Roses were used to make an enormous variety of products from eye ointments to scented rosary beads, biscuits, and candies. Towns wives and rural peasants treasured roses. They moved gradually from utilitarian purposes to homeopathic medicine, perfume, and cookery, to being cultural symbols and objects of beauty. Now more than ever they are valued for their beauty and ease with which they grow. Empress Josephine is reported to have played a leading role in popularizing roses.
The middle classes ensured roses became the principal flower in the garden, indoor decoration, and exhibitions. America adopted roses as their mainstay of their gardens. The peak point of roses is during the 19th century. David Austin's introduction to "English roses" in 1961 has created an increasing interest in roses once again.