June 20, 2018

Interesting Use for Rose Hips

Floral Display Using Rose Hips

Hip Hip hooray, my allotment always has something to offer for my vase, and this week I stumbled upon a rose bush on the edge of the allotment, clad with small red rose hips. The bush has been there for years and the hundreds of pink flowers brighten up the summer months , but I never really thought about this added bonus. I picked a few stems and but them in the  vase pictured – for my visitors that are less acquainted with the fruit of the rose I added a young rose shoot with rose leaves to the vase. It made an interesting display and looked mighty seasonal too.

rose hips in vase
floribunda rose hips in vase


Best roses for hips

Now we always knew that there are many rose bushes that are planted initially for rose hips, these are usually a mass of strongly thorned stems with one flush of single flowers in the spring and then a beautiful display of large berries in early autumn. To take an extract from the Victoriana Nursery Gardens advertising a selected stock of Rosa Rugosa– This rose hedging will give you vandal proof barbed wire security and reward you with large orange scarlet hips in autumn for wonderful jam.

rose hipsWhich rose will give beautiful flowers AND plentiful hips?

We also know that the beautiful large hybrid tea roses usually fall off without being pollinated and even if they do get pollinated they only produce hips very sparingly. What I have discovered now is that many roses especially in the small floribunda (cluster flowered) range will give me a good supply of both roses and hips.  They will flower profusely with dainty double flowers and will easily continue to produce an abundance of hips as shown.  Since they are perpetual flowering, the flowers are formed later in the season and the hips will not have ripened at the beginning of autumn but will be ready now in January as the picture shows.

[I was most surprised to find a standard rose tree this week in full leaf and flower as pictured here– in my home town of Manchester, we have not yet had much of a harsh winter but this was still unusual – maybe it has a private gulf stream coming from some central heating outlet flu?]

Rose bush flowering in January in manchester
Rose bush flowering in January!

Rose hip uses

Rose Hips have many uses and are recommended as a health food. They are supposed to contain around 20 times Vitamin C as oranges, and rose hip syrup was given to post war children as a health boost (for those of us that still that remember!).

Dried rose hips are commonly available at health food stores and on websites for around £2.95 for 100g. But there is no reason why you can not make this health drink yourself.

How to make homemade rose hip syrup

The hips are not actually edible what we want is to extract the juice, the best way to get this is by first cooking them for around 50 minutes, then mashing them in the pot and then straining the mixture with a strainer or a piece of muslin. I wouldn’t blame you if you prefer to add sugar or honey to the juice– but one can’t expect such a healthy drink to taste good as well!

So if you would like to grow roses for hips – the choice is yours – plant an old fashioned hip maker like Rosa Moyesii Geranium (lovely long 5cm. elongated  hips), varieties of Rosa rugosa (large rounded hips) with their single flush of flowers, or plant a modern floribunda and expect a later but good display of small hips ,[ just remember not to deadhead towards the end of the season otherwise you are cutting off your fruit!].

Boris Legarni.

About The Author

Profile photo of Boris Legarni

Boris inherited his green fingers from his mother, who was still planting potatoes and rhubarb in the sixties as she was afraid that they would once again be rationed. As a teenager he used to plant radishes in the corner of the school garden and sell them during break time for sixpence, to give his classmates a healthy crunchy snack. He and his wife both have had an allotment for years, but there is no competition – he does the planting and she does the harvesting and cooking. With a passion for growing anything edible, Boris has planted dozens of named fruit trees in his orchard. Nevertheless he is an avid flower arranger, and assists local communities and charities with his flower arrangements. Boris tells us that after so many years on the allotment he has made all the mistakes possible, and he will share with you his practice to make yours perfect!

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