Valentine’s Day gifts from the heart – and the garden

Don’t look now, but that most romantic occasion of the year,
Valentine’s Day, is just around the corner. While the way to a
man’s heart is usually through his stomach, most women would
probably look at flowers as their path toward romance.
Yes, Valentine’s Day is the busiest day of the year for
florists. Flowers are a welcome gift not only for your sweetheart,
but for friends, relatives or even co-workers. And flowers aren’t
just for women. Many men enjoy receiving flowers almost as much as
women.
Don’t look now, but that most romantic occasion of the year, Valentine’s Day, is just around the corner. While the way to a man’s heart is usually through his stomach, most women would probably look at flowers as their path toward romance.

Yes, Valentine’s Day is the busiest day of the year for florists. Flowers are a welcome gift not only for your sweetheart, but for friends, relatives or even co-workers. And flowers aren’t just for women. Many men enjoy receiving flowers almost as much as women.

Of course, most men I know would prefer to get something more substantial than cut flowers. What comes to mind? Well, I would love to get a top-notch pruning tool, new garden gloves or even a bare-root rose for a Valentine’s Day gift. This is also the time of year for balled-in-burlap shrubs and trees at garden centers. You can find ornamental trees such as Japanese maples, dogwoods and beeches at the lowest price of the year.

Yet, Valentine’s Day gifts for women usually tend toward cut flowers, such as roses. And while red is the most popular color for cut roses, statistics show the majority of women prefer other colors – from salmon to pinks and yellows. But men, who are the primary buyers, prefer red roses. Red after all is the traditional symbol of love.

If you do receive a cut-flower arrangement, there will usually be a floral preservative already in the water. Never dump out the water. Instead, simply add to it. While there are home remedies of soda, Listerine and aspirin, simply add clean room-temperature water. More importantly, try to keep your indoor arrangement away from heat sources, such as direct sunlight from windows, next to the fireplace or on top of the television. The average life expectancy for a bouquet of roses is three to five days, although you might get some to last as long as a week.

If loose stem roses are delivered, give them a fresh cut before placing them in water. Use a clean, sharp knife to get a nice open stem, which will be able to take up water. Then care for them as you would a regular arrangement.

Remember, too, that the gift of flowers should not be limited to just roses. There are hundreds of flowers to choose from. Carnations are a less expensive alternative to roses, and one that lasts longer. And who says that one must give a dozen roses? A single rose or two or three arranged with fern or baby’s breath, makes a beautiful arrangement. Spring bulbs like daffodils and tulips are also wonderful choices.

And while cut flowers are by far the most popular for this holiday, there are potted blooming flowers to choose from. Things like azaleas, cyclamens, hydrangeas and potted bulbs are all available, and can last for several weeks. Some, like azaleas, cyclamen and hydrangeas, can even be planted outdoors in your garden after they’re through blooming, and will provide pleasure for years to come.

Flowers and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand, but flowers are a welcome gift at any time of the year.

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