Saturday, June 03, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 13, 1444 H
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Al Jabal Al Akhdhar is now a pink paradise as roses bloom

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The flora of Oman is highly diverse and varied, with over 1,200 species of plants recorded. The country has a unique climate, with a hot and arid desert environment, and the vegetation that thrives in the country often reflects these conditions.

Considered the queen of flowers, roses are admired for their beauty and fragrance. The Damask rose is one of the most significant and well-known rose cultivars, valued for its distinctive scent and application in the perfume business. In Oman, it has become an important part of the country’s tradition and culture, with the best varieties only growing in the rocky, high-altitude valleys of Al Jabal Al Akhdhar.

As one wanders through the rose gardens of Oman during this time of the year, it is easy to be mesmerised by the sweet scent permeating the air. From mid-March to mid-April, the rose bushes in about six to eight villages of Al Jabal Al Akhdhar are usually in full bloom. This “rose bloom” season has in fact become a tourist draw for these villages.

The harvesting process for the roses is done entirely by hand. If you’re visiting for the purpose of watching a whole village go on a harvest frenzy, the best time to come would be early in the morning before the heat of the day. From previous experiences, some farmers actually start harvesting as early as five in the morning and are usually finished by nine am.

The variety of roses growing in Al Jabal Al Akhdhar is often referred to as “Damask roses,” belonging to a type of ancient rose that originated in the Middle East and was first cultivated in Syria during the Roman period. The Oman rose, which some also call the rock rose, is known for its distinct aroma, which is described as sweet and musky with a hint of spice. The one grown in Al Jabal Al Akhdhar, Rosa damascena trigintipetala, is said to have a higher oil content, making it an essential ingredient in the perfume industry, as well as a great raw ingredient for medicines and even culinary applications.

Some experts also share that the rose petals used in Omani rosewater have a more potent scent compared to other regions, and this is due to the unique climate of the mountain, including the soil, working in tandem to create a powerful, useful variety.

Visiting some of the villages that process these roses, it is easy to understand that the damask roses of Al Jabal Al Akhdhar are different, especially in their blooming period, with the flowers lasting for several weeks, unlike other roses. Villagers believe that when used as medicine, these roses can also relieve stress and anxiety, alleviate menstrual cramps, and aid in digestion.

If you’re planning to visit Al Jabal Al Akhdhar during this period, it is important to have a good understanding of which villages are in full bloom and ready for harvest.

As a visitor, the farmers are usually very warm and welcoming and would even allow you to participate in the rose-picking process and even show you how the rosewater is distilled.

The rose gardens in Oman are a must-see if you are a nature lover who enjoys the outdoors and sweet scents. It’s fascinating to learn more about Oman rose because of its distinctive smell and significant cultural history.

The annual rose season is an excellent opportunity to witness the traditional practices of rose harvesting and distillation and experience the cultural events that celebrate this beautiful flower. Plan a vacation to Oman this spring to experience the captivating beauty of the Oman rose.

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