Today's garden section in the newspaper went into detail on why so many trees and shrubs suffered this year -- the unfortunate timing of some cold snaps, heat waves, dry spells, and wet spells all stress the plant world. Our Gertrude Jekyl roses had a little die-back this year and there are fewer roses than normal. They are the best variety in my garden for drying, cooking, and medicine-making because of their color, fragrance, and size. Fortunately, some roses in the wild part of the garden came through to pick up the slack.
In case you're wondering and in case you're coming over here this summer sometime, one side section of our backyard is wild. There's burdock and motherwort, mallow and lamb's quarters, yellow dock and dandelion galore. It's where the nature spirits live. It's where the bees have set up house. And it's where the wild roses are.
When things start blooming, flower drying begins -- this week, it's roses -- next week, the lavender. This little basket is only the first of many big basketfuls (yes, that is the plural of basketful, sounds funny, doesn't it?).
My little drying station is in the basement on a large window screen. After the rose petals are spread out and have dried a few days, a light-weight cloth will cover them until they're completely dry. Fortunately, drying plant material in Colorado goes so fast, there's no time to grow any mold. I store the dried rose petals in old Ovaltine amber glass jars. If you come across any, grab them because they don't make them anymore and they are fabulous for storing dried herbs.
I'm always on the lookout for rose recipes to try right now. This year, I want to make rose petal milkshakes -- doesn't that sound decadent? Do you have any fresh rose recipes?