I’ve worked in Care Management for some years, in various teams and with various client groups and this project is very similar in supporting people through their personal journey with dementia. I  was making some biscuits this week and in recognition of a very strong theme from this work, I iced them as roses.

This strong theme emerged from women contemplating leaving their homes for sheltered or care settings. ‘What about my rose garden?’ I heard several times.

At first, I silently wondered ‘What about it? Surely it’s more important that you can get to the bathroom?’ but very quickly, I started to understand.

In my lifetime, I’ve been fortunate (and loved) enough to be gifted bush roses when leaving much loved teams for a new job, for birthdays, anniversaries and the names of them are often chosen with care (birthday girl, fragrant dreamer). And I’ve rooted some from gifted cut flowers.

It’s easy to imagine a woman collecting roses in all similar circumstances, her life milestones, the birth of her children, her wedding bouquet, from her garden in her childhood home, from her Mother’s and Grandmother’s  gardens… the buttonhole from her son’s wedding, perhaps? A single rose from a boyfriend, a bouquet from Valentine’s Day.

My Grandmother used to take cuttings from everywhere she went! She’d always have a snippet of rare plant in her pocket.

Some people diarise with words, some with photographs and film, even some through Facebook but some people have diarised their lives with roses and this is something to be appreciated and valued, like the entire life stories left behind in rose gardens.

If you are fortunate enough to move into a home blessed with a rose garden, please love them for the secrets and memories they hold. And if you know anybody leaving behind such treasures, why not root their favourites for pots or window boxes in their new home?

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