Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Roses are Good for You

Rosa glauca or red-leaved rose hips.
As they mature and darken they look like Milk Duds.

Roses. The classic flower, the pinnacle of elegance, the expression of love. We fuss over them, nurture them, and sometimes kill them.

I've talked to many people who feel that roses are impossible to grow and that they are one of the delicate darlings of the plant world. I beg to differ.  Of course, you have the prima donna - the tea rose. Yes, tea roses can be a major hassle.  There are clubs and societies to help you with that addiction.

The roses that live in my yard need to be tough buggers. I yanked out the tea roses that came with the house years ago in favor of low maintenance, easy going shrub roses. I have a love affair with my New Dawn climbers and Stanwell Perpetual shrubs. My Nearly Wild is toughing it out despite the bunnies and occasional Japanese beetle. My Sea Foam is thriving and grew, er, six FEET despite being cut back to six inches this spring. My cute little white Meidiland and dark pink Hansa rugosa are getting established. Have I killed roses? You betcha. Par for the course. I keep planting them anyway.

Now that November has descended in all its grey misery, one thing lighting up my life are rose hips. I don't generally dead head mine. They don't need it, and I like having happy little rose hips for winter interest. Eventually the wildlife will eat them, so everyone wins! You can even make a refreshing tea with them if you are so inclined. Rugosa roses are a favorite for their large hips, but pretty much any of the varieties will work. Not every rose will form hips, but many of them do. You do have to let the flowers fade and the ovaries mature, so back off with the pruners. Try a rose! You just might like it.


  1. I like your take on growing roses! I agree completely. There are so many easy-to-grow, hardy varieties to choose from, so why waste time and frustrate yourself with ones not suited for your climate? I too Love those tea roses, but i steer clear of them, because I know in zone 5 most won't survive the winter.

    The rose hip tea is delicious, and so good for you! Full of vitamin C. Want some delicious recipes to make with that tea? How about Rose Hip Jam, or Rose Petal jelly? Visit: http://www.allaboutrosegardening.com/Rose-Recipes.html

  2. Thanks, Carol! I'm always torn between leaving hips on the plants for winter interest and gathering them for the kitchen. I guess I just need to plant more!