Monday, September 27, 2010

Thinking about Roses and Seaberries

  While tackling a corner of the mountain of stuff accumulated over the years, I unearthed some hidden treasures in a box that pretty much left me weepy for a few hours. In the box were letters written to me by my Grandmother, my Dad's treasured rosary, and some picture negatives of my sister. 

 The rosary and 2 pictures were the only things my Dad had to remind him of his parents. The beads of the rosary were made out of rose petals and are black due to time, yet still very faintly offering a sweet scent.

 The letters from my Grandmother made me laugh and miss her a lot. They are in German and very difficult for me to read especially with her script. The ultra short version .. "Anne.. behave...please." The pictures ironically.. I took of my sister in my Grandmother's garden after I decorated her waist length hair with hundreds of flowers. The first few she was smiling.. I thought it was missing something.. so I may have mentioned something about an insect.. and the next progression I thought were better. Terror.. then all out murderous glare. Ah yes.. the artistic years. (My sister got back at me.. let's just say I was sporting the mother of all asymmetrical haircuts that took over a year to grow out.)

 My Grandmother grew a massive climbing red rose up the side of her apartment building. My Dad found peace from the insanity of 7 daughters and 2 ex-wives trying to coax his roses to thrive. He hunted for awhile for this pale orange petaled beauty with the alluring scent.. and he adored it.

 The smaller farm is rather exposed. The plot of land is a big open grassy rectangle, and I really am not a fan of massive monocultures of grass. It needs a fence.. a living fence for starters.

 While I could make it out of blackberry or raspberry.. there are already plenty of those running rampant. I have considered something like what my Aunt has and make it out of seaberries (Hippophae rhamnoides) but I am not sure of the drainage in that area on that farm. 

 Seaberry has some wicked thorns. It is one of those multitasking plants that appeal to me. They are exceptionally hardy, fix nitrogen, offer visual interest, and also produce an edible crop. Harvesting the berries.. that's where it becomes death defying with those thorns.. and those thorns also make them a rather interesting hedge choice. They just do NOT like having wet feet.

 The other option I am considering is roses, Rosa Rugosa in particular. They are very very hardy roses and most of them are grown on their own root stock. Quite a few of them sport so many thorns that they make razor wire look like a safer option to cross. Many of them are scented and produce rose hips.. they also can escape control (and even self seed). 

 Although part of the allure of the Rugosa is how easy it is to care for.. the petals (with the white part, the heel, cut off) are edible.. and the rose hips are something I love in tea.. knowing me, I'd be making rose water. The ever lovely edible astringent... but the all time favorite of mine is rose water lemonade. 

 My sister's husband has made desserts flavored by roses.. but that is so very far out of my league. (Not to say I don't secretly hope that one day there would be time to learn!)

 Seaberries and roses...  I probably will plant them both, but it won't happen anytime soon if I don't get back to sorting and packing. 

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