Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Thug I like

Several years ago, I planted Rosa rugosa, a small, hardy, wild rose bush. It is finally at optimum height, is spreading, and is doing what it's supposed to do: provide fragrant summer flowers, and now in September, laden itself with fruit which I harvest for jam, jelly, or sauce. This year is our best crop thus far, and we will use the finished product at our fall harvest dinner featuring Vermont estate winemakers.

Rose hips, as the pome fruit is known, is tart, low in pectin, full of seeds, widely used in herbal teas, and is a source for vitamin C. Though I have not yet tried them, the leaves are said to make tea, and the flower petals are edible as are other rose petals.

Since it's sunny location was near the road I planted the shrub because of its easy care, tolerance for salt, sun, and poor soil. Some folks prune them, but I planted them in an area so they could go untamed without care. Seen growing wild along sea shores, it is also known as salt spray rose, sea rose, and sea tomato.

In some of these areas it is considered an invasive weed, but I would be happy to have this fruit bearing thug overtake other weeds and trees I prefer not to have. Perhaps in these milder areas they are more of a nuisance than here in our cold haven--just another reason to love Vermont!