‘Of all the flowers loved by the British people, the Rose has always held first place, and no flower has been more famed in song and story.’
from British Herbs, Florence Ranson
The British summer is in full bloom. Have you noticed? Every tree and hedgerow around where I live seems to be laden with puffy, powdery, perfumey white flowers of all kinds. On the Common behind me there’s elderflowers and meadowsweet and roses of all shapes and sizes – some wild, some the overhang from people’s gardens.
I have a history of stealing roses. Technically I don’t think cutting overhanging roses is theft, otherwise I wouldn’t do it. No, to me it’s just another kind of foraging.
You can make all kinds of things with rose petals – lip balms and soothing honeys, that are good for all kinds of ailments. Rose hips are particularly good for vitamin C and apparently the entire nation was mobilised to harvest the hips in the autumn during the Second World War when we couldn’t import citrus fruits and we’d cleared the brambles to grow wheat.
My rose forage this evening though was just to enjoy the gratuitous beauty of some wild roses in my flat. So I took a pair of scissors, once again braved the strange looks of passing joggers, and filled a small carrier bag with a whole range of beautiful scented white roses, and a couple of bits of honeysuckle thrown in there for good measure.
Summer loveliness momentarily bottled.