Burke's Backyard

Fortune Telling with Roses - The French Alternative

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Through the ages people have used many different methods to tell the future. One of Jackie's favourites is the apple pip method used in Ancient Rome. To predict the winner of a horse race, the Romans apparently named each pip after a horse, then spat the pips as far as they could. The one that went the furthest would win the race!

Consult your roses

In Medieval times people consulted roses for guidance in affairs of the heart. A girl in love would pick a rosebud, then place it in a vase by her bed or at her place at the table. If the bud opened, it meant her young man returned her affections and they'd probably be married soon! However, if the petals fell off before the bud opened, there was no future in the relationship. When couples were married the bride and groom would plant a rose bush together. It was said that the marriage would last as long as the rose bush bloomed.

Nowadays we cheat by adding floral extender to the water to make sure our rose buds last long enough to open, and crushing the last few centimetres of the stems before placing them in the vase prolongs the life of the roses. Recutting stems underwater and then immediately putting them into a vase of water can also help revive wilting roses. Just remove a few centimetres from the cut end of the stem using sharp secateurs. Jackie also cheated a little when she and Bryan were married: they planted 'Albertine', the toughest, most vigorous rambling rose they could find!

Further information

Floral extender is available in sachets or larger containers from florists, hardware stores and some supermarkets.

Jackie French's recipe for a delicately flavoured rose essence is featured in the February edition of the Burke's Backyard Magazine, available from newsagents for $4.60.

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