A Poet Visits the Museum of Fine Arts – The Rose in Modern Culture

The Rose in Modern Culture — The rose has been important as a symbol and decorative object in religion, poetry, art, literature, music, medicine, fashion, perfume, home decoration, cuisine, and of course, gardens over many centuries. In the modern age, these most beautiful flowers have also found new forms of cultural expression. We have used, celebrated, and engaged with the rose in new ways through modern literature and in pop culture — in cartoons, movies, and pop music — as well as symbolically in public events and politics. And we still celebrate the rose through fashion, tattoos, paintings, and sculptures.


Peter E. Kukielski led the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden as Curator and Senior Advisor through 2013. Currently, he is a garden designer for various gardens across the northeast.

Peter led the Northeast Earth-Kind® trials and was a national speaker for the Earth-Kind® movement. Peter also led the creation of the new American Rose Trials for Sustainability™ (A.R.T.S.™) – rose trials launched in 2014 to determine the best roses for the American gardener based on scientific results and regionality. Peter designed the new rose collection at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, Ontario, which opened in 2018.

Peter has two books, “Roses without Chemicals” by Timber Press and, “ROSA, the story of the rose” by Yale University Press, which recently won a Literary Award from the World Federation of Rose Societies.