Unusual & Old Fashioned Fruit Trees



Roses produce a fruit that has been all but forgotten about these days, but during the Second World War, when fruit was hard to come by out of season because of shopping blockades, rose hips were used as a vital source of vitamin C. Hips were picked when they were ripe in the late Autumn and Winter, boiled up and made into a syrup which millions took in much the same way as people take a supplement of Cod Liver Oil today.

Apart from harvesting the Rose Hips another very important commercial use for roses is the highly scented oils that can be extracted from the petals. These essential oils are used as flavourings for cooking, in liqueurs and in the production of the scent for perfumes. The oil called “Attar of Roses” that comes from the “Damask Rose” or “Rosa Damascena” to give it its Latin name, is hugely expensive to make and takes some 250 lbs of petals to make one ounce of attar. A useful by product, of various distillation processes to extract oils, is Rose water which has a huge commercial market of its own.

Nowadays many back to nature health food fanatics eat food from the wild such as Nettle Soup along with many flowers from the garden, but this is not really a new idea because Rose petals have long been used in cookery for cake decorations etc after they have been crystallized.

The best way to grow Roses if you want to produce a serious quantity of hips is to grow them as hedge. Normal varieties are not much use for this because they will not branch low enough to make it very solid, but Rosa Rugosa hybrids are very strong growers. Alba has a white flower and is the most popular, but remember that these strains are not grown for large exotic flowers or scent so, although there will be a profusion of flowers they are quite small and not very showy. You may want to interplant your hedge with a few better varieties for a more impressive display of flowers. Also Rambling Roses may be considered as an alternative with their wild habit, but they will need support by training them along wires strung between fence posts.

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