In the business of love

Don Kinzler Growing Together gardening columnist

While it would be easy to buy a dozen roses to profess your love to a significant other this Valentine's Day, understanding the language of flowers could help you take your floral overture to the next level.

According to the National Retail Federation, big-hearted Americans will spend an estimated $19.6 billion on the holiday, up from $18.2 billion a year ago.

If you order online, buyer beware. They will reflect the lack of thought you put into choosing her flowers and send her the signal that she's just like every other girl on Valentine's Day. "Believe it or not, there is love in the air and it's a popular time for guys to get engaged", said Patrick Murphy of Murphy Jewelers. The among the 10 most popular destinations.

"Sure, we have other big days", said Garner, who grew up working in her grandmother's flower shop in Collinsville. "We recruit a lot of family members", she said.

Most probably we just know that pink rose symbolizes grace and appreciation, the yellow rose is for friendship, a white rose represents innocence and red rose, as you may have guessed, translated to deep love.

Data shows 55 percent of consumers buying Valentine's Day gifts are expected to buy sweet treats, which is up 5 percent from a year ago.

Williams is long in the flower business but stops short of saying he's gotten down the Valentine's Day preparation to a science.

One of many stories relating to the origin of Valentine's Day comes from ancient Rome, where a young priest named Valentine was furious with the outlawing of marriage for young couples and performed them in secret.

"Our biggest issue is that these flowers are coming from countries with known pests and diseases that we don't want [here in Australia]", he said.

Once the small shop has picked up their order, processing thousands of flowers has a different look and feel than it does at the wholesale level.

Specialty flowers can still be ordered at local flower shops or you can pick some up at your local grocery or drug store. We don't get a lot of pre-orders because guys don't think of it quick enough.

Thanks to the abundant imports this year, rose prices have stayed fairly low.

Fjeldsted says his staff is doubled on Valentine's Day, with five or six people helping patrons.

"Prep is definitely key for the success of the day", she said. "They're really appreciative of the people that someone did this for them".

With unemployment at a historical low and the average wage rising, spending for Valentine's Day this year is likely to reach its highest point since 2007.

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