Got Hips?

Got Hips?

First of all, my apologies for being on hiatus so long without arranging for a sub or working up some posts in advance.  The reason was a worthy one, though:  the Trip of a Lifetime!  After more than two years of planning and saving and anticipation, my particular friend Peggy and I were super-fortunate to be able to take a 17-day vacation in historical, scenic Scotland.  It’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit, and each day was such a discovery.  Still floating!

The temperate weather and abundant rain lend their efforts to what must be a national devotion to gardening.  The flowers (like the castles and the churches, and the mountains and the lakes–er, lochs), were plentiful and amazing.  Along with a plethora of stone walls, there were more hedges than I ever imagined could grow in such a relatively small country, and many of those hedges were comprised of old-fashioned rose bushes.

If you’re not familiar with an old-fashioned rose, they’re similar to a multi-flora rose bush, with several blossoms grouped closely together on the stem.  The blooms open out a bit flat, since they don’t typically have a lot of petals, but the fragrance is rich and pleasing.  And if the flowers aren’t clipped for display, or pruned before this time of year, they produce their seeds in a round or oval-shaped pod called a “hip”.  The hips start out green, then turn yellow, then sometimes progress to a deep red or even burgundy or almost black, depending on the breed of plant.  Deer, rabbits, and squirrels have the common sense (or God-given instinct) to eat these morsels, which are full of Vitamins C and A, antioxidants and all sorts of other good stuff.

Provided that no chemical pesticides, herbicides or fungicides were used on the plant, we can enjoy the benefits of rose hips as well.  For centuries, they’ve been harvested for use in tea, jams and jellies, and even soup.  Rose hip oil is used in cosmetics and in ointments for treating burns and acne or scars.  They may be helpful in preventing cancer and treating arthritis.  The more I read about their various uses, the more I start to think I should plant a rose hedge of my own!

The pity is, that I didn’t harvest a sackful of the little things myself, when they were right in front of me, since 24 hours after our return, Peggy and I both turned out to have contracted a cold somewhere along the way.  All that Vitamin C from a good dose of rose hip tea might have helped.

Have you used rose hips?  Were they good, and did they accomplish what you hoped?  Let me know!

Roses in Scotland!