HE'S the loved-up rose gardener who stole Ipswich's heart but treacherous weather on the weekend means Cec Gleeson has not a single rose in his garden this Valentine's Day.
Cec has been busy turning away would-be suitors who arrived at his Eastern Heights garden with buckets to select a bouquet for Valentines Day after extreme heat fried his plants.
Yesterday afternoon's storm all but destroyed what was left in his garden after Sunday.
His oasis is normally home to 429 bushes in up to 10 varieties of roses and in every possible colour.
Cec said the only rose to survive was on the commemorative pink flower bush, Queen of Hearts, he planted for his late wife Beryl.
He said roses first started to become affected by heat when temperatures were in the low 30s, far below Sunday's tops of 43 degrees.
"The rain was very welcome so my job now is to go around and knock all the dead flowers off," he said.
"Storms are useful in knocking dead leaves off and supplementing the watering I had done."
Cec said some plants had buds on them which meant they could be ready for picking within a week.
Valentines Day is Cec's time to shine every year and he said the attraction to the traditional red rose was as much about science as emotion.
"The red rose tends to have a higher smell and perfume, red is the colour of blood, the colour of the heart," he said.
"Working in the yard is a wonderful source of exercise with the pleasure of seeing something beautiful and scented develop from what was a mere stick with a few roots at the end.
"The main thrill comes when someone's face glows with pleasure when I give them a bunch of my beauties and they have had the first long sniff of their fragrance."
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