Fall Projects for Roses

You have been enjoying the Rose Garden all summer, watching the lovely flowers bloom and smelling their luscious fragrance. Now you are left with the coming of fall and the bloom is off the Rose. You have a house full of fallen petals from those lovely stalks you had in vases. You have a garden covered in pretty red, pink and yellow petals as your plants thin down, preparing for the colder, darker days ahead. You are thinking about raking them up but maybe just let them scatter. DON’T! Get busy and gather them all up. Don’t throw them out and let them fly off in a gust. There are many wonderful things you can make using these Rose petals, leaves and stems! They will make fodder for fascinating fall projects during the boring, indoor days you must now face. The beach and the sun may be fading, but the flowers are about to take over your life.

There are many ways you can use Roses. I know you already use them to decorate your home, to make potpourri, to show your loved ones how much you love them, as gifts. Some of you may even grow them for showing or for sale. But most of us just love to look at them as they bloom, smell them on the wind and pluck them for the vases on our summer patios. But consider this. You can make food, cosmetics, jewelry and even liqueurs out of the remains of your garden. So how do you do this you ask? Well, here some recipes for you to dive into this fall. Just remember to gather up all those stems, leaves and petals now before the wind carries them away. Remember to look at the bottom of this post for directions on how to dry Roses correctly.

Cooking with Roses

Many of you may have heard of roses in desserts or drinks before; you might have seen them on other blogs and may even have a recipe or two. Even so, here are a few you can add to your files. For those of you who have never heard of such a thing, dive in. This is delicious stuff.

Rose Petal Jam

You will need:

1 lb fresh Rose Petals
6-8 Rose Scented Geranium Leaves
3 cups Sugar
1 1/4 cups Water
3 tbsp Lemon Juice

Pick off the white bases from the Rose Petals. Discard any damaged or discolored Petals. Keep only the best!! Wash and dry these Petals and the Geranium Leaves carefully. Wash thoroughly with cool water and then pat dry. The easiest way to do this is to place them in a strainer and run water over them until it runs clear.

Place the Petals and Leaves into a glass or ceramic bowl. Stir in half the Sugar. Mix the Sugar into the Petals and Leaves really well and then cover the bowl. Leave for 2 days, stirring occasionally. After two days, discard the Geranium Leaves.

Put the remaining Sugar, Water and Lemon Juice into a cooking pan and heat over medium heat. Heat only until the Sugar dissolves. Do not boil. Stir in the Rose Petal mixture. As soon as the Sugar has completely dissolved, turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil rapidly for 20 minutes and stir occasionally until the Jam reaches setting point. The thickness of the jelly should be consistant and firm.

Spoon the warm Jam into Mason Jars and lock. Allow to cool in a dry, dark place. Don’t forget to label. After the first use, refrigerate.

Rose Petal Vinegar

You will need:

Large Glass Bottle with Stopper
Large Glass Jar with Lid
1/2 cup Bleach
32oz White Distilled Vinegar
3 cups Fresh Rose Petals

The perfect large Glass Bottle with Stopper is a used Wine Bottle with a cork. Check to be sure the cork is not damaged or cracked. If so, replace it. First, you must prepare your Wine Bottle for safe use. Fill a sink full of boiling hot water and the 1/2 cup Bleach. Sink your Wine Bottle(s) into the bleach water and leave there until the water is cold. Rinse the bottle thoroughly as many times as necessary to remove the bleach smell. There should be nothing but a clean scent to the bottle, no trace of wine or bleach should remain. If the bottle has any smell at all, repeat the hot water and bleach process.

Once the bottle is clean, set it aside. Clean up the glass jar with lid for use. Put all of the fresh Petals into the Glass Jar. Pour the Vinegar into the Glass or Ceramic Cooking Pot and heat over medium heat. Watch closely. As soon as the first bubbles appear at the bottom of the pot, pour the hot Vinegar into the Glass Jar, covering the Rose Petals entirely. Tighten the lid on the Glass Jar and place it in a cool, dark place like a closet. Leave it there for 4 weeks.

After the 4 weeks, remove the jar and strain out the liquid through the wire strainer or cheesecloth. Remove all of the petals from the liquid until it runs clear. The Vinegar will be lightly Rose tinted. Now pour the Vinegar into the Glass Wine Bottle and stopper with the cork. Keep refrigerated.

