Roses and memories

Do you have any favourite roses that bring back memories?

Since we often give flowers to mark a special occasion it is not perhaps surprising that a particular flower brings back memories long after the event.

It seems that roses are at the top of the list for evoking memories and there is some scientific evidence.

Psychologist Professor Martin Conway of City University London is a specialist in memory.  He has investigated which flowers stimulated neurones to evoke the strongest memories. From his findings he developed a Gold, Silver and Bronze list of flowers linked to the most potent memories.

Guess what? Roses are at the top of the Gold list.

Angela Pawsey, one of the current generation of the Cant family running the family business, has fond memories of particular varieties of rose developed by the company.

They include “Just Joey” developed in 1972 and when the family was considering what to call it her brother, and co-director, Roger suggested naming it after his wife, Joey. To which their father queried “Just Joey?” and this became its name. This rose still is the best seller and remains a family favourite.

Two other roses in the Cants Roses collection also have family links. They are two named after Roger’s daughter Sally when she was a small child.  One is called Sally’s Rose, the other is English Miss. Then there is Jenny’s Rose, named after the daughter of Martin, the third of Cants’ sibling directors.

What can you do if you can’t bear to part with cut flowers you have been given?

It used to be fairly common to preserve flowers by pressing them between sheets of blotting paper until they had dried out and for those who want to preserve them without flattening them there are two modern methods you can try, air drying and microwaving them.

Air drying involves hanging the flowers in in a bunch, upside down, before they start to wilt. You need to remove most of the leaves and leave them somewhere well-ventilated and if you want to preserve their colours, make sure you hang them out of the sun. The amount of time it takes for them to dry depends on the surroundings, for example the airflow, temperature and humidity and also the type of flower.

Microwaving is faster though not as effective for preserving colour as air dying. Position the flowers with a half-inch stem facing up in a drying agent and sprinkle more of the agent on top of it, again the drying agent should be a half inch deep. Place them and a bowl of water in the microwave and turn them every 30 seconds.  It takes some trial and error because drying times will vary with the type of flower but on average roses will take about three minutes.

Your rose cultivation tips for June

June is probably the first month in which you will begin to see the fruits of your labour.

However, keep an eye on newly-planted roses, as in dry periods they will need to be watered, and also continue a disease preventative spraying programme, and when necessary fight green fly and other insects with an insecticide.

Continue to plant containerised roses.

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