By Steve Smith
Traditionally speaking, Valentine’s Day is the “Christmas” season for florists, whereas Mother’s Day belongs to the garden centers.
But if you want to stretch tradition a little bit, here are some suggestions, not to replace cut flowers – but to augment them.
These gifts will show your undying love for years to come – think of them as “cut flowers with roots”. Roses, of course, come to mind, when thinking of love – oodles even have “love” in their names. “Love at First Sight” is a new hybrid tea for 2020 with flowers of red and white, a fruity fragrance and good disease resistance. “Love’s Promise” is a sassy bright currant-red colored hybrid tea with strong raspberry fragrance.
For a “steamier” effect, try “Mercury Rising” which sports flowers of medium pink and ivory cream with a mild fragrance, or “Smokin’ Hot” that has dark orange with purple overlay colored flowers.
“Burst of Joy” sends an upbeat message to your true love with its vibrant orange and highlights of yellow floribunda flowers that have a light tea perfume. “State of Grace”, “Double Delight”, and “Life of the Party” all convey your steadfast devotion.
Maybe you are looking for a smaller option, something for a friend, or an add-on to a gift you already found… try a packet of seeds.
“Love in the Mist” is an easy-to-grow annual with delicate foliage that is topped with powder blue to dark indigo blue flowers all summer long – it makes a great cut flower for summer bouquets. The seed pods are intriguing so they work well in an everlasting arrangement. and it will reseed itself, allowing it to come back every year (again, a tribute to your relationship).
“Love Lies Bleeding” is another easy-to-grow annual, a beautiful plant even though the name a bit morose. Its dramatic foliage is followed by long drooping panicles of deep crimson purple flowers in late summer. Or, if you are feeling a bit self-absorbed, give your loved one a packet of “Forget Me Not” seeds. When sown in a cool, moist location, they will bloom soft blue flowers with a yellow center early in the season and will happily spread through your garden in a few short seasons.
Finally, my all-time favorite perennial “Bleeding Heart” is a winner any time of the year. There are several variations, but my favorite is “Gold Heart”. It sports golden foliage in early spring, topped with long wands of pink heart-shaped flowers in March and April. Plant it in a shaded or woodland area, and it will come back twice the size the following season.
There are plenty of other out-of-the-box, living plant, gift options. So, for this Valentine’s Day, move out of your comfort zone and try “cut flowers with roots” ideas. They will reward you richly for years rather than just a week or two.
Steve Smith is the owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville, WA and can be reached at email@example.com
P.S. – A class on “Hellebores: Winter Jewels” will take place at the nursery Feb. 15 at 10 a.m., and a class on “Spring Invaders” will take place Feb. 16 at 11 a.m.