Saturday, March 26, 2011

A bed of roses ...

Roses are always the first bloomers in my garden to announce the arrival of spring.

Cuttings from my first bloomers of 2011, Duchesse du Brabant antique roses.

A bed of roses offers non-stop color from spring to the first frost. I'm particularly fond of my Duchesse du Brabant roses with their sentimental, vintage cabbage shape. A favorite of president Teddy Roosevelt, too, the antique rose variety looks as if it were picked from a old still life painting.

The shape and color of roses have adorned fabrics and romantic fantasies for ages.

Stylist and interior decorator Christina Strutt has taken the shabby rose chic popularized by Rachel Ashwell to a larger, worldwide audience with her blog, books and Cabbages & Roses retail locations in the UK, North America and Asia.


The company's fabric lines include many with the rose theme, prevalent in refined, rustic cottage furnishings. Photos via Cabbages & Roses.

In celebration of the rose season, let's have a toast.

Photo and recipe from the Bubbly Girl, Maria Hunt


Ingredients (makes one cocktail):
3/4 ounce rose syrup
4 – 5 ounces chilled sparkling wine or champagne
Lemon twist
Organic rose petals

Add the rose syrup to a chilled champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine or champagne. Twist the lemon peel over the glass to release the oils and then drop it into the flute. Garnish with fresh, organic rose petals.

You can make your own rose syrup if you cannot find it at a specialty liquor store.
To make your own rose syrup:
Mix 1/2 cup of rose flower water, (dilute with water if necessary), with several sprigs of French lavender, and the fresh petals of one organically grown rose. Bring to a quick boil in a small sauce pan, slowly adding 1 cup of sugar.
Simmer for 5-8 minutes to thicken, remove from heat.
Strain through a filter to remove herbs.
Allow syrup to cool, or chill in your fridge.