2011-02-04 / Columnists

The Diary Of A Green Thumb

Where Do Your Valentine Roses Come From
Commentary By Danielle, Danielle’s Rockaway Florist

Many of you will be calling your local florist this Valentine’s Day to order roses for your sweetheart, but do you know what is actually in-volved in getting these gorgeous flowers into your home?

It all begins at the farms in South America. Ecuador is one of the best places from which to import because of the ideal growing conditions and high altitude. It is rich with volcanic soils and the water irrigation comes from pure and natural sources. The weather is generally mild and rather than changing seasons, Ecuador ex-periences wet and dry periods with warm temperatures of about 78 degrees and twelve hours of sunlight each day. The evenings are much cooler, averaging about 55 degrees. A rose bush couldn’t get more comfortable!

Before sunrise the growers begin to maintain their plants and harvest flowers that have matured to their cutting point. The roses are classified by grade, and then hand packaged to protect the petals and their foliage during shipping.

Any roses that don’t meet standards are recycled to make prime fertilizer for the farm. The quality roses are then boxed and cool shipped. Storing flowers in the dark causes the blooms to go dormant, and the cold temperatures help to preserve them during shipment.

Upon their arrival, they must be approved by customs, and they are soon on their way to the flower shop! When they first arrive, the thorns are cleaned and the outer petals are removed. These are the “protective petals” that grow thicker than the others. They form a shield to protect the rose from damage during growth. After cleaning them, the roses are cut on a 45 degree angle, placed in a hydrating solution, and left at room temperature to revive. After hydration, they are stored at 38 degrees for preservation until they are artfully designed and delivered to your door!

If your roses are arranged in a bouquet, remove the water tubes, trim the stems on all of the flowers including the filler and greens and place in a vase of water. If they are professionally arranged, there will be preservatives in the water upon arrival so for the best care of your roses, keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct heat and sunlight. Every two days, give the stems a fresh cut and place in fresh cool water.

Contrary to what many believe, the life expectancy of a rose is not determined by how tight the petals are, but rather by the grade of the flower. Oftentimes, roses that come to a very tight, closed point on the end never open. “Open-cut” roses have petals that grow with fullness, and look as though they have begun to open. They always mature to a full bloom, and their quality promises a big head of large petals for you to enjoy.

The grade of a rose is determined by the length of the stem, the size and fullness of the petals, the life expectancy, and the overall quality of each flower. That is why it is so important to work with a florist that you trust to offer you quality and fair pricing. I am looking forward to helping you surprise your loved one with a beautiful arrangement of premium roses and amazing colorful mixed flowers to show your love this Valentine’s Day! Remember, it is not only a holiday for your sweetheart, it is a day to show your love to mom, your daughter or someone you have secretly admired for a while. As always, we are still honoring our 2003 pricing!

Please feel free to write to us with gardening questions or tips for our readers at: Danielle’s Rockaway Florist, 436 Beach 129 Street, Rock-away Park, NY 11694 or call us at 718-318-8888.

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