Rose Cuttings – March, 2012
Rose: Herb of the Year 2012
Rose hips, the fruits of the rose, have a vital place in the history of medicine. Photo courtesy of Mike Shoup.
Roses, though they are woody shrubs and vines, are also classified as herbs. Herbs have the unusual definition of simply being “useful” plants. Organically grown flowers of roses can be used to make vinegars and jellies or simply can be tossed into salads. As we know, the most fragrant varieties are used to make perfumes, while the rose hips are full of vitamin C, making them an ideal ingredient for teas.
This traditional usage began prior to the time of Christ. Roses were seldom used as landscape plants or for ornamentation. Because of their fragrance, they were thought to have healing qualities and thus were made into apothecary products. We sometimes forget that elaborate soaps and antiseptics were yet to be created, so offensive smells accumulated where people lived and gathered. Attempting to screen these odors, people collected items with overpowering, yet pleasant, aromas. Roses, herbs, and sweet-smelling leaves and flowers were among the first items used to make these early potpourris. Incense was made by burning oily leaved herbs, and flowers took these aromas a step further, creating an environment of thick, pungent smoke.
So this year we recognize roses for their deep-rooted history of being useful as well as beautiful!
About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. Visit his company’s Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses. To order roses online, visit www.weAREroses.com.