Valentine Flowers …

Posted on February 5, 2011

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 Valentine’s Day

Here’s hoping that green becomes the new red on Valentine’s Day.  Every year, I get uneasy about all the dozens of roses sold in markets across the U.S.  I know most are shipped in from countries in  South America, where questions of dangers in pesticide overuse and human-rights issues of underpaid workers, as well as the wisdom of waiving import taxes to support non-drug producing trade there leans heavily to out-compete our domestic growers. As a love token,  I’d much rather receive something not so guilt-ridden, grown and marketed locally by people in my own community … a love that will last.

For folks in Kentucky, the timing is tricky when it comes to viable alternatives.  Garden centers have not yet geared up for the new growing season with the sort of floral displays that the iconic dozen long-stemmed American Beauty roses  represents.  It’s simply too cold here right now for most outdoor plants to succeed at producing Valentine sparkle.  That leaves  indoor selections as prime possibilities.  Think roots and pots as well as lfoliage and blossoms.  Look for greenery you can add a bit of glitz to, like a classic bonsai tree or fern hung with tiny hearts bearing handwritten love notes.  Some indoor plants, including orchids and cyclamen have that ‘wow’ factor, too, with lives that extend longer than cut stems.  Visit your local florist, and look beyond the cut-flower cases.   A trip explore local greenhouses, like Michler’s Florist on Euclid Avenue (click) is as restorative as a spa visit, with its lush greenery and tropical, humid atmosphere.  Owner John Michler suggests putting together some spring bulbs like miniature shining yellow Tete-a-Tete daffodil blooms with purple grape hyacinths in a decorative planter; even after the flowers fade, the bulbs and greenery can be kept growing and planted outdoors in a month or two, for reblooming next year. 

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