The rose has been named as Herb of the Year for 2012.
The rose has been named as Herb of the Year for 2012.
The International Herb Association highlights a different herb each year. The choice of herb of the year involved evaluating herbs that are outstanding in at least two of the three categories: culinary, medicinal or decorative.

The Rose (Rosa) has been used in all three categories, although it is most often recognized as decorative. It is the world's most beloved bloom. Other decorative uses are to use rose petals and/or rose hips in potpourri, soaps and bath salts.

Culinary uses for roses are many. Probably the most famous is rose hips and petals in tea. Chopped rose petals and/or food grade rose water can be added to sauces, puddings, cookies, cakes and breads. When using rose petals for culinary use, it is important to smell and taste each type of rose. Some are bland or bitter. A general rule for using rose petals is if they have a strong scent that means more flavor.

Medically, rose petals and to a greater extent, rose hips, are known to be high in vitamin C and also contain vitamins A, B-3, D and E, as well as bioflavonoids, minerals, malic and citric acid. Essential oil of rose has been found to be an antibacterial.

Many cultivars of roses are not hardy in our area. The shrub roses (H. Rugosa) and some climbing roses are very hardy in zones 3 and 4. Some cultivars of H. Rugosa include 'Agnes,' 'Belle Poitevine,' 'Blanc Double De Coubert,' 'Frau Dagmar Hartopp,' 'Henry Hudson' and 'Sir Thomas Lipton.' Also included is the species class of H. Rugosa: 'Alba,' 'Alboplena' and 'Rubra.' The species roses are very fragrant. The hardy varieties of climbing roses include 'John Cabot,' 'Prairie Princess,' 'William Baffin' and 'Henry Kelsey.'

There are many more cultivars of roses hardy in our area that are not mentioned as they are susceptible to black spot fungal disease.

Here's an easy recipe to try.

Raspberry Yogurt with Rose Salad Dressing

1 small container raspberry yogurt

1/2 tsp. food grade rose water

2 tsp. milk

1 tbsp. finely chopped fragrant rose petals

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well until thoroughly blended. Serve over salad greens. Keeps for one week in the refrigerator.