Friday, November 04, 2011

Fiona Lowe: Roses & Romance

 I have a large garden and I am the custodian of 80 rose bushes. Yep, you read right, 80! I inherited them from the previous owner of the house who was tree-phobic, but loved a rose. I have standard  roses, I have tea bush roses and I have massive rambling climbing roses. Right now in a 'Down Under' Aussie spring, I am living in a perfumed paradise and loving having freshly cut roses in vases all around the house. How do such thorny beasts create the most beautiful and fragrant flowers?

Mr. Lincoln
Roses are part of our psyche. They are associated with medicine, romance, art, perfume and jam!

Rose hips are used in jam and tea, and have a small amount of Vitamin C in them. Rosa chinensis is used in Chinese herbal medicine and there are current studies for it controlling cancer.

When my seventeen-year-old son walked into the kitchen last week he said, 'It smells like Turkish Delight!' It was the fragrance from my glorious Mr. Lincoln roses and he's correct because rose water is an ingredient of Turkish Delight. I dry the petals and make potpourri.

Renoir painted them, as I am sure did many other artists. They are ancient symbols of love and beauty.  In ancient Rome, a wild rose would be placed outside a door to indicate secret business was being discussed. It is the national flower of England and in 1986 it was made the floral emblem of the United States. I did not know this until now! Red roses are also associated with a declaration of love.

Talking of love, my wonderful father, bless him, gifts me his pruning skills every July (our winter). My husband shovels mushroom compost every autumn so I get a great display of blooms and I deadhead all the suckers after the flowers have blown. This gives us three flowerings: spring, summer and autumn.

When I lived in Wisconsin, I was amazed that roses grew in the snow. They are as tough as old boots, roses, because they are related to the black berry family and almost nothing kills blackberries!  Do I mention roses in my books? They do come up now and then :-)

Fiona Lowe is an award-winning, multi-published author with Harlequin and Carina Press. Whether her books are set in outback Australia or in the mid-west of the USA, they feature small towns with big hearts, and warm, likeable characters that make you fall in love. When she's not writing stories, she's a weekend wife, mother of two 'ginger' teenage boys, guardian of 80 rose bushes and often found collapsed on the couch. A current RT Book Reviwers' Choice Award nominee, you  can find her at her website, facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Boomerang Bride is available now from Carina Press, Amazon Kindle, Nook and all other online book stores.


Annie West said...

Fiona, I love roses except in winter when the bareness of a rose garden seems so sad. Just back from a wonderful trip to France where I'm glad to say the roses were in spectacular bloom. I'm impressed with you making pot pourri. I've always wanted to try making rose petal jam. We had it at a B&B in Turkey once and it was just gorgeous. My few roses are blooming now despite being choked by weeds. Your post has reminded me that I'd better go and look after them this weekend.

Congratulations on The Boomerang Bride, especially with it being nominated by RT for the Book Reviewers' Choice Award!

Fiona Lowe said...

Annie, I hope you get as much enjoyment from your roses as I do from mine. Petal jam? I've not heard of that.

Congratulations to you too for your nomination of Protection of the Prince in the RT Book Reviewers' Choice Award.

Caroline said...

Ohh how lovely. 80 rose bushes. I'm just thinking how lovely they must smell on a summer evening (it's winter here!) Congrats on you latest release as well. I shall look out for it. Caroline x

Pat Cochran said...

I love roses, but sad to say, I have
the world's blackest thumb when it
comes to growing them! Mother could
grow any and everything, but unfor-
tunately I didn't inherit that trait!
If I had the money I've spent over the past forty years on rose bushes, well,
it would certainly boost my banking
account! LOL!

Pat Cochran

Fiona Lowe said...

Caroline,I am sending you some virtual perfume! we get the perfumed evenings in spring here because summer is a bit hot. The other night the peonie roses were so strong and lovely.
Thanks fo looking out for Boomerang Bride

Fiona Lowe said...

Oh, Pat, How can I help because roses are as tough as old boots to kill if they are IN the ground. Roses in pots are way too hard. But the basics to roses in the ground are manure in fall, a heavy winter prune and then after the blooms have faded you snip them off along with about 3-4" of stem and this guarantees a summer flowering. Try again :-)

ev said...

I have roses in the front and blackberries in the backyard and they all grow like crazy. I tend to ignore them. I whack down the berries in the fall and might remember to prune the roses, but here it is Nov and the last blooms just died finally. Can I still cut them back in the cold??

Fiona Lowe said...

Ev, winter is when you prune roses. Hack them right bsck and come spring they will flower for you. Fertilise too

Nas Dean said...

Hi Fiona,

I love roses and with our weather if we look after it well, roses in bloom all year around!!!

Congratulations on The Boomerang Bride being nominated by RT for the Book Reviewers' Choice Award!

The Brunette Librarian said...

I love roses :) We have two rose bushes in front of my house and every year its always exciting to see the first buds emerging. They are really gorgeous!

Fiona Lowe said...

Nas, how lovely to have roses all year around.
Many thanks for your congrtulations, they are much appreciated.

Fiona Lowe said...

BL, I cut a heap on saturday and stuffed them in a rose bowl and they made the perfect centrepiece for dinner :-)