Do you enjoy wearing perfume or cologne? If so then give a thought to the ancient Damask Rose that is highly valued for its fragrance and subsequent production of Rose Oil or "Attar of Roses". Introduced to Europe by the returning Crusaders (no not the Canterbury Super 14 team) Damask roses quickly became popular and were widely used by Apothecaries of the day for "medicinal" purposes, with rose water being seen as a cure for almost every ill. I supose if you weren't cured at least you would smell better!
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Today hundreds of fields of Damask roses are still grown in Kazanlik, Bulgaria for the production of Attar of Roses. Can you imagine 3 tonnes of rose petals? That's what it takes to produce just 1kg of rose oil. The petals must be harvested between 5am and 10am as once the heat of the day commences then much of the valuable oil is lost. It must be a wonderful sight to see all the roses in full bloom just before harvesting. So when buying a Damask Rose you know that you are going to be rewarded with a deliciously fragrant rose. David Austin himself acknowledges the role of the Damask Rose in providing perfume for his modern day "English Roses." Other characteristics are subtle, soft grey/green foliage, very thorny shoots and summer flowers in varying shades of pink on short stalks. Many varieties will cope with poor soil and a little light shade. Add a little history to your planting scheme with these sensuous classic beauties.