Mires Beck was approached by a representative for AS Apothecary during the summer of 2020. The company was looking to find a northern location, warm enough to grow roses needing to venture from their Sussex home in the south due to a relocation of the owners business to Scotland. The approach was made as Mires Beck was known about as a large nursery with land in the area and ideally being situated halfway up the country for the owner to visit. Discussions went ahead as to how we could make this possibility a reality and as talks progressed, we decided to collaborate to bring the roses and their harvesting centrally into the story of Mires Beck. We have been working to prepare the Anniversary Garden beds to be their new home and the first steps of spring 2021 will see the planting of the roses and by 2022 we will have a lovely garden to visit at the nursery, which will be renamed as The ASA Rose Garden.
The opportunity for our service users to join in the harvesting of the rose petals each year offers the wonderful experience for touch and smell, both senses we talk about regularly in our therapeutic approach to horticulture, but also will enhance their learning to understand the process of how the oil from the roses and the lavender turns into product for sale. We seek to deliver new learning opportunities to our service users as often as we can with each of our new projects and this is an exciting prospect for an annual activity and cause for celebration. https://www.miresbeck.co.uk/the-charity/about-us/
Our First Harvested Roses!
In our ASA Rose Garden recently, we have seen our first roses bloom! Below are roses that have already been harvested by the AS Apothecary team in our garden:
Our Elizabethan Theme
The rose has been central to Elizabethan symbolism : the first Queen Elizabeth having a rose as her emblem. Roses were significant in Elizabethan gardens, for their scent, beauty and powers of healing. Medicinal benefits of roses included "strengthening of the heart, and refreshing of the spirit" (John Gerard, 1597).
Roses have been fundamental to gardening since the first Elizabethan period when Shakespeare was writing.
Roses, like many flowers, feature symbolically throughout Shakespeare's work. They symbolise true, unmistakeable beauty and worth, described by Juliet (in Romeo and Juliet): "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet".
For Shakespeare, roses symbolised the beauty and intoxication of love, with hidden pain represented by thorns. Shakespeare alludes to the fading beauty of roses, and suggests (in A Midsummer Night's Dream) that a rose is better plucked at its peak of perfection, and stilled into long lasting perfume, than left to fade. This makes me feel less of a vandal when I pick the roses as they open to perfect flowers, and dry them ready for distilling.
Amongst our roses in the garden at Mires Beck are William Shakespeare and Falstaff. Beautiful deep red roses with old rose fragrances. We also have a very old variety, Rosa Mundi, which dates from Elizabethan times. I agree with Emilia in Two Noble Kinsmen: for me "Of all flowers, me thinks a rose is best".