Yet another possibility: what if we decide that the rose itself is a sign for something beyond it? So, representing the rose properly means to represent what the rose represents.
Maybe representing the rose means to show what the rose means, not what the rose is.
And so, the meaning of the rose might be beauty, and a proper imitation of it would be to show something completely different, but also beautiful. A beautiful woman, perhaps.
Have we imitated the rose under these conditions, by showing the essence of roseness as seen in a beautiful woman? We do this in literature all the time – we use metaphors and similes in poems to evoke what a rose evokes.