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Grow Roses for Beauty, Food, and Health

Around Valentine’s Day, Buy Living Roses!

Roses are the Perfect Early Addition to your Garden Landscape for Beauty and Practicality!

Written by a Certified Permaculture Landscape Designer

This is the year for you to grow attractive perennials that are also edible or medicinal, adding not only beauty but value to your landscape.

In this article, you will find tips on planting hardy roses early in the spring! How does Late-February to Early March sound? As long as the ground is thawed and all danger of severe frost has passed, you will be good to go!

Most people think of roses as finicky, disease-prone, and overall too fancy and high-maintenance of a plant for their natural gardens.

Well, I LOVE to burst this bubble because there is a perfect solution for most of your rose desires! Good news if you want ease of maintenance or are a black thumb, these roses should survive your neglect. Of course, try to follow the directions on how to plant it and care for it when you purchase!

Now, Let’s Get Planting!

All Roses love well-drained soil, a good pH balance (around the acidic to neutral 5.5-6.5 area), and full sun (6+ hours per day). Keep these factors in mind when planning your rose plot.

As we organic gardeners know, the natural way to attain a fertile and slightly acidic pH soil range is to amend the soil with sulfurous compost (freshly decayed biological matter).

Roses are notorious for being difficult to grow and maintain, which is why we will focus on the hardier variety in this article.

Rosa Rugosa – “Beach Rose”, “Japanese Rose”

Hardy to: USDA ZONES 2-7

Growth Habit: Vining to Impenetrable Bush

Best time to plant: February-March

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A very hardy and yet beautiful addition to the garden!

The Rosa Rugosa has many different sizes, varieties, and shades of flower petals like the traditional pinks (from light blush to striking magenta), reds, yellows, and white to the newer varieties of wine-red, striped, or a slightly peachy shade. But, only the original plants with pink-colored flowers will be a guarantee for all of Rugosa‘s distinguishing characteristics.

These flowers are not particularly a show-stopper, except when seen in sheer numbers on a large and fragrant specimen. The flowers are also not good for cut arrangements, although they are extremely useful in crafts, potpourri, and other décor.

Despite a few superficial drawbacks, another positive aspect of the Rugosa is that it is a recurrent bloomer except in much warmer climates, meaning that it will have more than one blooming period in a season!

Edibility & Health

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The Rugosa is known for producing a sour, astringent, but edible cherry-tomato-sized reddish-orange fruit called “Rose Hips”.

You can eat the sour-tasting fruit for their extremely high levels of natural Vitamin C, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories (a great winter survival food).

Rose Hip Tea is available for easier absorption and palatability. The homesteader can even use fresh rose hips to make deliciously tart jams and jellies!

The naturally high content of Vitamin C also makes rose hips a booster for the body to synthesize collagen, helping to restore lubrication and youthfulness to the skin and joints.

Beauty & Cosmetics

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Rose Hip Seeds are also useful as they are made into an anti-aging skin oil high in beneficial fatty acids. This oil is great for wrinkles and dry skin, but should not be used on skin prone to acne, as it’s humectant abilities are too powerful for oily skin types.

Use the flower’s small and sparse, yet delicate and powerfully fragrant, petals to make a natural perfume or potpourri to freshen up your body and home.

Or make infused rosewater (rose hydrosol) to naturally brighten up your face.

Rose Hydrosol Recipe

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You can easily make your own rose hydrosol by:

#1. The Quick Method:

Lightly steam or “simmer” a handful of dried rose petals and 1 cup of purified water in a stainless steel pot, tightly covered for 15 minutes to an hour.

The length of time will determine concentration of rose biochemical ingredients: The longer, the more concentrated. But don’t steam the petals at too high of a temperature for too long, or else you will destroy the benefits.

#1. The Cold Method:

This method keeps more of the beneficial biochemicals intact, but it takes longer, so you will need patience!

A. Fill a clear jar up with dried rose petals, stuff as much as you can in there, but not too tight!

B. Fill the remaining space of the jar up with purified water and close the jar.

C. Allow water and roses to sit in a sunny window for 1-3 days, shaking contents occasionally. Again, the longer you let it sit, the more concentrated it will get, but don’t let it sit for too long or else bacteria and mold might start to grow!

