how to condition

Pat Henry shares how to condition roses to open beautifully and last longer.

Mrs. Pat Henry, of the specialty nursery Roses Unlimited in Laurens, South Carolina, flowered her granddaughter’s wedding using her own special varieties. The bride’s bouquet tied together a mass of old-fashioned roses, punctuated with Queen Anne’s lace and scented geranium leaves. Included roses were ‘Bolero,’ ‘Clotilde Soupert,’ ‘Edina,’ ‘Edith de Murat,’ ‘Faith Whittlesey,’ ‘Iceberg,’ ‘Kronprincessin Viktoria,’ ‘Snowbird,’ and ‘Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria.’

Before assembling the bouquet and other arrangements, Pat Henry specially conditioned the roses so they would open beautifully and last longer. This fastidious conditioning results in perfectly prepared roses. Here’s how to condition roses:

  1. Prepare two bowls of water.
  2. Fill the first bowl with room-temperature water right from the faucet.
  3. Next, fill the second bowl with a quart of very warm water. It shouldn’t be boiling, but it should be hot to the touch.
  4. To that hot water, add a teaspoon of granulated sugar and a few drops of bleach. Then stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Once the bowls are ready, take one rose, put the stem under water in the first bowl, and cut off about a half inch.
  6. Immediately place that rose in the bowl of hot water, then continue until all roses have been cut and placed in the hot water.
  7. Finally, allow the water in the second bowl to cool, and then refrigerate the whole thing, covering the blooms with tissue paper to protect the petals.

BY RYAN GAINEY

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