Commentary

ROSE HIPS

A GDOGC facebooker posted a question on rose hips.  I found this article that may be of interest.

rose_hips

Photo by Pamela Delgado P


Question: Rose Hips - What are They and What Do You Do with Them?

Answer: Rose hips are the seed pods of roses. We don’t often see them anymore, because we tend to prune the faded rose blossoms to encourage more flowers. However if you leave the spent flowers on the rose bush at the end of the season, you should see these small, berry-sized, reddish seed balls, left on tips of the stems. They are actually very ornamental and birds enjoy them too.

Are Rose Hips Edible?

Both rose hips and rose petals are edible. Roses are in the same family as apples and crabapples, so the resemblance of their fruits is not purely coincidental. Rose hips also have a bit of the tartness of crabapples and are a great source of vitamin C.

All roses should produce hips, although rugosa roses are said to have the best tasting hips. These are also generally the largest and most abundant.

Caution: Don’t use rose hips from plants that have been treated with a pesticide that is not labeled for use on edibles.

Read more: ROSE HIPS

MY FAVORITE TREE

MY FAVORITE TREE

BY Gyorgyi Szebenyi

is Desert Willow (Botanical Name: Chilopsis linearis, pronounced: kil-OP-sis lin-ee-AR-iss).

                     desert_willow     desert_willow_2     desert_willow_3

 

            Desert willow is among my beloveds plants, because it is our wedding anniversary tree. But my reasons for enthusiasm are not only personal. Desert Willow is a tough tree that thrives in Dallas and is strikingly handsome. It is a plant native to the American Southwest and Mexico and thus loves the sun. It is drought tolerant, but can handle downpours with good drainage (add expanded shale to your soil). If watered, it will grow faster and bloom more abundantly, but it will do fine even if you left it alone for long periods of time. Most labels for Desert Willow say that it grows up to fifteen feet, sometimes they even call it a shrub, but the one Paul and I planted for our tenth wedding anniversary twelve years ago is now more than twenty feet tall, and we did not fuss over it. We do prune the lower branches at least once a year, may be that helps to give it more than average height. I love it being tall, because it creates another level of interest in the garden without halting growth below.

     The sun shines through its open structure canopy, graceful, swaying branches, and between its fine long leaves. Underneath our tree, I grow roses that have full sun requirements. So you see, this tree will not create a shady spot for sipping your margaritas, but if you want an inspiring tree to marvel at while you are relaxing under your elm or oak tree and look up towards the sky, this is definitely an excellent choice. The flowers are delicate, elegant, subtly multicolored, and they are plentiful from May through November. I am quite attached to the pink variety we have in our garden, but the white, and the darker hot pink-purplish Buba, a newer and very popular cultivar, are also spectacular.

            Finally, there is one more piece of good news I want to share about this tree: even though I have not yet tried, I read that willows were easy to propagate from either wood cuttings or seed. So if anyone of you would like to try to grow a tree just like ours, let me know. You are most welcome to cuttings and seeds.

            Passing along plants, seeds, and garden stories is what our garden club is about. We’d love to hear about your favorite plant in the next newsletter! Send your story and picture to Allison (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)!

Gyorgyi Szebenyi

Book Review

THE INCREDIBLE EDIBLE LANDSCAPE

by Joy Bossi and Karen Bastow
     
    The holidays will be here before we know it.  Do you have a friend or family member who would enjoy a present that would encourage them to get started with gardening? Maybe you yourself would like a bit of encouragement??  If so, this book  could be just what you need.  The authors are both experienced gardeners, and they want everyone to share in what they obviously believe will change the life of the gardener, their community, and the world.
     The authors live in Utah and are Mormons.  It is important to mention this because it is important to their world view.  However,  in no way do they attempt to influence in a religious way.  They call their way of gardening "provident gardening".  The book assists the reader to think about using the land in their care (no matter how small) to produce something edible as well as beautiful.  The first chapters explain why this is so important.  When gardeners try to grow something to eat to store for the future, to share with others, they enrich themselves and the world around them.
     This book is not full of pat answers-far from it .The authors emphasis that gardening is not easy.  Start small, study your surroundings,  find out about the condition of your soil, read, and talk to other gardeners about what works and what doesn't.  But then, don't just dream-TRY!.
      "Gardens are not made by singing 'Oh, how beautiful'  and sitting in the shade" -Rudyard Kipling    This quote used in the book sums up alot of the philosophy of the authors.
      However do not think it's "no fun".  There are lots of suggestions for getting started with many common vegetables and fruits--what might be tucked into a flower border or even grown in a pot.  The joy of seeing a plant grow from a tiny seed--the joy of eating something you grew yourself--its all there.  And do not worry the advice is to grow with responsible methods.  Simple directions for composting and careful water use are there.  Oh--and there are lots of pictures!!
     First tries at gardening can be discouraging--the garden can seem to take more than it gives.  But with trying and learning the garden becomes far more than it was in the beginning-- and gives joy and hope along with the vegetables.  This is a lesson we all can appreciate. This book provides just the knowledge and guidance to get started--and to keep going!