Imagine a Rose-Free Valentine’s Day

by Debra Prinzing on January 13, 2010

in The Sustainable Marketplace

The very act of giving flowers to another conveys volumes

Valentine’s Day is inextricably linked with the bouquet of one-dozen, long-stemmed red roses. According to the Society of American Florists, 187 million roses are produced for Valentine’s Day alone.

Holiday demand has pushed up the price of the ubiquitous (but surprisingly scentless) red bud on a long, stiff stem. In mid-February, you can easily spend $100 or more to send a dozen roses.

Flower enthusiasts and floral designers are ready for an alternative – a fresh and authentic option to industrial-grown and imported flowers. Posies grown in our own gardens or purchased from a local nursery, farmer’s market vendor or fair-trade grower are gaining in popularity for holiday gift-giving. It may mean a rose-free Valentine’s Day, but it also supports a more sustainable one.

Here are some romantic & organic flower-giving ideas:

  • Plan ahead and force one dozen hyacinth bulbs or paper white narcissus bulbs in vases along your windowsill. When they bloom, their heady perfume rivals any fragrant rose. Stems can be cut and arranged in a tightly-packed bouquet for gift-giving.
  • Harvest a natural winter bouquet from your garden. Look for delicate flowering branches, winter-blooming shrubs, and early perennials. Gather the blooms and branches in a repurposed container and deliver the bouquet to a sweetheart or friend. Some of the best February blooming plants include camellia, witch hazel, forsythia, winter Daphne and helleborus.
  • Plant a winter annual in a tea cup. An African violet or tiny cyclamen looks charming in a piece of vintage china or a flea market collectible. Use organic potting soil and tuck a 4-inch flowering plant into the cup. The china probably won’t have a drainage hole, so it can be watered lightly with a spray bottle (water the soil area, not the leaves or flowers).

If you or your sweetheart really desires Valentine’s Day roses, seek out companies that supply organic, sustainably-raised and domestically-grown roses. Two of the best sources are Organic Bouquet and David Austin Roses.

–Debra Prinzing

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mari Malcolm February 3, 2010 at 12:02 pm

So delighted to hear about this project, David and Debra. I’ll be eagerly awaiting updates–and I can’t wait to see the book!

Organic and local flowers–especially of the home-grown variety–are in a totally different league of beauty than most of what passes for a bouquet these days. Your suggestions would woo even the most jaded hearts.


Mari Malcolm February 3, 2010 at 12:04 pm

PS: Does your title by any chance come from the lyrics of “Hello, Little Girl” from “Into the Woods”?

Dee/reddirtramblings February 13, 2010 at 1:20 pm

The blog looks wonderful. So glad you got it up and running.

Today, Bill came home with a cyclamen and two “Fresh Cut Roses” candles from Yankee Candle, and they do smell like the real thing (the garden version). I was thrilled.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Anna Flowergardengirl™ February 13, 2010 at 6:10 pm

It’s a very good article–but I jumped up and down when I saw the online book!!! Debra and David–this is what I saw when I spoke up at GWA!!!! BRAVO!!! Awesome site and congrats to you. It’s going to do so well and hugs to both of you. Stunning Book.

Debra February 16, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Hi Mari, Dee and Anna ~ thank you for your wonderfully encouraging comments!
David and I are so grateful for the support and atta-boys/atta-girls from our friends and colleagues, including each of you.
Mari, I didn’t know that “Hello, Little Girl” from “Into the Woods” has floral-related lyrics. My son sang that solo (as the Wolf) in his high school musical last year, so I’ve asked him to give me the lyrics. Maybe they seeped into my brain subconsciously after sitting through 7 performances!
Dee and Anna, thanks for visiting. We hope to post new visual bouquets very soon. Debra and David

debra February 20, 2010 at 9:21 pm

For anyone interested (thanks to Mari’s question), I obtained the lyrics to Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.” Here are the lyrics, from Little Red, who sings in response to the Wolf:
“…still, I suppose, a small delay. Mother might like a fresh bouquet.”

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