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Rose Petals for Rose Oil
By Stan V. “Stan the Rose Man” Griep
Colorado Native Consulting Rosarian
Over 40 years of experience growing roses.
Making rose oil out of the petals of roses has been very important to the country of Bulgaria, particularly to Kazanlak, Bulgaria, where they have an annual Rose Festival to celebrate the rose. An area known as the “Rose Valley” in Kazanlak is a region located just south of the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. The rose valley is famous for its rose growing industry, roses have been cultivated there for centuries, and rose valley produces 85% of the world’s rose oil. Bulgarian rose oil is the highest of quality to be found anywhere in the world, quite superior to any other countries rose oil in fact. The extracts (also known as attar) are a precious ingredient of fine perfumes and liqueurs world-wide. They are also used for flavoring lozenges and scenting ointments and toiletries.
The rose gathering process, traditionally the women’s responsibility, requires great dexterity and patience. The rose blooms are carefully cut one by one and laid in willow baskets which are then sent to the distilleries. The gathering process is conducted in the morning when the essential oils are at their peak in the rose petals. The season for gathering of the roses runs from May to June, lasting only about 25 days, beginning slowly and increasing as the roses bloom more abundantly. The pink colored roses are the best for the making of the purest and highest quality rose oil. Out of 5500 to 6000 pounds of the pink colored rose petals collected approximately 2 pounds of rose oil is produced. Thus you can see why Bulgaria’s superior rose oil goes for around $300.00 for one (1) fluid ounce!
Rose oil belongs to Rosaceae family (Rosaceae), genus Rosa L., subgenus Cynorodon, Section Gallicanae. Roses grown for the purpose of making rose oil are grown in 4 species — Rosa damascena, Rosa centifolia (stolistna rose), Rosa gallica and Rosa alba (From the descendants of Rosa damascene.). While there are more than 5000 varieties of roses, only a few of them exhibit that distinct fragrance that is sought by the perfumeries of the world. The process of actually getting the rose oils is one of steam distillation. The heat used in the distillation process must be carefully monitored and controlled. The aroma of the extracted rose oil can be ruined if the heat has been too high.
An amazing Lady she is this Queen of Flowers, the Rose…….
* Add a nice layer of compost to all the planted garden areas and work in lightly. For the veggie garden add the compost and till it in well. Let the early Spring rains or wet snows get it all activated for some great garden rewards later.
* In Early Spring when leaf buds start to open, prune up the rosebushes. Seal the ends of the canes with Elmer’s White glue to prevent those rose borers from attacking the open cut.
* Clean up all the garden areas of the debris and dead foliage from the Winter.
* Fertilize the lawn and plants. Feed the roses to get them coming back strongly. Water everything well. Don’t forget to feed your trees too!
* Once your roses start to leaf out a bit, it is a great time to make a first application of a good fungicide. That first early application will go a very long way to preventing a Black Spot or Mildew attack on that lush new foliage.
* Check the proper planting time for the veggie and flower seeds and plant them as soon as possible outside. Some things like tomatoes you may want to start early indoors and then move outside when the weather is right. Using the “wall o’ water” protectors will help to allow you to set some plants out early and not have them damaged by those sneaky frosts.
* Get after those weeds coming up in the garden and lawn areas. Getting rid of them early will save a lot of time and work later. I guess you never really “get rid” of weeds but keeping after them is very important to the success of any garden.
* If you have plants that you want to move around, the cool early part of Spring is a great time to do so. The cool and rainy weather will help give the plants roots a chance to get going before the hot weather rolls in. Use some Super Thrive or Root Stimulator on all the transplants to help avoid serious transplant shock.
* For those of you that have those wonderful painted concrete garden and yard ornaments; it is time to wash them off well. Then apply some concrete sealer/ protector to them. This treatment helps seal out the damaging effects of water that may cause your prized ornaments to crumble or crack. It also helps to lock in the color a bit to help them stay looking nice.
* These are just a few things to think about. I am sure you have more where you are. Get out and enjoy your own great outdoors!