Roses are red, violets are blue, I give my loved one’s flowers, but how do I do. This sediment is something that many individuals murmur around February 14 or Valentines Day. But giving and caring for flowers is not as hard as it may seem compared to what Saint Valentine went through for couples.
There are several legends that describe how Valentine Day got started. One legend describes Valentine as a priest who lived in third century Rome. During this time period Emperor Claudius II believed that single men could be better soldiers if they were not married. So he had marriages of young men outlawed but Valentine continued to marry young men in secret. When this was discovered, Valentine was arrested and sentenced to death.
While the priest was in prison it is rumored that he sent the first “valentine.” to a girl he had fallen in love with at the prison. He signed this valentine “From your Valentine.” But this first valentine has been lost to the ages and cannot be found. The oldest valentine still in existence today was penned by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was still in prison in the Tower of London.
It is believed that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in February to remember the anniversary of Valentine’s death. Others feel that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in February so that the pagan Luperculia Festival could be “christianized.” But in France and England, February 14 is believed to be the beginning of birds’ mating season and in doing so created the idea of a day for romance or Valentine’s Day.
But regardless of how or why Valentine’s Day was created it has become a national holiday. So suitors give cards while others give chocolate but one of the biggest sellers for Valentine’s Day are flowers.
When considering giving flowers think about the message you want to send. This message can be translated as a written note but also can be communicated by the color of flowers that are chosen. This non-verbal communication of flower color is equal to that of males flexing muscles or demonstrating some valued characteristic without words. The color red is the universal symbol of love, desire, lust devotion and beauty. It is also represents heat, fire, and strength of an individual or in other words red demonstrates a strong character that is viewed as a valuable trait to mammals. Pink, on the other hand, is very close to red but is more modest. It translates interest, grace, gentility, and happiness. Orange is interpreted as showing excitement, exuberance and enthusiasm while blue represents dignity, serenity, and calmness. Friendship, joy, and lightheartedness is represented by the color yellow and white demonstrates purity and innocence. Purple and lavender both are translated as representing royalty, pride, and success with lavender being the younger version.
Once you decide what message you want to send to that special someone, the next step is securing your flowers. Many different companies sell flowers through the computer and every town or city has a local flower shop. But if you really want to make a statement, pick your own flowers from a local flower supply company or even the local grocery store. Doing so help to guarantee that you get what you want and that the flowers are as fresh as possible.
When picking your own flower inspect the stem and flower bloom. Make sure the stem is not broken or too short for the container you plan to use. Also make sure that the bloom is tight. This will guarantee that the receiver will enjoy the whole process of the flower opening.
Next either arrange your flowers yourself or take to an individual that is trained in floral arrangements. Some high schools, and trade schools offer floral design classes and can give you a list of individuals trained in this skill. But if you plan to do your own arranging, stick with a free-form style that looks great in a beautiful vase.
To begin this process, arrange all plant material that will be used. You will need your main flowers such as roses, tulips, and/or carnations. If the flower stem is woody, make sure to place the area where you want to cut under cool running water and cut at an angle with a sharp knife. Then place in a vase filled with 2-inches of warm water. Continue this process until all main flowers are in vase. Then fill in with filler material such as baby’s breath and/or leatherleaf. Once the flowers are placed in the vase and arranged the way you like and add floral preservative. But if you do not have any floral preservative the solution is can be created with household ingredients.
A floral preservative contains a biocide that kills bacteria, yeast and fungi in the water. It also contains an acid that aids in moving the water up the stem and sugar as a food source. To make a homemade version, combine a biocide with an acid and a sugar. A biocide is either a ½ teaspoon of bleach or 1 penny to one quart of water. To this add a acid that is either an aspirin or 2 tablespoons lemon juice to one quart of water or place one part non-diet lemon-lime soda or light-colored soda to three parts of water. The last component of this homemade floral preservative is the sugar. Simply place 1 tablespoon of sugar per quart of water. Once your floral preservative is mixed and placed in the vase, move your arrangement to a cool room that has limited sunlight exposure. To get the most out of your arrangement, remove flowers, make a fresh cut, and place fresh floral preservative back into the vase.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mindy McIntosh-Shetter has been an Agricultural Science educator, and is a horticulture and/or environmental blogger who earned a degree from Purdue University in Agriculture Education with a minor in biology, and natural resources. Presently she is finishing up her Masters in Environmental Education and Urban Planning for the University of Louisville while working on her own agriculture/environmental blog.