Thursday, February 5, 2004

Rating the roses

You might avoid thorny Valentine's Day
issues by finding flowers that will flourish

By Joy Kraft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

(Photos by Brandi Stafford/The
Cincinnati Enquirer)
Valentines sniffed 156 million roses last year on the No. 1 holiday for the nation's florists. And as Cupid draws his bow for this year's targets, roses - mostly red - again will dominate on desks, dressers and dining-room tables.

But how do valentines get the best buds, those with lasting power? Does it matter where you buy them?

Hoping to find out, we ordered six dozen long-stem red roses, specifying only that they be arranged in a vase. Four were ordered from Greater Cincinnati florists, chosen geographically, and two were ordered from Internet sites.

The orders went in on a Monday (Jan. 19) for next-day delivery between noon and 4 p.m. If care directions were included with the flowers, we followed them, and the vases (with names replaced by numbers) were checked every day. Water was added to all vases daily, and the roses were kept out of the sun, not too difficult in an office in January.

Note: Expect to pay more for roses ordered for Valentine's Day. Florists pay a premium to growers for any red or pink flowers for the holiday and pass on the extra cost. Don't forget tax and delivery charges (we found delivery to be about $7.50). In Ohio, delivery charges are taxed, too.

Here's how the roses fared.

Florist Signatures Floral Design, Anderson Twp. 232-5500
Cathy's Florals & Gifts, Crescent Springs (859) 331-6020 SendRoses
(came from Adrian Durban, Clifton)
All About Flowers, White Oak, 741-3660
Peachy's Blossoms, Silverton, 793-2244 1800
, Internet
Price $61.53* $88.28** $60.45* $60.45** $68.90* $78.90** $49.80* $55.99** $58.50* $63.50** $69.98* $79.98**
Care tips Preservative, trim instruc-
No preser-vative, "add water daily" Preservative, trim instructions None None Directions but no preservative
Extras Hand-written card, sword and plumosa ferns, pittosporum filler, organza bow Hand-written card in envelope, baby's breath, sword fern filler, red net bow, vase filled with shredded white foam Printed greeting, baby's breath, sword fern filler Hand-written card in envelope, sword fern filler, baby's breath Printed card, purple limonium filler, no baby's breath Photo showed baby's breath but purple limonium used instead
Appear-ance Most elegant arrangement, 22" high 24" high Full arrange-ment, fullest baby's breath, 24" high Most dramatic presentation – in red tissue paper with big red satin bow, 24" high Looks smaller without baby's breath, 22" high Rich red flowers,
22" high
Lasting power 1 wilted
Day 8
1 wilted
Day 8
2 wilted
Day 8
Half wilted Day 7, tossed
Day 8
3 wilted
Day 3,
6 wilted
Day 4, tossed
Day 6
Dark edges
Day 3,
wilted Day 4, tossed Day 6

*Regular price, tax, delivery **Holiday price, tax, delivery
4 roses: – Excellent; 3 roses – Very good; 2 roses – Good; 1 rose – Fair; 0 roses – Poor


Signatures Floral Design
Signatures Floral Design
Cathy's Florals & Gifts
Cathy's Florals & Gifts
All About Flowers
All About Flowers
Peachy's Blossoms
Peachy's Blossoms
Rose care

If roses arrive in plastic water tubes, remove before arranging.

Snip off leaves that will be under water without cutting through or scraping bark.

Recut stems, cutting diagonally and removing 1-2 inches with a sharp knife.

Place newly cut roses in a clean, deep vase of water containing flower food provided by florist.

Check flower/food solution daily. Replace it entirely if it becomes cloudy.

Keep roses in a cool place, out of direct sun and drafts.

Source: Society of American Florists


Rose facts

Roses lead the Valentine's Day parade, chosen by 57 percent of flower buyers, followed by 24 percent who choose mixed flowers and 8 percent who choose carnations.

Red is the all-time favorite, especially among men who pick red, orange, purple and blue, but 62 percent of women surveyed prefer hues such as yellow, pink, peach and white.

Shakespeare refers to roses more than 50 times throughout his writings.

The oldest living rose, thought to be 1,000 years old, is on a wall of the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany.

Estimated number of roses sold Valentine's Day 2003: 156 million.

The rose hips (the part left on the plant after the rose has bloomed) contain more vitamin C than almost any other fruit or vegetable.

French explorer Samuel deChamplain brought the first cultivated roses to North America.

Of roses purchased, 66 percent are red, 9 percent pink, 4 percent yellow, 5 percent peach/salmon, 1 percent white, 10 percent mixed colors, 2 percent purple/violet and 2 percent other.

Of cut flower purchases, Valentine's Day ranks No. 1 among holidays. It's the No. 1 holiday for florists.

Source: Society of American Florists

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