Show your love with cut flowers or living plants

Hope you and your yard survived the recent ice storms without too much damage. Our outdoor plant material has really been tested this year with some very cold weather keeping us below freezing for an extended period of several days. The very heavy ice caused a lot of natural pruning on our trees and shrubs, some of which will require some clean up pruning in March before the new growth sprouts for a new year.

Speaking of a new year we will celebrate Valentines Day for 2007 before our next visit and one of the best, time tested ways to show love and affection is to share the beauty of cut flowers or living plants. From the days of Greek mythology we have picked pretty flowers from the hills and valleys to present to our sweethearts. As the years have progressed we started building conservatories and greenhouses to grow more impressive flowers to gift to our sweethearts and now we are able to purchase beautiful and unique flowers from all over the world to express our love. Valentines Day is the largest cut flower holiday in our country and more cut roses, carnations and spring bouquets are sold on this day than any other to express the deep love we share for our spouses and sweethearts. Roses are clearly the most popular Valentine flower and worldwide production usually sells out on this day that celebrates love. The best American and Dutch grown roses draw the highest prices for their limited supplies of long stemmed roses. Worldwide production of cut roses has grown dramatically with huge rose crops produced at favorable altitudes in countries like Ecuador and Columbia that have much lower production costs and still produce beautiful crops and now dominate the United States retail markets and have actually lowered the cost of a dozen roses in recent years on Valentines Day or any other day. Roses still cost more on Valentines than other dates because of supply and demand and since it takes at least two years of production to get a rose crop in flower production from the time a cutting is rooted and the plant is grafted. Growers cannot produce extra roses just for this holiday each year on such a long-term crop. There are hundreds of varieties and colors of roses. Although long stemmed, big budded red roses are the most popular in our country many sweethearts may prefer yellow, pink, white, orange or other colors of roses. In Italy blue roses are the most popular and since there are no true blue roses yet – they take white roses and dye them bright blue with coloring soaked up through the cut stems. There are always some rose novelties or specialty crops to add extra excitement.  This year a new rose is being introduced with stems as long as 6’ topped off with large rose flowers. A Utah company has patented and is marketing a system of personalized roses where they are able to print a custom message on the rose petals, like Rodd loves Dona!,  Be my sweetheart!, Will you marry me? or your message of choice. They are licensing the technology around the world. In my opinion it is hard to top the beauty of roses or any of the other many beautiful flowers and their own natural beauty.

All cut flowers will last longer if you keep them in clean water with a little cut flower food or flower preservative added to extend their vase life. If you get the flowers dry (not in water) make a fresh cut at the bottom of the stem and place them in clean water with preservative as soon as possible. Strip off any foliage or leaves that will be below the water line in order to help keep the water clean longer before you need to change the water. Cut flowers will hold up better if not placed immediately in front of a heater or heat vent and actually will last longer when displayed in a cool room. If your sweetheart prefers daises, amaryllis, bird of paradise, anthuriums or any of the hundreds of other cut flower choices surprise her with a beautiful bouquet of her favorite flowers on this special day when cupid matches lovers. Beautiful flowers help us remind our significant other that they are not taken for granted and are truly special and important to us. Some sweethearts prefer a living plant such as a blooming orchid, miniature rose, blooming tulips, hyacinths, paperwhites, daffodils, kalanchoe, cyclamen or a beautiful houseplant to be cherished for years like a spathiphyllum, dracaena, ficus or other special plant that brings back or creates memories.

 I know some couples who share their love by planting a tree together or selecting a rose bush to add to their yard this spring. There is certainly nothing wrong with giving a beautiful bouquet with chocolates or presenting flowers before you head to a memorable dinner together to make the holiday truly special. We wish you a very happy and special Valentines Day if you are already with the love of your life or we hope that you find true love this year and it adds an extra dimension to your life as your love grows for one another.


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