Valentine's Day is coming up, Friday February 14th.
One year I made the mistake of telling my husband I didn't want roses for Valentine's Day. He took it to mean I didn't want any flowers and thus there were many years without. What I was meaning to say was that I didn't want cut roses on the one day of year when they are brought over from other countries and do not have any staying power.
My favorite cut flower had always been the carnation, it lasted for quite a long time and had much more fragrance than roses which are stored in such cold storage and grown for their longevity, which really isn't very long, that many varieties used by florist have lost their fragrance.
Then one day my husband went out into the nursery and cut me a bouquet of whatever flowers were blooming, now that was one that I loved and it lasted much longer. Thus began my planting of "cutting" flowers. Our garden had lilies, alstromerias, daisies, sages, yarrows and other herbs. A few of my favorites were cosmos and Gerbera Daisy. The cosmos stood tall and danced in the breezes, when cut they were perfect fillers to my vases. Gerbera Daisy is such a bright cheery plant and ranks as the 5th most popular cut flower in the floral industry.
This is a wonderful month to get Gerberas planted in your garden, they work wonderfully in containers and can be enjoyed as a plant inside with plenty of sunlight. Plant in full sun to partial, keep soil moist but not wet. Here in San Diego they are perennial, so don't toss them out when the blooms stop. This week we have a shipment coming in that will be assorted colors all blooming and standing tall.
If roses are on your Valentine's request how about giving one that will keep giving? Yes the rose bushes in stock now are still dormant or just beginning to leaf out, but if you plant it this winer your Valentine will be cutting roses all Spring and again in the Fall, plus you get the added bonus of choosing one which is fragrant and beautiful.