symbol of love and affection.

Economic Impact

Tennessee is home to a thriving rose industry that contributes significantly to the state’s economy. The state’s favorable climate and fertile soil provide ideal conditions for growing roses. As a result, Tennessee is one of the top rose-producing states in the country.

According to the Tennessee Rose Society, there are over 100 rose varieties grown in the state. The most popular varieties include hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, and miniatures. These roses are grown for both commercial and personal use.

The rose industry in Tennessee generates significant revenue for the state. Additionally, the industry provides employment opportunities for thousands of Tennesseans.

The rose industry in Tennessee is not without its challenges, however. Pests and diseases can significantly impact rose production and quality. To combat these challenges, rose growers in the state use various pest management techniques and follow strict disease prevention protocols.

Overall, the rose economy in Tennessee is a vital component of the state’s agriculture industry. With favorable growing conditions, a wide variety of rose varieties, and a strong market demand, the industry is poised for continued growth and success in the years to come.

Artistic & Literary Influence

Roses have been a significant symbol in Tennessee art and literature for decades. One of the most famous literary works that uses roses as a symbol is the poem “In the Heart of a Rose” by George Marion McClellan. The poem uses the rose as an expression of hidden love. On another hand, Lucy Virginia French has written “The Forest Rose” which is one of her famous works. These literary pieces showcase the importance of roses in Tennessee literature and how it has been used as a symbol of love and beauty.

In addition to literature, roses have also been a significant part of Tennessee art. Many artists have used roses as a subject in their paintings, sculptures, and other forms of art. At Frist Art Museum’s Demonbreun Street entrance, one can find huge a rose statue which is more famous as Rose on 65th Street. It was made by Will Ryman to inspire viewers to imagine the world as if living in Alice in Wonderland.

Overall, roses have played a significant role in Tennessee art and literature. The use of roses as a symbol has helped to convey emotions and messages in a beautiful and meaningful way. Surely, roses have left an indelible mark on Tennessee’s history and culture.


Roses have played a significant role in Tennessee’s history and culture, and their popularity continues to grow. Whether used to showcase wealth and status or to beautify public spaces, roses remain an essential part of the state’s identity. Overall, they continue to be a beloved flower in the state, with their beauty and symbolism appreciated by many.

state shape flag for history & culture of the rose in Tennessee


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