The Scent of Maywood: This Week It’s Wild Roses

Which will dominate the honey flavor this year, tulip poplar or wild rose?

A fragrance cannot be posted in a blog.  Picture and video can provide sight and sound, but to really experience Maywood in spring, you have to smell it.  On a walk down to the field to inspect the blueberries, the sweet smell of grass perfumes the air.  Not the smell of a fresh mowed lawn, this is the smell of  grasses and wildflowers growing in a wild crazy community.  Above it all, the tulip poplars bloom, adding their own subtle note to the air.  Venturing down to the bee-yard, the fruity-floral scent of wild rose dominates.  Small wonder.  Wild rose just plain dominates.

Wild rose, aka multiflora rose, originated in Japan and was introduced to the U.S. in the late 1800’s as rootstock for cultivating roses.  In the 1930’s it began to be planted to aid against soil erosion.  Through the 1960’s it was planted along highways as a beautiful natural barrier.  And that is how the wild rose made its way to Maywood–as a planting along I-83.  Officially designated an invasive plant, it certainly thrives on our property.  The span from the bee-yard to the highway is thick barrier of wild roses.  Wild roses are also establishing themselves everywhere else that isn’t mowed.  The edges of the yard are a favorite settling place, but they are not averse to popping up in the middle of the herbs, the day lilies or anywhere else I don’t want them. Wild rose trivia:  the average plant can produce 1 million seeds a year, dispersed by birds who eat the rose hips.  The seeds can last twenty years in the soil.  Oh my.

(Note to blog followers:  the fugitive who instigated our recent midnight manhunt did not enter by way of the roses.  If he had, dogs would not have been needed.  He would have been sufficiently tangled amidst thorns.)

A wild rose barrier from the bees to the highway.

Wild roses may  be invasive but there are so many other invasive things growing around here that they are not high on my list of things to tackle.  Unlike, say, poison ivy, they look and smell pretty and don’t give one a rash.  And the bees love them.

Busy little bee working the wild roses

While we inhale the sweet aroma of wild roses blooming in the clear morning light, pollen-laden bees flit from blossom to blossom.  We can almost taste the honey they will be making.  In the background cars whoosh on the highway but we can’t see them.  They are hidden by a screen of rosa multiflora.

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