#2. Put the remaining water it in a spray bottle. Dark glass bottles are best to eliminate plastic chemical exposure and to protect the hydrosol from sun damage.

#3. Spritz your clean face every morning and evening.

#4. Store in the refrigerator for long-term use (good up to 1 month), or your shower (good up to 1 week) to use quickly.

Or you can purchase one premade from a reputable source from the affiliate link embedded in the image shown above.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the plant has been used for centuries to treat irregular menstruation and gastritis, as Rosa Rugosa is one of the original rose cultivars, going back thousands of years to its origins in Japan and Siberia.

Reddish-Orange Rose Hip Powder is useful in soaps and other cosmetic colorants. In Ancient China, dried rose petals were ground up and processed to make lip colors and rouge blushes.

History & Hardiness

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The plant has been naturalized in the Northeastern part of the United States ever since it’s first documented planting in the mid-1800’s.

It has since spread far and wide due to its weedy growth habit, which does not respond well to cuttings, so expect to let it grow to full size for best results in your garden.

Sometimes considered an invasive species and will readily hybridize with other roses, so you might want to check with local authorities.

But this actually makes it more appealing to me–the hardier and less maintenance means the better suitable for my organic gardens!

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Rosa Rugosa is resistant to many diseases that other roses are prone to contracting like rose rust and black spot.

It’s pollen, bold fragrance, and bright colors will also attract and feed pollinators like butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

Be forewarned in that it is like most roses, thorny and prickly. But, unlike other roses, the Rugosa only needs at minimum a few hours of sun in the right conditions.

Of course, it will produce best and be its healthiest in full sun (6+ hours per day)!However, if the rugged Rugosa is not your thing, there are other options!

Companion Plants

Who wants to see just one plant dominate the landscape? Although Rugosa roses are wonderful and hardy specimens by themselves, they will be healthier and happier-looking with other helpers around it.

Some of these perennial plants that form a symbiotic relationship with roses are:

Garlic – or any other plant from the Allium family

Another beautiful, hardy, and incredibly useful plant is garlic! Not only will it be good for your roses, but they are amazing for your health and cooking recipes!

Planting bulbs around any large perennial (tree or bush) is a good idea, for when spring comes, they help break up the soil, letting the warm sunlight and rain come pouring into the ground!

Geranium – think wild geranium, or “Cranesbill”, for your perennial garden

Beneficial for keeping those pesky bugs at bay, the Cranesbill wild geranium is also useful in the home apothecary for numerous reasons. Its traditional uses include reducing signs of aging in skin and helping stop diarrhea

Lavender

Wow, can you get any more of a fragrance northern perennial pairing? Roses and lavender are both beautiful in their own way, complimenting each other in shape and color! The spiked small purple flowers and silvery soft leaf foliage of the lavender contrast beautifully with the glossy, sharp dark green foliage of the bigger, round roses.

Lavender is another one of those garden plants good at keeping pests away. Its herbal uses are that it can be used as a calming tea or for a good nights sleep.

Sage – Salvia

Similar to lavender, some sages are also great for cooking and herbal uses! Sage can help liven dishes with its herbaceous and fresh flavor. Or you can use sage in your herbal recipes to help with digestion and other issues. Sage is known to ward off negative emotions or heavy feelings.

Other

Other types of hardier roses (but not as hardy or as practical as the Rugosa), would also do well when properly cared for. Here are some other books and articles about Rugosa roses and other hardy roses that will give you more varieties so you can find the perfect one for your needs!

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The Rugged Rugosa – American Rose Society

10 Hardy Roses to Plant in Your Garden – Canada

Hardy Roses to Minnesota Gardens – Minnesota

Different Kinds of Roses – Illinois

 

**Statements on this website have not been approved by the FDA. These statements are for educational purposes only and not intended to cure or treat any disease. Please consult with your healthcare provider before implementing any new health program.**

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DIY Easy Feather Lampshade

DIY Easy Feather Lamp

Here’s how to turn your old unsightly lampshade into a whimsical, romantic, and naturally charming light!

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I adore our guinea fowl, not only are they a bit of comedic relief, but they are good security alarms, tick & insect hunters, and the females lay eggs. I also love their feathers! I had been collecting them in hopes of finding something to do with them on a rainy day, and did I ever!

