One year we took our boys to an Agricultural Show where the organisers were running various children’s competitions to test their knowledge about native trees and flowers. The prize for each correct entry was a little sapling. Eyeing up the rows of little trees, our boys were keen to have two attempts each. Flushed with their success, we returned home with three silver birch saplings and a little Dog-Rose, also known as the Briar Rose.
Later that day, they duly planted their baby trees, which have grown over the past sixteen years to a height of thirty feet. Their little Dog-Rose, which sits beneath one of their trees, grew very quickly into a mature shrub, six feet in height and spread.
The fragrant flowers, whose petals can be used to make a scented jam, are a lovely shade of pale pink. The fruit, rich in vitamins A, C and E, can make delicious syrups and jams, and if dried can also be used as a tea. I associate the Dog Rose with two memories, the most recent being when our boys won theirs in the competition, and the earlier, when on far-off childhood Summer walks, I gathered its fragrant petals to make perfume.
6 cups of freshly scented petals.
6 cups of cold water
bring slowly to the boil.
Simmer for 2 hours.
Cool and strain.
Pour into a decorative perfume bottle.