A Grim Start to Valentine’s Day and Picking the Right Rose – Daily Freeman


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A Grim Start to Valentine's Day and Picking the Right Rose - Daily Freeman

A Grim Start to Valentine’s Day and Picking the Right Rose – Daily Freeman

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This week we celebrate Valentine’s Day, one of the oldest and most popular holidays on the planet.

This holiday is celebrated in almost every country on the planet, from China to Finland. More than 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards will be sent worldwide, but how many senders or recipients actually know how the holiday came about?

According to legend, the history of Valentine’s Day originated in Rome in the third century AD. During this period, Emperor Claudius II decided that single men would make better soldiers, so he forbade young people to marry. A young priest named Valentine is outraged by the injustice and defies Claudius by continuing to secretly marry young lovers.

Claudius eventually found out about Valentine’s actions and sentenced him to death. While in prison, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, who visited him in prison. Before he was executed, Valentine wrote a letter to the girl and signed it, “From your Valentine” – an expression we still use today. Valentine was executed on February 14, 270 AD.Later, around AD 496, Pope Glasius proclaimed February 14th to be the day of Valentine’s Day, when Valentine had become
saint.

The history of sending flowers on Valentine’s Day stems from the old-fashioned custom of sending flowers to convey non-verbal messages. Introduced by Charles II of Sweden in the 18th century, each flower has a specific meaning, so it’s possible to have an entire conversation with just the flower.

Make sure you’re giving the right rose to the right person. This may not be news to anyone, but red roses are one of the most romantic flowers out there. These are the perfect flowers for Valentine’s Day and represent love and longing. Unlike red roses, coral roses represent friendship, humility and compassion. The yellow rose hides a symbol of jealousy and infidelity. However, giving them to friends can mean warmth and affection.

Do you know someone who wants to change their life? White roses represent new beginnings. They also symbolize purity and innocence. Roses have always been associated with love, and this year more than 200 million roses will be harvested exclusively for the festival. That’s a lot of love! Of course, when demand is at its highest, prices rise accordingly. This year, flowers and sweets are in short supply and prices are going higher! It’s not hard to spend $100 or more on a dozen long-stemmed roses this week, up to $200 if delivered.

Of course, most of the roses that will be sold are grown in the southern hemisphere, particularly Colombia, Ecuador, Africa and Israel. More than 70% of roses sold in European supermarkets will be grown in Kenya. Most will be grown in greenhouses, where carbon dioxide is supplemented by burning some kind of fossil fuel. Like many other plants, roses grow better with the increased levels of this gas we are working to reduce globally. Globally, plants don’t really care about the long-term effects of anthropogenic climate change.

I hope you provide some winter protection for your garden roses this winter. Grafted roses are usually only resistant to single-digit temperatures, and this cold winter is sure to take a toll on those left unprotected. A layer of snow does provide some insulation, but it is more effective to pile up 6 to 8 inches of soil around the base of the shrub in December.

As with many shrub roses, ungrafted roses are usually tougher. Grafted roses are easily identified by the swollen “knob” at the junction of the root and stem. Roses that grow on their own roots do not have this characteristic. If you’re looking to buy hardy roses that are sold locally, consider visiting a garden center and buying potted mini roses. These pretty little plants can be transplanted outdoors in May and can last for years with proper care.

I’ll leave you with a poem by Robert Burns that touches on the subject this week. Its title is “A red, red rose”:

Oh my love is like a red rose
It was new in June;
O my Luve is like a melody
That tune is sweet.
You are beautiful, my sweet girl,
I love so much;
Darling, I still love you,
until the seas dry up.
Till the sea dries up, my dear,
The rock melts with the sun;
I will still love you darling,
And the sand of life will run.

Bob Beyfuss lives and gardens in Schoharie County. Email him at rlb14@cornell.edu.

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