By Bev Johnson

Master Gardener

Valentines day is just around the corner, so you probably thinking about flowers for that special person. Red roses are the first flower that comes to mind for valentine flowers as they symbolize love. Even the guy who can’t tell a mum from a delphinium, knows what a rose is.

Red roses are the most sought after color for valentines day bouquets but, in the language of flowers there may be other colors that can tell her a story. White roses symbolize innocence and purity. Yellow ones for joy and friendship. Light pink roses stand for grace while the dark pink, thankfulness and appreciation. Lavender roses mean enchantment and love at first sight, while the coral and orange ones mean desire. If you mean to send her a message with roses, better include an explanation. So far, there have been no messages linked to roses that are bi colored so if you don’t want to send a message, get those.  

Florists roses have little or no scent with the exception of the lavender ones. They are usually smaller than other colors but if she loves the scent of roses, pick lavender. You may or may not want to tell her what that color suggests.   

Long stemmed roses are the most expensive. Bunkey looks for the medium stemmed ones. Not only are they cheaper, Petunia doesn’t have a vase tall enough for the longer ones so she cuts the stems off. To save a bit more cash, Bunkey pre orders his flowers and picks them up a day before the 14th. On the day, they will be  just opening up as they usually arrive as buds. 

If a dozen roses will empty your billfold, do as Bunkey does, get 6 or even 3 and add baby’s breath and foliage. He adds some white daisies as they not only add to the beauty of the bouquet, they last and last long after the roses have bitten the dust. 

Roses will only last from 5 to 7 days even if you religiously trim the stems every day. Here are a few other tips to get the most out of them. Be sure the vase is immaculately clean. If you can’t reach the bottom with a brush, drop a foaming denture cleaner in a vase full of warm water and leave it all night to clean it. Do use the floral preservatives that come with your bouquet. Forget aspirin, the flowers don’t have a headache. Pennies don’t work either. Change the water every day, or if you notice clouding.

Cut off any leaves that will be below the water as they will just rot. Remove any leaves that are broken. Cut the stems, below water if you can. Use a sharp knife, not a scissors as scissors just smash the stems. Cut at an angle to keep the stems from resting directly on the bottom of the vase. The cooler you can keep the roses, the longer they will last. If, however, the rose starts to “nod” or bend over prematurely, you may be able to get a few more days out of it. Recut the stem then lay the whole rose, horizontally in slightly warm water for several hours.  If most of them are getting sleepy, whack them off above the bended stem and float them in a shallow bowl of water.  Makes a nice centerpiece.     

Have a floriferous Valentine’s day but don’t forget the rest of the year. Fresh flowers can brighten up any day.