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I picked up this vintage lamp at an antique store a while back and thought it was simply charming, except the stained shade, which I had intended to replace long ago… Then, Voilá! I had an idea!

What I thought would take me a couple of hours ended up taking me around 4-5 hours of straight work by myself (set-up and clean-up included). So, this is definitely something for a rainy day with a friend and no distracting television, especially if you want it to look decent.

This is also a simple and easy project for you and (older) children to do! I’d say from 12+ years could do this with no problem. Any younger and they might be getting bored too quickly and be too messy with it for a professional look.
Get ready! You will need:

MATERIALS

1. A lamp with a cleaned lampshade, preferably a light or white colored shade that isn’t in too shabby of shape. You don’t want to put these beautiful feathers on a crumbling structure. Have fun picking out your lamp from a yard sale, consignment shop, antique store, or your storage closet!
2. Tacky glue. Any will do, but make sure you get the sturdy crafting kind.
3. An iron with ironing board (I’ll explain later).
4. FEATHERS!!! We want feathers with a backbone (wing feathers) in this particular project. If you want to use downy feathers, that is fine too, but you might want to use a brush to “paint” the glue on the lampshade instead of putting it down in globs, which will block out more light than necessary and might alter your design when the lamp is lit.
5. Some spare paper like newspaper or anything that you don’t mind getting glue all over to cover your workspace.
6. Strong scissors for cutting the feathers.

All set? Let’s get creative in making our own décor!

INSTRUCTIONS

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1. Set out the paper or covering material on your workspace, preferably a cleared table with plenty of room for you to spread out your iron (plus access to a socket to plug it in), ironing board, glue, feathers, scissors, and lampshade. If you don’t have access to a table, don’t feel bad, you can also do all of this on the floor, which is where I ended up!

2. Decide what kind of design you want to put on your lampshade. I could visualize it in my mind because mine was a simple design to look like a bird’s wing, but if yours is more complicated, then might I suggest you draw it out to make sure that is what you want before committing?

3. Cut your feathers to your liking. I cut my feathers’ “stems” off so that they wouldn’t get in the way and to prevent a wavy texture from fuddling up the gluing process.

4. Iron all of your feathers. If you have a buddy, you can get them to iron the feathers while you glue the finished pieces on. It doesn’t take very long, but every feather is different. Do some timed tests to figure out the most efficient way to iron your feathers, whether you need to only iron them for 20 seconds on each side or one minute on one side, or something else entirely. I heated my iron up all the way on high heat and ironed them for at least one minute on both sides (my feathers were sturdy). You can always run a test by ironing one of your least favorite feathers and making sure it doesn’t burn while it is flattening. Yes, that’s why we need an iron! If the feathers aren’t perfectly level with the shade, the feather will have more chances to come unglued and then your lamp will look a little haywire… Unless you’re going for that style of course!

5. Put some glue on your feather or on the lampshade, one feather at a time or one space at a time, whichever way feels best for you. I put the glue on my feathers first and then pressed them onto the lampshade. Make sure you do the ones you want to cover up FIRST and then glue on the ones you want to cover the ones under it. Sound confusing? Make sure you glue them in the order you want! For instance, I wanted the bigger parts of the flight feathers to be covered up by the softer feathers to make it look more wing-like, so I started from the bottom and glued the big flight feathers on first, then worked my way around in one direction and then up in sections.

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6. You can finish with some hairspray if you prefer or just leave it as-is (that’s what I did)! Put it back on your lamp base and place it somewhere beautiful! I tend to like feather lamps in a bedroom or living room. Feather lamps can give these rooms a sense of whimsical, romantic, and natural charm!

Check out another project made with Guinea Fowl Feathers:

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This “Yin & Yang” Chinese Dreamcatcher is what my husband and I made to match our lamp!

COMMENT BELOW: Let us know how you did and don’t forget to share pictures of your masterpiece!

Blessings, Grace, Love & Thanks!
PERMA-EARTH 2018
– The Campbell’s

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Save The Seeds!

Why Should We Save Our Seed?

