I needed a reminder of summer today. Its trying to be spring here, but today didn't succeed very well, with flurries and cold temperatures most of the day. I spent some time cataloguing photographs and came across this one of a dog rose (rosa canina) that I took last summer in a cemetery in St. John's. The plants are horribly prickly but so hardy, nothing can kill them and the roses, while simple and short lived are so beautifully fragrant.
I have pink and white dog roses in the garden, an inheritance from the previous owners and every year I collect petals to make my own rosewater to use in creating herbal creams and lotions. The rosewater that I make is a combination of a distillation of rose petals, distilled water and alcohol. The scent when I open one of those bottles in the depth of winter is pure summer, quite incredible how the scent lasts.
These roses produce huge rosehips and if I can beat the birds and mice to them I dry them and make use of them too in herbal medicine. The hips have an acidic but fruity taste, due to the rich amount of ascorbic acid present. Fresh rose hips contain 60 times as much vitamin C as oranges, and rugosa roses, with their large round fruits, are considered to have one of the highest contents.