The Legend of the Milford Rose

Posted by Brigid McHugh

As you may or may not know, Kilted Suds is releasing a soap this April called Milford Rose. The soap itself was created using the Milford Rose plant from Milford, Pennsylvania. The flowers were removed while they were in bloom, and were then infused into oil, essential oil was extracted, and tea was made from the petals and water. These three special ingredients were all used to create a truly unique bar of soap, that smells faintly of the Milford Rose. The Milford Rose itself holds a rich history, and the story is one I feel must be shared!

 

The Legend of the Milford Rose

Beginnings in France

Chateau de Malmaison is a French chateau near the western bank of the Seine. It is situated about 9 miles from the center of Paris, France. In April of 1799, Joséphine de Beauhamais bought the home for herself and her husband, General Napoleon Bonaparte. When Joséphine purchased the manor, it was a very run-down estate. She made it her mission to renovate the home, although Napoleon was livid with her for spending such a fortune on the home and renovations.

Joséphine had plans to turn the estate into "the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe, a model of good cultivation". She spent years finding rare and exotic plants and animals to enhance the gardens. Joséphine once wrote: "I wish that Malmaison may soon become the source of riches for all [of France]". Thanks to her dedication to the gardens, Chateau de Malmaison gained fame for its eclectic rose garden. Joséphine's collection of roses numbered around 250 varieties, including plants from all over the world, even her birthplace, Martinique. The vast collection of roses were documented by Belgian artist Pierre-Joseph Redoute. Prints of his original illustrations can still be purchased today.

Journey to America 

Cyril Constantine Desire Pinchot (born 1797 in France, died 1874 in Milford, Pennsylvania) was a soldier of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the great-grandfather of Gifford Pinchot. He was driven to leave France in 1816 after the Batle of Waterloo, and the restoration of the Bourbons. It is believed that the "Rose of Grasse", as named by Redoute in his illustrations, may no longer exist in France, however that the Milford Rose was likely brought across the ocean by French immigrants who came to America at the same time as Constantine and his family.

Rose of Grasse Comes to Milford

A grandson of Constantine, Edgar Pinchot (1826-1900) left his birthplace of Milford, PA to study and work in Manhattan. The Legend goes that before he returned home to Milford, his hostess gave him a cutting of the Rose of Grasse, a plant that grew in her own New York garden. The cutting was then planted at the first Pinchot family home in Milford, PA, which is now the Milford Community House. After being planted in Milford in 1838, the plant flourished, and cuttings were gifted to many other Milford families and locations.

Edgar Pinchot Obituary

More Recent History & How We Got Ours

The Milford Rose, as it is now locally known, can still be found in the historic town of Milford, Pennsylvania. The Milford Garden Club uses the Milford Rose as its emblem, proclaiming it as a "symbol of strength, tenacity, beauty, and generosity".

Milford Rose, Rose of Grasse

Many years ago, a now deceased resident of Milford, PA, gave a cutting of her own Milford Rose plant to the family of a Kilted Suds patron. This cutting has since grown and is alive and thriving! We have the honor of harvesting the flowers from this plant each year when they bloom.

How Many Roses Does It Take?

Our Milford Rose Soap smells only faintly of roses. The rose bush is stripped of all of its flowers once they are in full bloom. Many wonder why the soap does not smell more fragrantly, when so many roses are used.

Here's why:

It takes about 60,000 roses to make one ounce of rose essential oil. For a small batch of our soap, with a somewhat strong fragrance, we at Kilted Suds would need to process 240,000 roses (or about 720 pounds)!!!

Milford Rose Soap Will Be Available for Purchase 4/1/2019

 

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