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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Truth about Cats & Dogs and How that Relates to Roses

photo via

Do you have pets, cats, dogs, cats and dogs? Do you remember how you decided to bring your pet home? Is there room for the cat and/or dog in the house? Is the back yard big enough? How big is that pup going to grow? Who is going to feed and water them? Then there are vaccinations, flea meds, maybe some special needs, brushing, groomers, toys.

How on earth does this pertain to roses? Well, looking at the photo on that rose bush in front of you at the local nursery is like looking at the latest photo posting at the humane society. There is always one that catches your eye…

Cats and dogs. Are they different? Sure. Shrub roses and climbing roses are completely different – think of them just like cats and dogs. How to choose the perfect pet is like choosing the perfect rose for your yard, trellis or fence.

Shrub roses are like cats. Do you find cats are pretty self-sufficient? Leave them some water, bowl of kibble; offer them an occasional bit of catnip. Clean litter box. Annual trip to the vet. Not much maintenance. Shrub roses, the same amount of care. Food (preferably organic), water, full sun, prune them back each February.

Climbing roses are like taking home a new puppy. Cute in a small container but they grow. Then there is the whole matter of training and the breaking of habits. Mostly your habits. Pick up your shoes or they are gone, take the puppy out quickly after eating or there will be something to clean up later. Pick up the water bowl that has been tipped over. It’s never ending.

If you get a smaller, or more docile breed (let’s call that rose a mannerly climber) you will eventually get to a point where the training and upkeep are more manageable. If your dog of choice was larger, say a Labrador or even a Greyhound, the training and growing are to be expected to continue but there is an end in sight. The rose equivalent may be a Climbing Pinkie or a Peggy Martin.

So the rose of your dreams turned out to be New Dawn, Old Blush climber, Lady Banks? These vigorous climbers are the equivalent of a Blue Heeler or an Australian Shepherd. You can’t make them stay small; you need an area big enough for them to run and the time to keep them in line.

Photo from Lemon Verbena Lady's Garden blog posting.
Get her step by step directions - with photos.
This jelly/jam was made with pink rose petals!

Did you know
Roses are the Herb of the Year – 2012

Rose petals are edible, and the seed heads, called hips, are a common ingredient in teas, herbal medicines and natural vitamins. If the roses have been sprayed with chemicals or come from a florist – do not bother. Use only organically grown roses, especially heavily fragrant, old-fashioned or antique varieties.

Need a recipe?


Makes about 4 pints

  • 6 cups water
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 4 cups fragrant red rose petals, washed, with white heels removed
  • 1 Tablespoon of rose water (My roses were not highly fragrant)
  • 1 packet powdered pectin
  • 6 cups sugar

1. Heat the water and lemon juice in a saucepan, add the rose petals, and simmer for 10 minutes. With a wooden spoon, squeeze most of the petal pulp against the edge of the pan to release the juice. Leave a small amount of pulp in the pan for texture.

2. Return the liquid to a simmer and sprinkle in the pectin. Stir until dissolved. Add the sugar.

3. Increase the heat and boil vigorously for 7 minutes, stirring constantly.

4. Immediately place the jam in hot sterilized jars and seal.

From The Herb Companion via Lemon Verbena Lady’s Garden blog.


  1. I liked your cute comparison, especially the decision to bring them home. Never thought of roses and jam as a combo though.

  2. Oh, how I enjoyed your comparisons with the roses, and how very true! I don't grow many roses, as you know, but this post will help me in the future when and if I do decide to become adventurous.

    Love the jar of jam from rose petals.

    And.......I found some castor bean seeds. Sending them out tomorrow!

  3. LOL I never would have thought to compare roses to pets but you have a great point. I've always avoided roses simply because I'm a cat kind of gal, I can't deal with the fuss. Nice to know though there are roses out there even for someone like me.

  4. Thanks for the link to my blog, TG! Great comparison with pets and roses. You always make things interesting!