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old-fashioned heirlooms

On 24, Aug 2015 | No Comments | In plants, roses | By All Year Garden

When a cottage garden is well designed it makes you forget the planning that went into creating it and takes over by establishing new hierarchies, thriving on apparent randomness and developing a personality of its own. Read more…

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high maintenance roses

On 04, May 2015 | No Comments | In plants, roses, scents | By All Year Garden

Us hopeful rosarians have to admit that roses are not just another pretty flower. There is something very special and noble about them, the older they are the more rare and valued their flowers and often the more persnickety they get.

Here are some cultivars to test your rosarian mettle. Read more…

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tips for growing roses

On 20, Apr 2015 | No Comments | In advice, plants, roses | By All Year Garden

I learned the most important facts about roses from my grandfather and they go like this:

Roses are not fussy plants, if they have full sun exposure they will put up with conditions that few perennials can withstand: drought, heavy soils, extreme temperatures on both sides of the spectrum and even salty water. Read more…

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rose breeding

On 10, Jun 2014 | No Comments | In plants, roses | By All Year Garden

For rose aficionados the really creative work happens during rose breeding. The process of creating new roses is lengthy and the success rate is very low, but if you are a daring gardener, it goes something like this. Read more…

keeping roses healthy

On 10, Jun 2014 | No Comments | In plants, roses | By All Year Garden

Having healthy roses is more about prevention than it is about cure. Give the shrubs plenty of space to prevent moisture from sticking to their leaves, make sure they have at least six, preferably eight hours of full sun a day Read more…

chameleon, my lovely

On 07, May 2012 | No Comments | In roses | By All Year Garden

Oh, how I love this rose! When I bought it it bore the name “Unknown”. After having it in the garden for several years I started to understand that the growers couldn’t figure out which of its many faces was the real one. Every year it bears different blooms. If you don’t believe me, check out the second, the third and the fifth images in the roses’ slide show. Read more…

first rose of the year

On 03, May 2012 | No Comments | In roses | By All Year Garden

Roseraie de l’Hay was the first rose to bloom this year. Many more to come, though, by the number of buds waiting to open. All the rose bushes are absolutely covered in them, it looks like it’s going to be a very good year for roses, we’re having the June bloom in May. Read more…


On 03, Oct 2011 | No Comments | In roses | By All Year Garden

This rose looks almost unreal: perfect petals modestly unfolding to reveal every shade of pink. It’s called Cherries’n Cream and it is not supposed to bloom now. Read more…

peace rose

On 26, Sep 2011 | No Comments | In roses | By All Year Garden

One of the things I like most about this rose is that no two flowers are ever the same. Through the years I have seen a full range of warm pastels: the lightest butter, almost white petals with rose tinged edges, honey yellow, blush rose. Read more…

the incredible edible rose

On 22, May 2011 | No Comments | In roses | By All Year Garden

And the winner of the first rose to bloom this year award is….Hansa! This beautiful rugosa is an all year blessing to the garden: in spring it blooms profusely sporting pinkish purple flowers with a mixture of old rose and clove fragrance. Once the bloom fades, big round rose hips form. In the fall the foliage turns coppery orange and in the winter the ripe bright orange rose hips are quite striking against the snow.

Hansa is a cold weather rose, hardy to zone 3. It tends to dislike hot weather and does better in the northern regions, where it is extremely disease resistant. It is not a patented rose and you can get an entire flower bed worth of it over one winter. I started a cutting last fall and it rooted immediately. I couldn’t make an accurate assessment on the success rate for starting this rose from cuttings, but of all the roses I tried this was the one that seemed to root effortlessly. For additional information about how to start roses from cuttings, see the “Take Rose Cuttings” article.

Like all rugosas it has a wide and kind of unruly growth habit perfect for filling an empty spot at the back of a sunny border. It grows 5 to 7 feet tall, so make sure to plant it in a location where that would be a feature.

As you probably know, roses are cousins with apples, plums and raspberries, and definitely edible. The rose hips are a rich source of vitamin C and have a pleasant tart tangy flavor, reminiscent of cranberries. They can not be eaten raw, because the rose seeds are imbedded in a thick mat of itchy fiberglass like filaments, but the fruit can be boiled and strained and used in syrups, jellies and teas. The strained fruit pulp and juice mixed with honey makes for a delicious breakfast treat.

The coloring of rose hip jam (bright jewel red or orange) and its tartness makes it a prime ingredient for dessert baking. It is particularly decorative in pastries with many thin layers or as a healthy and natural coloring for frosting. Here is the recipe:

Rose Hip Jam

– 1 lb of prepared rose hips

– 1 cup of water

– 3 1/2 cups of sugar

Prepare the rose hips by cutting them across and scooping out the seeds and filaments. Wash them well and set them to simmer with one cup of water for at least 20 minutes, until they are very soft. Press the mixture through a very thick sieve and/or a cheesecloth.

Add about 3 1/2 cups of sugar to 1 lb of rose hip pulp and simmer as you would any jam to obtain the proper consistency ( the jam needs to thicken until a droplet dropped on a cold plate keeps its shape).

Let it cool down, pour into sterilized jars and enjoy.