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         Did you know that most commercial farms grow large mono-crops and cannot save their seed? Their seed has been genetically modified by the corporation known as Monsanto who says they want to stop world hunger through better hybrids, genetic modifications, biocides (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc…), synthetic fertilizers, and infertile seeds. Monsanto claims that because of their genetic modification, we can have plants that will kill or repel pests, withstand drought, have a tolerance to high doses of herbicides, and produce seeds that self-destruct. Does that sound like food you want to put in your body? Would you call that “sustainable agricultural practice”? (Yes, that is their new slogan.)

         If you think that Monsanto does this out of goodwill, think again. There is no reason to have a plant rendered infertile by reconstructing its DNA, only if you wanted a farmer to have to repay you every year for the seed and chemicals you constructed in a laboratory, which is exactly what Monsanto forces farmers to do. It is a plant’s natural ability to be able to reproduce itself, that is how life continues to exist.

         The unsettling part is that the pollen from these infertile plants can be carried by wind into other non-genetically modified but genetically similar crops (GM corn to non-GM corn) and pollinate with them to form a hybrid. Monsanto can then sue the other farmer for “stealing copyrighted property”. This isn’t ethical and should not be supported in the courts. Monsanto has pulled many farmers into their trap by passively fertilizing their crops with unwanted pollination, then threatening to sue or to have the threatened farmer start growing their crops using Monsanto’s methods (high amounts of chemicals, mono-cultures, and re-buying infertile seed every season). It is a genius business scheme, but is it good for the Earth? Certainly not. Is it even good for people? Definitely not. Life should not be copyrighted. All life should be allowed to continue through trial and error of nature. This is why it is so important for organic farmers to save their seed using traditional methods.

How Do We Save Seeds?

         Seed saving is extremely easy and fun to practice. You first collect seeds from the plants in your crops (or from local, organic, non-gmo produce that you buy) that have exhibited the most desired qualities of that season (the most drought-tolerant, the most flood-tolerant, the most pest-tolerant, the tastiest, the biggest, the fastest-growing, early bloomers, late bloomers, et cetera), then dry, label, and store them properly, and you will have seed security for years to come. They can also be a source of income by your local community who will be needing local seed varieties that have adapted to your specific soil and weather conditions for your region.

         Make sure you dry your seeds in the sun on a dry surface to let most of the moisture escape, just enough to store them without attracting mold or other pests. They should not be overly shriveled or cracked, this is an indication you have over-dried them or that they weren’t good (matured) seeds to begin with. You should immediately store them in an air-tight container away from light, heat, and moisture. The perfect place would be a pantry or a dry root cellar. Even your refrigerator would work if you have enough room, they will last longer in there!

         After a few years, the seeds will not be at their peak and you may not be able to germinate the majority of them, so be sure to keep on planting, growing, and saving! Freezing the seeds is the best way to keep them at their peak for the longest time possible, although I would only do this for an emergency.

Where Can We Start?

         If you do not have some organic heirloom seeds ready to plant right now, go to your local farmers or farmer’s market to ask around for some there. Make sure to ask the farmer how they grow their produce/seed and what the characteristics of that specific plant is. A good farmer will know the answers to your questions about the details of the crop. Make sure to not get seeds from farmers who use any sort of chemicals on their plants because that will weaken the plants’ abilities to develop their own protection against the variables of nature. Connecting with local farmers is the smartest option because you can get to know how they farm and they may share some valuable information with you (and vice-versa). If you do not have access to enough local varieties, you can order them online from organic heirloom seed saving catalogues. Here’s a short list for you to look through:

Seed Saving Catalogues Online

Seed Savers Exchange -“A non-profit organization dedicated to sharing and saving heirloom seeds.”

Here’s an article about them and their history from an interview in 2011.

Sustainable Seed Company Certified Organic -“The only sustainably powered seed company.”

Annie’s Heirloom Seeds -“Your Source for the Best Varieties of Heirloom Vegetable Seeds.”

The Organic Gardening Catalogue -“Only Good Things for Your Garden.”

Seeds of Change -“100% CERTIFIED ORGANIC goodness from the ground up.”

Articles About Seed Saving From AWESOME Websites!

Permaculture Research Institute: Seed Saving, Part 2: Practical Ways to Save Seed

International Seed Saving Institute: Basic Seed Saving

Organic Gardening: It’s Seed Catalogue Time