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50 Natives : New Hampshire: Rosa Carolina – inspired by Holly Becker

June 18, 2009

Note about plants inspired by people from previous posts:I had a lot of fun with picking plants inspired by people…so I thought I would take inspiration from some of my favorite other bloggers and garden and landscape design luminaries’ home states. Then I can introduce you in the nicest and most unique way possible.
In the blogging world, it is not so often that you get a chance to meet your friends in the flesh and rather only know them through their online personalities and stalking them on the various social media sites (twitter, facebook, etc.) So please understand I am doing this all in fun and my picks for people are meant to be the sincerest form of flattery and based entirely on their online personas.

It’s no secret, I am a big fan of the blog Decor8 and the writer behind it Holly Becker. So since I have not done New Hampshire in my 50 natives series, and Holly currently resides there, she is my inspiration for the state just to my north.

Holly, unknowingly, has been a huge inspiration for me. Our paths have never actually crossed in person, but being as that we are only maybe 30 minutes from each other, we seem to orbit in the same solar system (so to speak). It was Holly who introduced me to the world of blogs (about 3 years ago) – when I took a mediabistro class and the instructor (who had recently been Holly’s instructor too) gave me Holly’s contact information as she thought we should be in touch. I have followed her rise to internet stardom and I can’t express how much motivation and pride I get from knowing she is just up the road from me. You see, when I moved to the Boston area from London, I felt for a long time like I had moved from a design mecca to a design back water and it really saddened me. While my opinion of New England Yankee style and sentiment has softened considerably, part of my acceptance came from finding Holly and knowing that she was creating a style heaven of her own from a little corner of New Hampshire – in my mind, possibly even more backwater than my own corner of Massachusetts.  That ability to create a place that is uniquely your own and draw the world to it with welcoming arms is truly admirable and what I have similar aspirations for.

Holly is leaving New Hampshire soon to move to Germany, and given that we have never actually met, I am finding it to be more significant to me than it seems it should be. Her blog will go on right where it has always been ( and surely get even better and more interesting as she explores the world, but to me, I feel loss the loss of a neighbor, a real neighbor in the physical, not online, world.  So before she goes, I am picking a New Hampshire native in her honor.

(I am so glad I re-introduced this ‘inspired by real people’ element to this feature it is so much more fun!).

It seems to me that there is no more perfect choice than Rosa carolina. This painting of the Carolina Rose by Mary E. Eaton from a 1917 issue of National Geographic is like something I would expect to find at Holly’s site.

rosa carolina art by

Rosa Carolina is native to much of the eastern seaboard, but as the name implies  it is uniquely tied to the Carolinas (Holly is also originally from the same region).   I find this flower to be the perfect choice for a beach-y garden or one that has a certain wild romance about it. Do you agree? I am thinking about what I would plant with it to further that mood…grasses maybe? What would you plant it with?

rosa carolina rose inspired by holly becker decor8

1. Rosa carolina-JH9779, 2. Rosa carolina close-up, 3. Carolina Rose, Rosa carolina, 4. Pasture Rose, 5. IMG_1951, 6. Rosa carolina, 7. Rosa carolina, 8. rose hip (Rosa Virginiana and/or carolina), 9. Pasture Rose

Rosa carolina is also a popular rose for collecting hips.   Have you ever collected and used rose hips from the garden?  I haven’t but as a follow on to my dandelion wine (which seems to be aging nicely) I want to try my hand at rose hip jelly and rose hip cordial.  So I am on the look out for an undiscovered stand of wild roses to collect from later this summer.

Did you know that you can alter the honey you put on your morning muffin by mixing in crushed rose hips?  The honey has preservative qualities for the hips so it will keep for weeks.    And rose hips have high quantities of vitamin C – so much so that during WWII when victory gardens were encouraged, rose planting was also promosted by the USDA.  Rose hip conserve made with your own rose hips and local honey can supplement vitamin C sources in the dark winter months and they are also high in bioflavonoids and pectin – a healthful fiber source.

rosa carolina rose butterfly

image from ayacata7

How do you use rose hips?  I found this at the Napa Valley Master Gardener website:

Pulverize the hips with a mortar and pestle to obtain a good red puree. With a wooden spoon, rub the puree through a sieve to remove the seeds, which are also called pips. Mix the sieved puree with about half as much honey. Because honey is such a fine preservative, this uncooked conserve usually keeps well for at least a couple of weeks, and is wonderful as a spread on toast or muffins.

With the dried pips, you can make rose hip tea. Steep them long enough to get a deep color, then sweeten to taste.

Another old but simple recipe to try with your rose hips is a chilled, sweetened soup. These soups may seem odd to us, but they were essential to winter health in the days before storebought vitamins. For this recipe you will need four cups of ripe rose hips for four servings. Cover the rose hips with water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and boil for ten minutes. Strain through cheesecloth, discard the hips and return the strained liquid to the saucepan. Add enough water to make four cups. Add one cup of sugar, bring to a boil and take the pan off the heat. Mix two tablespoons cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and stir into the soup. Return the pan to medium heat, and cook until clear and lightly thickened. Cool the soup, then chill it. Serve this gorgeous rosy-hued treat in small bowls with a dollop of whipped cream and be grateful you are making time to smell the roses.

There are some very interesting recipes to try with rosehips at Mermaids treasures too.

So, thank you Holly for being such an inspiration, not just for this New Hampshire native plant choice, but for creating an interesting and personally fulfilling life that we can all share through your blogs (decor8 and haus maus).

REgister now!

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  1. April May says:

    I really like the way you give a bit of a background about Holly and explain why you’ve chosen her as your inspiration for this post. Lovely post and choice of flower. 🙂

  2. decor8 says:

    This is such a caring post, I will remember it forever! I especially love that rosa carolina, we had them growing up and I always loved the centers – so intricate and soft. This is really a thoughtful post, but also very informative. Perhaps if you are even in London in the future on vacation, you can look me up. I’m only an hour by plane and plan to go up their frequently anyway from Hannover, so maybe we can have lunch or tea — high tea in a garden seems like the perfect spot for us to meet for the first time. Or you can come down to Hannover to visit the gorgeous Herrenhausen gardens, you would LOVE it there. Originally the King of England presided over Hannover and he built the gardens. I’ll have to photograph them and send you some photos. You’d be in botanical heaven! Thank you again for such a caring tribute, a send off… 🙂

    Oh and I can’t believe you found me through Wendy. She is a doll, isn’t she?


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