The rose is the most popular and best-loved garden flower in the world. It has been held in special and sacred regard for thousands of years and has been associated with heraldry, painting, music, myth and religion across the ages. Grown for its medicinal and culinary properties as well as for perfumery, the rose in ancient times formed an integral part of carnivals, festivals and the cosmetic industry, where attar of rose became so highly prized it was more expensive than gold. From the rose gardens of Malmaison belonging to Napoleon's Empress Josephine, to the Wars of the Roses, the rose has a fascinating history. Since the few known roses of the middle Ages, the curiosity of travelers, the patience of plantsmen and the diligence of botanists all contributed to bring together roses from every part of the globe, crossing and developing them to produce the thousands of different varieties seen today.