Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Picking Rose Petals

June roses are now in full bloom. So, who can resist gathering their pretty petals for potpourri especially on the clearest and sunniest of days this month?  These in the front of the house are carpet and knockout roses so they don't have much scent but they called out my name each time I passed them and by early afternoon, after the dew had evaporated, I found myself clipping and trimming among the buzzing bees.

I spread them thinly over an old screen for quick drying and then moved the screen into deep shade for the afternoon, keeping the petals out of the sun.  Then I'll move them into the dark garage later in the day in order to help retain their color.  It's good to know that if any flowers and herbs cut for drying are too wet, it will take them too long to dry and they may mildew while exposure to direct sun for too long will encourage them to fade even more. So, be mindful where you put your picked favorites for drying and using later.

If you are lucky enough to have varieties of old-fashioned roses on your property, then you know the value of those such as damask, bourbon and cabbage roses whose strong, sweet, musky scents can fill their surroundings with heady and intoxicating aromas. Several years ago, I bought a true apothecary rose bush (Rosa Gallica officinalis), an old-fashioned variety that has been around since the 14th Century.  The apothecary rose that is in my yard isn't exactly that old however, it has somehow survived the devil deer who judiciously pick the petals and leaves around it's large and imposing thorns for an extra special sweet dessert.  It's always a race to beat the deer in gathering the petals off of this very fragrant plant.

In a few weeks, it will be time to go back and harvest rose hips left after all of the petals have fallen off. Hips are another gift the rose bushes leave as a token of their grace and beauty and make wonderful additions to potpourri as well.  I really love this month called June.  So many gifts from the garden to behold and use.

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