August is the month for collecting rose hips from the garden. It is always better to leave rose pruning until after September, even though this will prevent a second flowering, because if you prune roses too early there will not be any ripened rose hips to collect. Rose hips are nature’s wonder store, small and colourful, they are the heralds of late summer harvest. You can find rose hips in hedges and fields, from Rosa Canina (dog rose) or Rosa Rugosa bushes.
The rose hip is the pomaceous fruit of the flowering rose, and usually hips are orange, red, russet or purple. They contain Vitamins A, B and C and are high in antioxidant flavenoids. They can be used to make herbal teas, jams, jellies and syrups. Roses are propagated from the seeds contained inside the rose hip.
In World War II a government propaganda campaign encouraged mothers to collect rose hips to provide children with Vitamin C, as German submarines sank commercial vessels, so the importation of citrus fruits became very difficult.
Rose hip oil is very important in the beauty industry as it contains fatty acids that promote healthy skin and help eliminate wrinkles.
To make rose hip tea, remove leaves and stalks from rose hips, wash them, then finely chop them. Put them inside a ceramic teapot, pour boiling water over them and leave to steep for five minutes. Strain into a teacup and drink. This drink will help revive and refresh you, as well as helping to prevent colds and flu when the weather turns cold.