It is late winter now and so far we’ve escaped without suffering colds or flu (although my fingers are crossed). With the unforgiving winter weather this year many of my friends and colleagues have come down with either colds or flu. Some took flu shots but got sick anyway. I had a flu shot some years ago and it made me feel sick so I haven’t repeated it since.
Even with the temperature going up and down from 50 to 0 F. within days and not enough sleep, we still managed to ward off colds and flu. What we have been doing aside from staying away from people who are sick, is drinking our home made ginger tea. There are no tea leaves in it, just ingredients that can be purchased at any food store. This tea recipe was passed along from my grandmother and it does the trick for us. We keep sipping it once we start to feel something coming on.
Home made Ginger Tea recipe:
Fresh ginger, peel off the skin, puree and squeeze the juice out. I make enough to fill one small bottle at a time and keep it in the refrigerator for a week (usually finishing it before then). I use one table spoon for one cup of tea.
Honey, one tablespoon per cup of tea. I dissolve it in hot water before adding other recipes. That little jar is from our own hive.
Fresh lime juice, one tablespoon per cup.
Rose hips, approximately a tablespoon of either fresh or dry. This is optional but adding it increases the level of vitamin C.
Liquor, one teaspoon per cup of tea. I use Patron Tequila infused with Bhut Jolokia chili pepper but Brandy, Cognac or B & B will do. It helps to warm you right up when it’s really cold out. This is optional as well. But remember, it’s the sparing use of alcohol that the body uses. If you get a buzz from it, you used way to much, hence the reference ‘teaspoon.’
Hot ginger tea without lime juice, rose hips and liquor is also good for indigestion and bloating. Just using fresh ginger juice with a little bit of honey to make it more palatable. Sip it when it is still hot.
Rugosa roses (Rosa rugosa) are not just pretty, fragrant and hardy, they are also the best for producing rose hips. Rugosa ‘Hansa’ and ‘Foxi’ provide a lot of rose hips for me. I’ve been eating some ripe ones right in the garden and dry the rest for using until I get a fresh batch in fall.
Rugosa roses are also bee friendly, both bumble bees and honey bees, love them.
Despite uneven weather and a lot of heavy rain this summer many roses in the garden are still blooming this late in the season. Though not as profusely as in spring, they still provide bright, cheerful colors and scent for the late summer garden. Some of them will continue to bloom until the first frost.
After flooding the plant in spring, ‘Topaz Jewel’ continued to bloom sporadically throughout summer.
Rugosa ‘Hansa’ has never stop blooming since it started in the spring. Aside from being highly fragrant, the bees love them. I let most flowers become seed pods early in the season so I can make rose hip tea later on.
My favorite ‘Heritage’ has never stopped blooming. Beautiful soft pink petals and it’s highly fragrant.
For some reason the deer seemed to like this ‘Aimee Vibert’ rose. Flower buds that are low enough for them to reach often get eaten while other varieties of rose nearby remain intact.
The ‘JFK” rose is another rose that the deer are drawn to. I wonder if they like the color white on a rose or white roses are just easier to see in the dark.
The reason I planted this ‘Burgundy Iceburg’ rose is because I planted an ‘Iceberg’ (white) rose earlier and wanted to provide a companion for it. This one seems to get black-spots on the leaves every summer, but with few leaves left, it continues to bloom through summer.
The weather started nicely for roses this year…cool and dry with little rain. Our early bloomer roses formed buds profusely and they’re in the middle of their first round exhibition of colors and scents. Then the rain came. A nonstop deluge for a day and a half. There are still some flowers left after the rain, though not much. Hopefully there will be no rain this weekend so I can cut all the wet and spent flowers off before they develop mildew.
After the first round blooming, the roses in the Rugosa family (Rosa Rugosa) will continue producing flowers throughout the season. The Rugosa rose is very winter hardy, fast to establish and grow, reliable performance through the season, fragrant, deer won’t eat them and the bees love them. The down side: they are very thorny and some of the the flowers don’t last longer than two days.
As a request from my editor and partner in crime who helped dig the plots and mowed the lawn to plant roses that bloom more than once a year. No, I didn’t know when I started this garden that some roses bloom only once in spring. I came from a place where roses bloom all year round (the sub-tropics) so I assumed that it should be the same here. The first couple of roses I planted put on a show of colors in spring then nothing else for the rest of the season. Though they offered nothing else but a home to the birds, they are still worth keeping.
Learning from my mistakes plus his request, the roses I’ve been planting after the first batch are either re-blooming or bloom continuously. Even in the uneven weather we’ve had this year they are still performing well. Blackspot fungus caused some damage to Eden and William Shakespeare roses, but they still try their best to give the garden some color. Here are a few that didn’t get beaten up too badly by the recent storm.
How many books on deer resistant gardens are in the marketplace? Plenty. But I found that 80% of the allegedly deer-proof plants on the list got eaten anyway. If the deer are hungry enough they will eat any plants they can get their teeth into. The few plants that deer won’t touch basically narrow down to three categories: highly scented (mints, sage, lavender…any plants that will emit a strong odor when you just brush against them), poisonous (foxglove, lily of the valley), and the very thorny.
We love roses, especially the fragrant ones. We keep our eyes on the swelling buds in hope of seeing their beautiful colors and enjoying their sweet fragrance. They disappear over night, cleanly nipped off at the bottom of the buds. Our rabbits weren’t suspect, even if they got on their hind legs they couldn’t reach the buds. Only whitetail deer could do this type of damage. Sometimes they add insult to injury by leaving piles of detritus that had passed through their digestive system for us on the lawn. It’s a matter of which perspective you’re looking from; it could be an insult or a gift since the grass grows greener and healthier where their deposits were.
I picked Rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa) for its fragrance and winter hardiness. I soon realized that the deer skip the rugosa buds but ate other rose buds. Even without the mixture of rotten eggs and garlic spray we use to deter them at night they still won’t touch it. The difference is rugosa are pretty thorny, much more thorns than any other roses and highly fragrant.
If you like rose that you don’t have to take care of much, drought tolerant, winter hardy, very fragrant, disease free, deer and insect won’t eat, Rugosa rose is your best choice. A couple of down sides though: all rugosa come with plenty of thorns and the flowers don’t last long, about two days generally. Here are ours…