Rose Petal Butter

You will need:

4 large handfuls of fresh Rose Petals
1 cup Unsalted Butter
Clean Pottery Jar or Ceramic Container

This is a very simple recipe but the results are very nice. Rose Petal Butter is exceptionally good on Croissants and Crepes.

Put a thick layer of the Rose Petals into a pottery jar or ceramic container. Lay the block of Butter on this bed and cover it and surround it with the remaining Petals.

Cover and leave this overnight in a cool place. In warm temperatures, put it in the fridge.

In the morning, remove the Petals from the jar and snip off the white heels from the Petal bases. These heels are bitter to the taste. Spread some of this Butter on Brown Bread and then top with some of the Rose Petals. Delicious!!

Heavy Cream can be flavored this very same way.

Roses as Cosmetics

There is a grand tradition in the use of Roses as everything from perfume to shampoo. One of the very first perfumes ever made was Attar of Roses. This is no longer as trendy as it once was, with women opting for more of the spicier scents and less of the florals. But Roses still have a great role to play in the making of luscious, opulant cosmetics. The kind of creams, lotions and rinses that make you feel pampered and spoiled. Try some of these and enjoy real luxury on a dime.


You must make Rosewater. You will need it to make your cosmetics, to use in your cooking, to scent your potpourri and as a quick perfume or facial toner. Once you make up Rosewater, the uses for it will seem endless. Besides, it’s easy!

You will need:

Lots of Fresh Rose Petals.. as many as you like for as much Rosewater and you might want to make!! On average, 4 oz of Rosewater will require 4 cups of fresh Rose Petals.

Choose the most aromatic of the freshly bloomed Roses, choosing one color at a time to create consistancy of the coloring the Rosewater will acquire. The most favored color is, of course, Pink. For a lightly tinted pink Rosewater, select only Pink, Red or Blush Roses, in all of their variations. For a perfectly clear Rosewater, choose White Roses. For a dark Rosewater, choose Red, Purple, Maroon, Black or Orange Rose Petals. To give the water a darker, richer color, use a rusted cooking pan.

To make the Rosewater, pile up all the Petals in a pot. You do not need to dry them first but you might want to rinse them thoroughly or the straining later on could be difficult, especially if the petals are dirty or sandy.

After you have washed the petals and placed them in the pot, cover them with water. I would choose distilled water, purified water or sparkling water from a fresh aquifer. The cleaner the water, the fresher the Rosewater. Also, if you choose a sparkling or bubbly water, most of that will be lost in the process. After covering the Petals with water, warm them slowly over low heat. Allow to infuse completely for 20- 30 minutes or until the water has colored. For a stronger Rosewater, you may simmer the petals until the water has reduced, add more water and repeat the process several times until what you have left is a very dark, very aromatic, richly colored Rosewater.

When the water has reached the color and aroma of your liking, set it aside and allow it to cool. After cooling, strain out the petals and debris over a wire strainer or cheesecloth. When the water is clean and clear, it is READY. Bottle it up or jar it as you like. Leave in the refrigerator for a zingy cool splash!

Light Rose Moisture Cream

You will need:

1 tsp Beeswax
1 tsp Lanolin
1 tbsp Almond Oil
1/2 tsp Wheat Germ Oil
1/8 tsp Borax
3 tbsp Rosewater
6 drops Oil of Rose
Red Food Coloring, if desired

You may make your own Rosewater for this recipe if you wish. For a superior overall product, use distilled or purified water.

To make the cream, start by melting the Beeswax and Lanolin together in a glass or ceramic pot over low heat. Stir this constantly while melting.

In another glass pot, warm the Oils gently over low heat. Then add the warm Oils to the Beeswax mixture, gradually whipping them into the Wax until creamy. In a glass container in the Microwave, warm the Rosewater. Dissolve the Borax in the warm Rosewater and then slowly add it to the Oil and Wax mixture. Make sure the Borax is COMPLETELY dissolved first. As you add this, whip the mixture constantly and continue to whip it as it cools down. As soon as the mixture begins to thicken and get really creamy, add in the Rose Oil and continue to mix it in really well.

Allow the mixture to cool and when it does, it should be a creamy scented mixture that is easy to spoon. Spoon it into containers. Pretty glass or ceramic containers with lids are perfect. Refrigerate for long keeping.

Glycerin and Rosewater Hand Cream

You will need:

4 tbsp Vegetable Glycerin
4 cups fresh Rose Petals
1 cup distilled or purified water
4 tbsp Corn Starch
Oil of Rose

First of all, you must make the water base for the cream. Put the 4 cups of Rose Petals and the 1 cup of water together in a ceramic or glass pot. Warm slowly over medium low heat. Allow this to simmer for 30 minutes. Watch it carefully and make sure it does not boil.

