FENCEROW GATHERING

 Gathering Multiflora Rose along the Field lane.

This week features the Wild Rose Hip. The Multiflora Rose seedpod, known as Rose Hips, provides ample winter berries for birds and foragers alike. Not so many years ago, country roads were places that everyone could walk and gather all varieties of wild berries freely. Roadsides and hedgerows were filled with bushes and brambles of fresh nutrients.

Today townships spray herbicides at least 8 to 10 feet on either side of the road killing weeds and leaving roadside borders with ugly dead foliage. The sickle and scythe are relics of the past displayed on the walls of restaurants instead of used for cutting borders in mid summer. Most distressingly, our county officials ask for more money to "reestablish" nature areas for people to bike and hike. Silly is it not? How can we preserve our native hedgerows if one has never smelled the sweet perfume of a blooming Multiflora Rose, or gathered it's hips in autumn for tea, or plucked a box of juicy Blackberries on a summer morning. The value of these plants is worth protecting.

One way to have access to native shrubs and vines all year is to plant them on your property. Cultivating the Multiflora Rose without having it take over your landscape can be difficult, but in the long run it will reward you with plenty of delicious nutrition, feathered friends, and beautiful crafting material. My advice is to prune bushes heavily each year and continually remove new starts reseeded by the birds. It's a labor of love.

For the forager, a day spent gathering in the wild blue yonder where no man has sprayed herbicides is truly a gift. Stay tuned, tomorrow I'll share more about the medicinal benefits of Rose Hips.

The earth is balanced, it does not need the help of mankind.

Sally