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Everything's coming up roses for Valentine's Day

Sunday, February 13, 2011

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Brenna Jones begins preparing for what she expects will be a heavy flow of traffic tomorrow, Valentine's Day. At top, the red rose remains the most traditional type of gift given on Feb. 14, and more often than not, people procrastinate and wait until the last minute to order roses for their significant other. Florists offer several alternatives to roses, including baked goods, candy baskets, fruit baskets, balloons and more.
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If there's one thing that's certain during times of uncertainty, it's roses.

"You might expect (sales) to be down, but it's income tax time and so people have a little extra money in their pockets," said Brenna Jones, owner of Creative Touch Florist in Shelbyville. "People have done without all year and on Valentine's Day they say, 'We're gonna go all out and knock it to them (their significant other).'"

Pouring in

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Jones received her order of about 500 roses later last week in preparation for what she hopes will be a busy year. The roses come from a supplier in Nashville, but are likely originally from out of the country, Jones said.

"The vast majority of roses actually come from Colombia," said Karen Swing, a floral designer with Precious Petals, another florist in Shelbyville, who's also ordered hundreds of flowers for the big day.

Show of love

Valentine's Day is Monday, and it falling on a weekday is good news for florists.

"It's a day at work to show off," laughed Jones. "When they're at work, women like to be doted over."

Swing agrees, saying when the Hallmark holiday falls on a weekend, couples often choose to celebrate over a romantic dinner. During the week, schedules remain intact and men -- and women -- spend their money on flowers and gifts instead of a night out on the town.

Still, though, roses are the most traditional Valentine's gift given, with red being by far and large the number one color choice, followed by pink, white and yellow, respectively.

Alternatives

Lilies are the second most popular flower ordered, and some men still go with more lasting alternatives like braided azaleas or bulb gardens.

Another constant about Feb. 14: between 50 and 75 percent of orders are made on the day itself. It's not that local florists encourage procrastination.

"The majority of men do it last minute," laughed Jones. "And I'll tell them, 'ya'll have got to help me out here! You're killing me!' I like to razz them."

Waiting on Mom

Swing said in her years of experience, single men are the ones most likely to procrastinate as opposed to the more seasoned -- married -- men who've perhaps learned to plan ahead over the years.

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Ever received a note with your roses that just didn't quite sound like your man? Another trend local florists have noticed over the years is that in many cases, men are helped out with the Valentine's Day shopping by their own mothers.

"The mom will agree to help her son and then she'll say, 'but I don't know what to write on the card,'" laughed Swing.

Guys' faves

Of course, roses aren't the only gift and men aren't the only givers.

"You know, for the guys it's more of a 'through their stomach' type of thing," Swing said. Candy baskets, fruit baskets, balloons and stuffed animals are some of the most common gifts ordered by women on Valentine's Day, although some women do shower their loves with flowers.

Baked with love

But the all-time best gifts for your man on Valentine's Day are fresh baked goods, Jones said.

"Cupcakes are huge right now," she said. "They are a nice alternative, especially for ladies ordering for their men," Jones said.

In fact, if you walk into Creative Touch your senses will be doubly treated as the aroma of fresh goodies baked by Cindy Meek (she has a bakery in back of the flower shop) fills the air, with roses lingering in the background.

Not just lovers

Cupcakes, chocolate, roses, manicures, pedicures or a special dinner ... Valentine's Day isn't just for love birds, either, Swing says. A lot of folks order for their children. And she says a lot of military men overseas will call and order for their daughters as well.

"I had this one guy (who's overseas) order for his wife, his daughter and his son," Swing said. "I thought that was sweet ... it about made me cry."

Either way, if you go with the tradition of roses, it's not too late to break the tradition of procrastination. Most florists in Shelbyville are open special hours today.

"It's like a shot in the dark for us," Swing said. "We just never really know what it's going to be like until that day."



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