A Rose In Bloom

Galston, Glenorie and Hills Rural News - - News - BY MARY AT HER­ITAGE HAVEN

Through­out tem­per­ate parts of the world, roses are es­teemed for their fra­grance and beauty. Long con­sid­ered a sym­bol for love, the mod­ern hy­brid roses hold pride of place in flo­ral ar­range­ments. For the herb gar­dener though, the old fash­ioned rose is the ul­ti­mate herb, favoured for its deep fra­grance, fla­vor in foods, medic­i­nal prop­er­ties and use­ful­ness in cos­met­ics. The flow­er­ing of old shrub roses is lav­ish and spread over a sea­son. The many-petalled roses are coloured white and pink, through to ma­genta and deep pur­ple: they are rounder and more flat than mod­ern roses, yet, pro­fuse with thin to medium-thin petals. Most roses that are not picked will bloom again in au­tumn with scar­let rose hips, tangy but full of vi­ta­min C.

To dis­cover the ex­u­ber­ance of fra­grant old roses, seek out those clas­si­fied as Da­masks, Bour­bons, Cen­tifo­lias, Gal­li­cas and Ru­gosas. Plant them in moderately rich soil, then water and mulch to en­cour­age deep root growth and to con­serve mois­ture. Old-fash­ioned roses are re­mark­ably re­sis­tant to dis­ease and if not sprayed with in­sec­ti­cides can be en­joyed herbally in pot­pourri and for cos­met­ics, or culi­nary pur­poses.

Since an­cient Ro­man times, rose petals have been pounded into con­serves, steeped in honey and wine, or made into fine syrups and cor­dials. Can­died with egg white and a sprin­kling of sugar, rose petals be­come a del­i­cate nib­ble to end a meal. En­joy the clear dis­tilled essence of Rose water, to fla­vor thin but­ter bis­cuits or Turk­ish de­light. Stir fra­grant rose petals through a com­pote of sum­mer fruits or sprin­kle them be­neath a white cake bat­ter be­fore bak­ing.

If the thought of rose pot­pour­ris or flo­ral craft fails to en­thuse, go out and “smell the roses” for the mere fra­grance of roses is sup­posed to make you feel “well-bal­anced”.

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