Gardener's Grapevine 2016.01.06


Happy new year! It seems impossible, but another year has come upon us. We always celebrate New Year’s with friends and it’s usually a two or three day celebration. This year we had friends come from Farmington Hills and more from Kalamazoo. Due to my arm surgery, we hosted. It is great fun to get together and visit with old friends that we’ve known since childhood. So many topics with a lot of opinions and other topics leading off from the main topic, all while playing cards and enjoying food.

One of the topics that came up this year was: Are apples and roses related? Well, that’s a very good question. As with all of life I turned to Google, and yes, they most certainly are. They are both part of the rose family, Rosaceae. Well, push me over with a pin, I had no idea.

The whole topic started with a conversation about hibiscus flowers being edible. Art and I had purchased some hibiscus flowers bounced in simple syrup on one of our trips to Florida. There is a few gourmet stores in downtown Sarasota that we go to. When I asked about the use for them, I was told that many people put the flowers in the bottom of champagne flutes then fill with bubbly and a little of the syrup the flower is in. Being the adventurous one, I said let’s try it. I don’t think everyone at breakfast on New Year’s day was impressed, but my grandson seemed to like his in his sparkling grape juice.

The flowers looked pretty in the bubbly. I was the first to taste one. It had a texture like a licorice whip with not much taste except for sweetness. My friend Cathy was intrigued that you could eat the hibiscus flower. We started a long conversation about edible flowers and weeds. This led to the rose question. The answer is yes, they are related as are peaches, pears, plums, strawberries and cherries. The article I read was from a blog called the English Club. It said to look closely at the flowers of these plants and you will see the astounding similarities. All the flowers have a cup like shape with five petals and oval-shaped leaves. It is my assumption this person means heritage roses, because hybrid roses have a lot more petals than that. 

Every day I find something intriguing about nature. You can bet I will be checking out the leaves on our apple tree, cherry tree, strawberries and rose bushes come spring.​