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Roses: All You Need to Know

A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but there's still plenty you should know about buying them and keeping them fresh as long as you can once you get them home.

There's also a bunch of things to keep in mind should you decide to grow your own.

Not to mention one type that offers many health benefits.

So, with Mother's Day fast approaching, master gardener William Moss offered tips on all matters rose, to help you enjoy everyone's favorite flower now, and year-round, on"The Early Show" Wednesday.

PICKING CUT ROSES

Make sure the buds are just starting to open, with smooth, green stems, and fresh-smelling water. Stay away from buds with yellow and brown streaks. Pick roses like you pick produce - fresh ones.

Even roses from roadside stands can be good -- if they're fresh. They're usually common varieties, but aren't all that different from the high-end stuff in stores. It comes down to a rose is a rose.

KEEPING ROSES FRESHER LONGER

Store the roses in a cool place - ideally, a refrigerator -- if you can't get them into water immediately. A cool environment will help slow the deterioration process.

Fill a vase with warm or tepid water. Make sure it's no cooler than room temperature. Warm water will be absorbed more quickly.

Add floral preservatives to the water if you have some available. Follow the package instructions.

Cut off any foliage that will lie below the waterline (it will rot), as well as any torn leaves.

Cut off about an inch of the stems, either straight across or at a slant, using a knife rather than scissors. Do this while the stem is submerged in a basin of warm or tepid water.

Place the roses in water immediately after cutting them.

Change the water and re-cut the stems daily, taking extra care to remove any leaves that may have wilted or dipped into the water. This will help prevent bacteria buildup. If you're using preservatives, add more solution every other day.

Keep the flowers in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, heaters, air conditioners and drafts. At night, move your roses to the coolest part of the house. That will help them last longer.

GROWING YOUR OWN ROSE BUSHES

Roses can be easy to grow, and even beginners shouldn't be intimidated. Many rose bushes make great gifts that can last generations.

When choosing a spot, sun and drainage are important factors. Roses want full sun and well-drained soil. No yard? No problem. Many are suited for container culture and will thrive as a potted plant on a balcony or deck.

A rose bush planted this year will bloom beautifully every year and remind her of your thoughtfulness. Plus, if you select the right variety, you'll not only improve her garden, but your or Mom's health, too.

Spacing and light are the two most important things when planting roses. If they're too close together, use an organic fungicide to keep the mildew and black spot from damaging the plant.

Plant it deeper than the depth it had in the shipping pot.

Low maintenance roses include: earth kind roses, mini-roses, wild rugosa roses. They're the three toughest ones. You can't hurt them. They even can be mowed down, and they'll grow back the same year.

Plant herbs with roses for dual purpose: They help repel aphids and other bad guys, and are healthy to eat.

ROSES FOR HEALTH

Rose bushes are great for gardens, and health.

Some rose varieties even colorful produce fruits (rose hips).

Roses are closely related to apples, pears, and aronias. Like those fruits, rose hips are loaded with vitamins (C, D, E) and antioxidants for good health. Vitamin C levels are particularly high and many commercial vitamins use rose hips as their primary source for Vitamin C.

Rose hips can be eaten fresh from the garden. Harvest them in the fall, when they've fully ripened. (A little frost sweetens them)

More often, rose hips are used in herbal teas, jams, jellies, pies, wines, breads, and syrups. Many recipes are easily found online. For instance, here.

Rugosa roses are some of the best for producing hips and, fortunately, are also beautiful, disease-resistant, and low maintenance.

Most of the species roses (dog rose, cinnamon rose, pasture rose) also produce a crop of hips. Before harvesting they are very ornamental on the shrub and provide landscape interest.

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