Part of my plot goal is to achieve a high percentage of ‘usable’ plants – whether that be for herbal, medicinal or culinary use. I’m trying to avoid having plants there simply because they ‘look good’ – everything must be there for a usable reason. Roses fit the bill perfectly – they not only look good, but have a multitude of uses too.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of flowers – I can appreciate them, but I don’t love them. That makes the ‘must have a use’ challenge a little easier. I do however appreciate that some flowers can transform a plot and make it more pleasurable.
Roses are generally an impressive way of getting colour onto the plot, but they’re also very robust and don’t need a huge amount of care and attention. The fact they’re perennial is a bonus too.
Uses for Roses
Growing up, I adored turkish delight – whether that be the powdered variety, or the chocolate-covered confectionary. As a diabetic, they’re both off-limits to me now – but I miss the taste as a treat. On a whim, I recently purchased a bottle of Rose Water. I found adding some of this to a sugar free hot chocolate instantly brought back that turkish delight taste – it was certainly enough to satisfy my craving. I’ll be experimenting with other recipes soon, to see what else I can do.
In my never-ending goal to be as self-sufficient as possible, I’ve therefore added roses to my planting list. This will not only add some welcome colour and structure to the plot, but also allow me to make my own rose water. With hopefully an abundant supply, I will also try a few other uses too.
There are a huge number of varieties of Rose, and all are edible – though the flavour and intensity will vary greatly. I plan to add some to the ‘flower garden’ alongside the shed. However most will be climbing varieties that I can have growing over arches. This approach will hopefully add more ‘permanent’ structure, and minimises the ground space used.
What else can you do with Roses?
Aside from the aforementioned Rose Water, here are a few other things they can be used for;
Rosehip – A rosehip syrup was given to all children during the second world war. When fresh it’s a valuable source of Vitamin C. It’s used to treat colds and flu, and a whole host of other conditions.
Rose Tea – A fragrant and refreshing green tea can be made simply by steeping dried rose hips or petals in hot water.
Rose Infusions – If tea isn’t your thing, mildly crushed rose petals can be added to juices, lemonade or alcoholic beverages to add extra flavour.
Salads – A few fresh petals added to a green salad add some subtle flavour and colour.
Rose Butter – Chopped up petals mixed with softened butter is supposedly delicious served on crackers or muffins.
Skin Treatment – Crushed petals mixed with a carrier oil can make a wonderful skin treatment or massage oil. Roses are claimed to be great for soothing pain, easing nerves and treating eczema.
Roses definitely fit the ‘usable’ criteria! I haven’t yet decided which varieties to plant – and with such a large choice, it may take me a while!