After 30 minutes, strain out the fresh petals through a wire mesh or cheesecloth strainer. Make sure there is no debris, no petals, dirt or sand in the water. Strain it several times if need be.

Place the scented water back in the pot. Add in the Glycerin and Corn Starch. Place this pot over a double boiler and heat it slowly until it thickens.

Allow the mixture to cool. When it is cool to the touch, add in the Oil of Rose. Stir the mixture really well and then spoon it into jars or bottles. Keep for use as you need it.

Household Uses

There are all kinds of ways to use Roses creatively around the home other than in arrangements, potpourri or incense. Although these are great uses for the lovely flower and all of us enjoy them immensely, here are some out of the box ideas for you to consider.

Lovers Rose Pillow

You will need:

4 parts dried Violet Flowers
3 parts dried Rose Petals
1 part dried Orris Root
1 Tonka Bean
Nylon or Muslin Fabric Scraps

This pillow is guaranteed to stimulate the Romantic senses and encourage a night of Love and Rapture!! Or so the Victorians say. It was sold as an aphrodisiac in more Romantic times among the European Gentry.

For this project, you can use an existing pillow or make one of your own. Either way, you must make an opening in the side seam of the pillow that can be sewn over invisibly and be secure. Some crafters prefer to add a zipper for future access. It depends upon your intended use for the Pillow. Zippers can be intrusive.

Never mix the Herbs directly into the pillow you will feel the crunch when you lay or sit upon it!! Always put the herbs into small pouches which can mix easily with the stuffing.

First, age this mixture just a bit by blending all of the ingredients and leaving them in a tightly stoppered jar overnight. In the morning, stuff the Nylon or Muslin scraps with the herbs and tie them off with thread, rubber bands or ribbons. Once you have several small bags, you can begin stuffing them into the pillow, being careful to position them in places where they will not be damaged or easily felt.

When the scent fades, replace the bags with fresh ones.

Rose Infusion Astringent Gargle

You will need:

2 tbsp fresh Rose Petals
2 tbsp fresh Rose Leaves
1 tsp dried Plantain Weed
2 tsp dried Rosemary
2 cups of Boiling Water

This mouthwash and gargle is astringent, antiseptic and soothing. It will help heal a sore throat and to some extent, quiet a cough.

Put all of the Plant materials in a tall glass container with a wide mouth. Pour over with the boiling water and allow it to infuse for 30 minutes, until cool.

Strain all of the plant materials out of the water and pour the infusion into a glass container for keeping. You may refrigerate this for long shelf life but you should always heat it up in the microwave before gargling. Add Honey at that time if you like. Gargle with this infusion while hot and as often as you like.

Rose Pomander

You will need:

8oz of dried Rosebuds
3 feet of Ribbonor decorative Cord
Medium Floral Wire
3 inch Florist Foam Ball
Craft Glue or Glue Gun
Green Cardamom Pods (optional)

Start by folding your cord or ribbon in half and attaching it to the crown of the foam ball with a length of florist wire. Tack it down firmly. Hold it up and see if the length looks good. If it’s too long, cut it. But remember you might want to tie it into a pretty bow when you are done.

Push each of the Rosebuds into the floral foam deeply until they seem set. As you go, you may add in glue here and there to be sure they stay set. A good way to do this is to make the impression with the rosebud and then remove it, fill the impression with a dab of glue and replace the bud. This is a slow but sure process. As you go, you should intersperse the Rosebuds with the Cardamon Pods. This gives the pomander a different look. It’s up to you. Some people like it just with the Roses. Experiment. Once you have all the Roses and Pods in place, set the pomander in a safe place to dry. This should only take a day or two, at most.

After the pomander is dry, test the cord and make sure it hangs firmly.

Rose Jewelry

Rose Beads

Chop up fresh Red and Pink Rose Petals. As you chop, they will release their oils. Choose a rusty pan (if you have one) and fill it with water. The Rust will give the Rose Petals a beautiful dark color. Dump in the Rose Petals. Make sure the Petals are just covered by the water and not steeped in it. Remove or add water as needed until they are just barely covered. Heat this mixture for 1 hour on medium heat but DO NOT BOIL. If it starts to bubble, lower the heat! After an hour, set this pan aside and cool for 24 hours.

