Roses, with their many layers of fragrant, velvet petals, are the most cherished and popular flowers of all times.

There are hundreds of types and varieties of roses available as cut flowers and for growing.

Some types are a) the traditional tea rose, which is most popular as a florist flower with medium to large well-formed blooms and long stems; b) the old-fashioned types, such as the cabbagehead roses or English roses, which are more delicate and fragrant than the commercial roses; c) the miniature rose, only about one inch across; and d) the spray rose, which consists of several branching small blossoms per stem.

NAMES: Rose, Rosa.

VARIETIES: There are hundreds of types of roses available.

COLORS: Available in most shades and colors, except no true blue. Varieties can be two-tone, multicolored, striped, etc.

SCENT: Traditionally thought to have a wonderful scent, most varieties available as cut flowers have no scent at all. Most of the garden roses or old-fashioned varieties have a wonderful fragrance, ranging from sweet to intense.

FRESHNESS: Purchase or cut when the outer petals are just beginning to unfold. The middle of the rose should be slightly firm to the touch, with a closed swirl of petals.

VASE LIFE: 5 days or longer. The old-fashioned varieties have a shorter vase life.

AVAILABILITY: All year for tea roses. Summer is the season for the old-fashioned garden varieties.

COST: Most varieties—moderately priced to moderately expensive. Garden roses—expensive to very expensive.

MEANING: Red is for love, pink is for happiness, white is for silence or innocence, yellow is for jealously.