Roses are my all-time favorite flowers. I have lots of them growing around my house, and they are all in full bloom right now. They smell and look heavenly!
There are 100 species of roses. Some are shrubs, some climb, and some are trailing plants. They are characterized by their large showy flowers which come in a multitude of colors - white, yellow, pink, orange, red, and even blue and purple. Roses have stems that often have sharp prickles on them. Most people call the prickles thorns, but technically, they are not true thorns. They're outgrowths of the outer layer of the stem. Even though roses have prickles, deer still won't hesitate to munch on them, so make sure your roses are protected from them.
Most roses are native to Asia. Cultivation of roses began in 500 BC in Mediterranean countries. Roses are best known for their beauty and fragrance, but there are actually many uses for roses. Rose water can be used for cooking, cosmetics, medicine, and religious practices. Rose hips can be used to make jam and jelly or brewed for tea. Rose hips are very high in vitamin C. Research is also being done to see if they can control cancer growth. Of course you know that roses are used in making perfume. Rose oil is obtained by steam distilling the crushed petals of roses.
To care for your roses, be sure to fertilize regularly. You can use slow release granular rose food. Also mulch generously around roses. Prune in early spring to encourage lots of buds. And don't forget to water them. They need about an inch of water per week.