The Versatility of Roses.
To enjoy a display of ornamental roses hips as well as providing winter food for your garden birds, do not deadhead your roses.
Enjoy the versatility of roses: Some varieties of rose produce attractive fruits that appear in late summer and will last until winter, even longer in the case of some species. Instead of cutting off the dead flowers, gently pull off the entire corolla to remove the petals, leaving the core intact.
- This is difficult to do with ramblers and roses that form dense hedges. Remove the petals where you can, but elsewhere the hips will develop unaided.
- Roses with ornamental hips include species roses such as Rosa rugosa and several old roses such as ‘Fru Dagmar Hastrup’. Rosa pomifera produces hips shaped like small apples and Rosa glauca develops bright hips in bunches. Rosa moyesii produces very long hips shaped like plump bottles, which look attractive for months.
The sweet taste of roses: Although rose hips — the fruit of roses — are edible, they rarely feature in modern recipes. This is a shame because they are rich in vitamin C and have a pleasant, delicate taste.
- Make rose jelly and rose jam by picking the hips after the first frosts so that they are softer. Crush them in a vegetable mill and filter the pulp to remove the seeds and hairs. For each cup of rose hip pulp, add half a cup of sugar to the strained liquid. Cook and stir the mixture until it thickens, then pour into sterilised jars and seal them.
- Rose petals are also edible and can be used in salads, in desserts such as candied rose petals and rose sorbet and in savoury dishes such as lamb tajine and meatballs. Gather petals in the morning from newly opened, fragrant flowers.
- Rose hip tea, rich in vitamin C, is an age-old preventive for colds, made by infusing hips in boiling water for several minutes. Strain to remove the hairs and sweeten to taste.
Freshly cut flowers: Choose rosebuds that are about to open or blooms that opened the night before. Take fairly long stems and cut just above a bud that is about to regrow.
- Before cutting roses, assess the general appearance of the plant so that you avoid creating an unbalanced shape.
The right tool for a clean cut: Rose stems must be cut cleanly, not crushed. Use bypass secateurs, which give a very clean cut, in preference to a pair of anvil secateurs.
A long-lasting vase of roses: After cutting, strip off some of the lower eaves as they will rot in the water. Also remove the thorns as these small wounds will help the stems draw up more water.
- Keep roses looking good for an extra two days by helping them draw more water. Cut the stems at an angle or make a vertical cut in the base of each stem. If your roses are drooping, stand the stems in hot water for a few seconds.
- Do not stand the bouquet in direct sunlight, and top up the vase every day with a third of fresh water. Remove flowers as soon as they begin to fade.
- Some people add an aspirin to the water and swear that this keeps their roses fresher for longer.
An Old herbal remedy: Rosewater has soothing properties and is particularly effective in eye compresses. Make rosewater yourself by adding 500 grams of freshly picked rose petals to one litre of previously boiled, cooled spring water. Leave the liquid to infuse for three or four days in a covered container, filter, then pour into a stoppered glass bottle and keep it somewhere cool.
Name your own rose: If you are keen on hybridising your own roses and feel that you have created a new form that you would like to register and name, then contact the Royal National Rose Society in St Albans, Hertfordshire. They will grow the rose for three years on your behalf to ensure that it is stable and, if it is, they will then register it with the International Registration Authority for Roses and with the American Rose Society. They will also be able to advise you on obtaining a Plant Patent to protect your rights in your new rose, which is very useful if it becomes popular.