The rose - that beautiful flower - has been leading a double life for centuries in communities around the world.
Yes, the rose is considered, by definition, to be an herb.
The rose has been given the distinction of being selected as the Herb of the Year for 2012 by the national parent organization of the Herb Society of Wheeling.
T-L Photo/KIM LOCCISANO
Seen with several selections from among the many arrangements crafted at the Wheeling Civic Garden Center's gift shop at Ogbelay are St. Clairsville resident Cindy Shank, long-time floral designer, and Wheeling resident Brenda Finch, general manager of the Wheeling Civic Garden Center. Questions about the organizations and the services available through the Wheeling Civic Garden Center can be directed to either 304-242-0665 or 304-243-4099.
The Herb Day Luncheon will take place on Friday, May 11. A sold out event each year, presentation of the educational component of the day's activities will be offered by featured speaker Chef Derek Roth who will present, "Cooking with Herbs."
The common accepted definition of an herb is, "Plants of which the leaves or stems are used for medicine, for their scent and their flavor. The rose fits this definition," according to information on the upcoming event provided by the Herb Society of Wheeling, and its president Donna Warren of Bridgeport.
Warren is also a member of the long-established organization known as the Wheeling Civic Garden Center.
Though there is no formal affiliation between the two organizations, they are both headquartered in Oglebay Park, and in a section of the garden center building which also houses a well-stocked gift shop area, a library and a large classroom space, as well as being adjacent to the Herb Society's popular herb garden.
Upcoming activities at the Wheeling Civic Garden Center's gift shop building, classroom, and workshop area include a number of popular annual events which are all open to public participation, not just observation, according to Finch.
Among those events are:
"We would like to encourage anyone from the public who might be interested in participating by way of entering items into the competition. We are really wanting to expand our membership in general and certainly we want to spread the word that the competition is just as much open to an accomplished gardener as to a newcomer," offered Finch.
"It is always a very popular show and sale, but we would like to see an increase in participating numbers."
Because there are numerous categories available to the public for placing their entries any questions about the various classes for the competition are available simply for the asking by contacting the gift shop at 304-242-0665.
Finch explained that garden center design staffers will be happy to help first-timers understand the process and all the while nurture their creativity.
Most roses do best in deep, fertile, moist but well-drained soils with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5; a position that provides full sun and good air circulation helps reduce disease and insects. The choice of species or cultivar (as well as your climate) will dictate spacing. If rooting of the scion is desired, plant the bud union about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) below the soil level; otherwise, be sure that the bud union sets above the soil level. Some gardeners prefer fall-planting to give the roots extra time to establish themselves, but some winters will be so cold that the fall-planted roses will not survive.
Do not fertilize newly planted roses; wait four to six weeks for the plants to become established. Authorities do not agree on the type of fertilizer or the rate, only that roses are heavy feeders. Yearly feedings are recommended of about a cupful of 5-10-5 fertilizer per established rose bush sprinkled in a circle around the base, supplemented with monthly feedings of fish emulsion, manure tea, or other organic sources of nutrients for maximum growth. Robust roses, such as 'Gardenia,' which puts out 40-foot canes even on poor soil, require additional fertilizer. Do not expect typical blossoms of a species or cultivar until the second year after planting. The blooms of the first year are smaller and sparser than are typical.
Interesting facts about roses:
Making rose jelly - Into a kettle with two-and-a-half quarts of cold water, put two quarts of rose petals; bring to a boil and cook rapidly for 15 minutes. Strain though cloth, reserving the liquid and to it add one half cup strawberry juice and sufficient water to make two quarts. Add seven pounds of sugar and bring to a rapid boil. Pour in two cups of fruit pectin, all the while stirring. Let this boil for one minute, pack and seal. If the roses have not imparted enough color, you can add a couple of drops of red food coloring.
Making rose butter - Spread the bottom of a covered casserole with a thin layer of fresh butter. Cover with a layer of rose petals. Alternate butter and petals for several layers and cover the dish tightly. Let it remain in a cool place - but not the refrigerator - over night. The next day, mix the butter and petals and spread on thin rounds of bread topped with a fresh rose. Let the edges of the petals come out beyond the bread. This delicacy is perfect for a tea party for all ages.