Celebrating the 2012 Herb of the Year: 5 Favorite Roses

| 6/11/2012 7:15:40 PM

n.heraud2You can check out the Lemon Verbena Lady at her blog Lemon Verbena Lady's Herb Garden.  

The weather in southwestern Pennsylvania has accelerated the bloom of my roses, the 2012 Herb of the Year. So I need to show you some of my favorites. Remember all rose varieties are edible. There are some roses that taste better than others. If it has a white heel on the tip of the rose petal, you might have to cut that off because it might be bitter. Do not eat florist’s roses. Instead make them into potpourri. Here are a couple of potpourri recipes using rose petals from The Herb Companion archives. The majority of florist’s roses come from South America and they most likely are sprayed with a chemical that we have banned here. Eat roses that you have grown yourself organically or ones that you know have been grown by other organic growers. Here are five of my favorites that I grow in my garden.

My favorite edible rose is Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’. It is simply delicious. Because I moved it around until I found the perfect spot, it took three years to bloom! Sometimes I drive myself crazy, herbally speaking. Here it is several weeks ago in May. What makes a rugosa so great is that it is hardy for practically everyone in the U.S. It is very tough and yet the beautiful flowers are very delicate. It is native to eastern Asia and in northeastern China, Japan, Korea and southeastern Siberia, where it grows on the coast, often on sand dunes. So you can grow this rose at the beach! I just looked out in my front garden and it is still blooming and it still has buds to bloom. This rose has no major insect or disease problems.

Rosa Rugosa Blooming in the Month of May 

My next favorite rose was recommended by Holly Shimizu in the June/July 1996 issue of The Herb Companion magazine: Rosa gallica 'Apothecary', the fragrant rose of history. Every good herbalist in medieval times had one in his/her garden. It was brought by the Pilgrims to America for its medicinal properties. It has problems with suckers (but for me that’s just more plants) and has mildew problems, but I love to make rose petal jelly with this particular rose. I have adapted the Rose Petal Jam from an article on The Herb Companion website from Portia Meares.

The Fragrant and Beautiful Apothecarys Rose Blooming Early