Repeat this process four times ( for 4 days).

When the petals have formed a pulp, damp your hands in Rosewater and ball up the pulp into small beads. Roll these wet beads in any spice of your choosing. Cinnamon, Cloves or Nutmeg are perfect. Thread with a darning needle onto a thick thread until you have a chain of beads. Tie together and leave to dry in a warm place.

Originally, Rose Beads (Rosaries) were made with 165 Rose Petal Beads.

Rosebud Necklace

You will need:

100 dried Rosebuds
Thick Sewing Thread or Thin Fishing Line
Darning Needle or Large Sewing Needle
Liquid Glycerin or Glycerin Spray

Using the Darning Needle and Thick Thread, start by peircing a Rosebud at the base, just above the stem and just below the leaves. Do not peirce above the leaf base of the Bud or you will cause the Bud to fall apart. Try to peirce each Rosebud in exactly the same place.

Thread them all together in this fashion, one Bud at a time, so that they splay out away from the necklace and do not align in a straight line. It should have a fanned appearance as you go. When you are done peircing and threading every Bud, tie off the string. You may add a clasp if you like. Do this by tieing one on. This works best with the thin Fishing Line.

Once the Rosebuds are all strung on the necklace, spray them carefully with the Glycerin or dip them one at a time in a Glycerin bath. Do not lay the Rosebuds out flat or you will have a flat side to the Glycerin coat. It is better to hang them securely from a spot where the excess Glycerin will drip off. Do this in a breezy area so that the coat will dry quickly and not all run off.

This effect should be a clean, shiny Rosebud necklace. The Glycerin will preserve the Rosebuds for years to come and keep the necklace from dirt and damage.

Tips for drying Roses

After gathering the Roses and making sure they are not dewy or moist, you can set them aside for your project. Some will require complete drying, which will take time, but not much bother. There are several ways to dry Roses. The method you use will depend upon whether you use parts of the Rose or the entire Rose in your project. Rose Leaves can be dried very easily in a sunny window. Leave them on paper or cloth in the sunlight for several days. They should be crisp and still green. DO NOT dry Rose Leaves in a microwave or oven because the chances are they will dry to a crumbly crisp rather than a firm crisp and lose most of their color.

Rosebuds that have not opened and bloomed Roses cannot just be left in the window. This method of drying is too slow and will not keep the Rose from dropping it’s petals or leaves. To keep the Rose in it’s entirety is a special art. But not to worry… it is NOT difficult at all. Roses to be used in Potpourri should be dried along with the other herbs and additives. Rose Petals can be added directly to any potpourri mix and do not need to be dried first. Here are some methods for drying:

Fill a container full of Borax, Sugar and Salt. 1/3 of each in a large pan. Fill it up enough to cover your Roses. Sink the Rosebuds or Blooms into the powdery mix and stow it away in a dark place. In a few days, when you lift the buds or blooms, they will be paper dry. If you have reason to need an entire Rose, bloom, stem and leaves in entirety, then you should lay them down on this same mix and dust them over carefully until the entire flower and stem are covered. Leave them until they are paper dry. This method will not retain a great deal of the Rose Scent and should not be used for projects which require the scent. To retain the scent of the Rose after drying, use the quicker method of drying.

To dry an entire Rose really quickly, in a day or two, without losing it’s scent or petals, you should use a combination of silica gel crystals and silver sand. Use enough of each of fill a medium to large container that can be closed tightly. You may use the silica gel crystals just as they are or you can grind them up in a blender, it’s up to you. Layer in an inch of silica gel and silver sand at the bottom of the container. Drop in the Rose or Roses you want to dry. Layer in over the Rose, gently, more silver sand and silica until it is covered. Add in other Roses as you go until you have layered all of the Roses with sand and silica. This might take two containers or more. Leave for a day or two until the plants are dry. You should recharge the silica/sand preparation after each drying by laying the mixture out on a pan and drying slowly in a warm oven.

Ready to dive in?  Want to do some more crafting and cooking with Roses? Check out my little ebook full of recipes and projects HERE

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    […] Fall Projects for Roses « Harmony Green Roll these wet beads in any spice of your choosing. Cinnamon, Cloves or Nutmeg are perfect. Thread with a darning needle onto a thick thread until you have a chain of beads Tie together and leave to dry in a warm place. Roses to be used in Potpourri should be dried along with the other herbs and additives. Rose Petals can be added directly to any potpourri mix and do not need to be dried first. Here are some methods for drying: […]

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