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In autumn and winter many treat us to a wonderful display from their hips, adding colour to a winter floral arrangement. Hips aren’t just for show though, as they can be used to make rose hip syrup or jam — there are many different recipes and techniques to choose from.
Rose hips are the seed pods that form when rose flowers are left unpicked. Throughout autumn the hips will swell and fatten.
Rose hips are high in vitamin C and best harvested after the first frost which sweetens them. Remember to select material only from rose bushes you know haven’t been sprayed.
Next summer when the roses are flowering again you could have a go at making rose petal jelly. Choose big fat blooms — the darker and more fragrant the flowers are, the better the jelly looks and tastes. Think about drying some of the petals and rose buds to make potpourri.
When you see a rose bush sitting in the garden looking somewhat bare and recently pruned, give a thought to what it can offer each season.
- Garden Life is produced by Dunedin Botanic Garden. For further information contact Linda Hellyer.