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  • Writer's picturePamela Poole

Charleston's Romantic Palmetto Roses - A Southern Thing

"If I had a rose for every time I thought of you, I'd be picking roses for a lifetime."

-Swedish Proverb

Most visitors to Charleston, SC will recognize the Palmetto Rose, sold at the historic Market and often by young vendors around the Battery. Charleston tradition says that Southern Belles would give their true loves a Palmetto Rose as a token to keep them safe from harm as they rode into battle. Handcrafted woven roses are still popular keepsakes that symbolize everlasting love, because the blooms remain beautiful without water. Palmetto Roses are skillfully created by hand, typically using four fronds from the Palmetto, the State Tree of South Carolina, which is also an emblem on the State flag. Since each leaf on the tree varies with a unique color and appearance, no two roses are ever exactly the same. The personal style of each craftsman creating the roses also makes them unique. One of the delights of the time we lived in Charleston and in our frequent visits "home" is when my husband and I walk around White Point Gardens at the Battery, where young vendors sell their palmetto rose handiwork. I keep my collection of palmetto roses out on a table at home all year to remind me of those wonderful strolls in the ocean breeze. Palmetto roses play a role in my novel about a young artist in Painter Place, where they are purchased twice during romantic walks on the Battery. In the story, the blooms represent passion and everlasting love. You can learn more about how Charleston's palmetto roses are made by hand in this video.

If you like to color for relaxation, please enjoy this free download of my coloring page Palmetto Roses. (Photo and coloring page credit are copyright of Pamela Poole)

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