The Hildesheim Rose

Hildesheim Rose

I heard it all the time that the rose is difficult to grow and yet the Hildesheim Rose is estimated at approximately 1,000 years old. It is said to be the oldest rosebush in the world.  It is the one climbing the wall of the apse of the Cathedral of Hildesheim in their courtyard at Hildesheim, Germany. It is a symbol of the city of Hildesheim and its prosperity. According to the legend, as long as the rose keeps blooming, Hildesheim will not decline. During World War II in 1945 allied bombers destroyed the cathedral yet the rose not only survived the bomb attacks but it grew new shoots just a few weeks later and soon was growing strong as ever.   It has withstood war, drought, pestilence and poison gas to bloom serenely every summer against the Cathedral wall.

There are several mythical explanations of the origin of this rose.  The most appealing story is that of Emperor Louis who became separated from his men while out hunting for deer.  Night was falling and the snow was blowing fiercely about him as he hung his crucifix on a thorn tree, knelt and prayed for help.  Worn out from his exertion he curled up in the snow and slept.  The next morning he awoke to find his crucifix hanging from a rose tree in full bloom.  And through the leafless forest he saw his companions walking toward him.  In thanksgiving he built a chapel on the spot.  The chapel grew in size until it became the great Cathedral of Hildesheim against which the rose still blooms.

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda, The Rose Lady

Author and Garden Writer