poetry and prose about place

harvesting colour – rose hips

with 10 comments

All summer, I watched the rose hips ‘developing’ on our bush and wondered if they would provide colour to my dye pot.  The roses are pink in late spring and produce elliptical rose hips, bright orange.


September 22, 2013  'red rose hips from pink roses'   Jane Tims

September 22, 2013 ‘red rose hips from pink roses’ Jane Tims


Last week, I finally harvested the rose berries.  I used scissors to avoid the springiness of the bush and the danger of getting smacked with those thorny branches.


rose hips from my rose bush

rose hips from my rose bush, September 2014


The hips, boiled in water for a couple of hours, created a cloudy orange dye.  And the alum-treated wool?  A pale pinkish-brown.


in background, alum-treated wool dyed with rose hips; in the foreground, spun wool dyed with lichen, beet leaves and alder bark

in background, alum-treated wool dyed with rose hips; in the foreground, spun wool dyed with lichen, beet leaves and alder bark


I have so many shades of brown wool after all my dyeing adventures, this brings into question the idea of ‘best use’ – rose hips are valuable as a source of Vitamin C, can be used in jams, teas and other beverages, and have a potential use in reducing the pain of arthritis.  And I apologize to the Chickadees who were so obviously upset as I picked the bright red berries.


Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

October 1, 2014 at 7:29 am

10 Responses

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  1. Thank you for visiting my blog today, otherwise I wouldn’t have been reminded about the Rosehips.
    On the island and surrounding shores were I grew up, Rosehips grew in abundance and we as family went
    out to harvest them. Agile kids clambering and eagerly filling their buckets.

    Mamma made Rosehip soup that tasted heavenly. She then roasted for a day and saved for winter. We had wonderful source of C-vitamin. No dying though, had never heard of that until now.
    Our rosehips were rounder and bright red.


    Liked by 1 person


    August 13, 2019 at 3:38 am

    • My mom made rosehip jam. The soup sounds interesting. We also strung rosehips for the Christmas tree.


      jane tims

      August 13, 2019 at 7:52 pm

  2. I decided that our rose hips would be shared this year between the chickadees, deer and me! I picked some, seeded and dried some out and also candied some – very tasty! I am going to throw the dried ones into pasta probably as they ended up tasting like sun dried tomatoes rather than sweet like a fruit. The candied ones were really good and are great for munching although I didnt make much – I only wanted to try out some possibilities and most of my hips were already too far gone to use by the time I harvested them. I also got a pink rose hip sugar syrup left over from candying them that i have used in my smoothies and tea. How are rose hips used for arthritis treatment?



    October 17, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    • Hi Lee. Rose hips have lots of vitamin C and anti-oxidants. The candied rose hips should delightful! The pale brown wool I got from my rosehips will be a nice memory-line in my weaving project! Jane


      jane tims

      October 17, 2014 at 3:37 pm

  3. Oh those poor chickadees! You raided “their” garden – I can imagine how upset they were. Once I listened to a chickadee complain frantically when a squirrel started eating the sunflower seeds someone had put out on a stump, intended for him.


    Barbara Rodgers

    October 2, 2014 at 11:10 am

    • Hi Barbara. They were definitely perturbed … a great start for a poem. Glad to hear about your experience that chickadees have an opinion and will express it!!!! Jane


      jane tims

      October 2, 2014 at 11:50 am

  4. It’s amazing how many different shades of beautiful brown you’ve gotten. I see what you mean about best use, though.



    October 1, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    • Hi. The blackberries were also hard to ‘sacrifice’ for the dying. The shades of brown are so diverse – looking forward to using them to weave a runner. Jane


      jane tims

      October 2, 2014 at 10:29 am

  5. I always love your pictures, but the rose hip painting is one of my all-time favorites. I thought of you last week-end. My husband and I gathered, and then hulled, some black walnuts. The brown dye/stain they produce is so pervasive and intense. I can’t remember, is that one of the brown dyes you’ve used as part of your dying experiment?



    October 1, 2014 at 10:34 am

    • Hi. I haven’t used walnut but I know it is a great dye. I did find one walnut seed on our back paths, left by some lazy squirrel, but I don’t know where the tree is. Wish I could have popped over a used your hulls!!! Jane


      jane tims

      October 2, 2014 at 10:27 am

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