Every February 14th, people around the world celebrate Valentine's Day, and flowers are a common gift.
It is also big business, generating massive revenue for florists, restaurants and jewelers. In 2020, $27 billion was spent on Valentine’s Day in the United States alone.
Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day? There are quite a few theories, but most seem to focus on one of three saints named Valentine. Whoever was the namesake, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as the official Valentine’s Day back in the 5th Century. It supposedly honors the day Saint Valentine was beheaded! Not too romantic! In Chaucer’s day, English birds paired off to produce eggs in February. Soon, nature-minded European nobility began sending love notes during bird-mating season. Again, not too romantic.
By the middle of the 18th century, handwritten notes and other signs of affection was a common Valentine’s Day custom in England. Now, approximately 114 million cards are sent out each Valentine’s Day. Last year over 250 million roses were sold, with almost 70% being red.
The rose became the flower of valentine’s day because of its affiliation with Aphrodite, the goddess of love. It is said that the rose bush grew from the tears of Aphrodite and the blood of Adonis, her lover. The tradition of giving Valentine’s Day flowers dates back to the late 17th century, during the reign of King Charles II of Sweden. During a trip to Persia, King Charles II was exposed to a new art—the language of flowers. The color of the roses given had great significance.
Red is the symbol of love—thus the popularity of the red rose. Yellow rosessymbolize either friendship and care, or jealousy and greed. Lavender – fascination and adoration; Pink – admiration and appreciation; White – innocence; new beginnings, remembrance; Peach – thanks and gratitude; Orange – Passion, Energy and fascination; Green roses – best wishes, harmony; Blue roses -mystery and illusion, desire; Black roses – mystery or elusiveness; Multicolored roses – happiness and joy.
Roses are traditional, but there are plenty of other flower options to choose from. If you want a bouquet that will last a bit longer, consider alstroemeria lilies,
carnations or a mixed bouquet. Tulips also come in a wide array of colors, and mixed with hyacinths they add fragrance as well as color.
You can find a wide variety of cut flowers in red, pink and white. How you treat cut flowers will definitely determine how long they last.
Fresh water is the most vital factor for success. If feasible, recut the stems every day or two and change out the water if it becomes cloudy. Cut flowers will last longer in cooler locations—think of where a florist stores their cut flowers—in a cooler. A warm, sunny location will shorten their life. If you are arranging the stems in a vase, remove any leaves off the stalk that will be in the water. Leaves tend to promote bacterial growth and can make the water cloudy.
In addition to cut roses, give a gardener a potted rose bush—and perhaps offer to help plant it! Consider a flowering indoor plant-- cyclamens,
will all last a long time and be an added spot of color inside for weeks or months.
Valentine’s day is celebrated by countries all over the world in different ways. And while fresh flowers are a tradition on this day in the US, a gift of flowers can brighten any day! Happy Valentine’s Day!