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Report From PIA – February 14

A couple of years ago I was talking with a man at the garden center who was trying to figure out if he should get a plant for his girlfriend for Valentine’s day. “Does she like plants?” I asked. “Not really,” he said, looking sheepish. “She says that she always kills them. But I hate to spend twenty-five dollars on cut flowers that will only last a week.”

I told him to head directly to the florist counter, and get that woman some cut flowers. A big bouquet. Flowers were important to that man’s girlfriend, and they are to most humans as well. Young women, crusty old men, and everyone in between will come into the garden center wanting plants that bloom, preferably for as long as possible.

Whether they are on a shrub, in a perennial border, strung into a lei, or cut in a vase, flowers are important. Across cultures and around the world, people prize blossoms. We include them in our most important events, from weddings and birthdays to funerals. We send flowers to wish people better health, and to convey our deepest emotions, from love to heartfelt compassion.

Personally, I think that each of us should buy ourselves flowers for the smallest of occasions. Did you hold your tongue when you really wanted to say something cranky to a family member? Buy yourself a dozen roses. Did you finally get something done that you’ve been putting off? Purchase a bouquet…maybe even two.

If you like plants, indoor or outdoor, by all means get your flowers attached to one of those… it doesn’t matter if they are cut or live on the stem, just get as many as possible.

The man in the garden center was persuaded when I asked him if he ever took his girlfriend out to dinner. “Oh, sure,” he answered, “we go out all the time.”

“How much does that dinner cost?” I asked.

“Oh I don’t know,” he said, “anywhere from forty dollars to eighty dollars, depending on where we go… Why?”

“Well,” I replied, “you said that you hated to spend the money on cut flowers that will wilt, but has it ever occurred to you that the dinner that costs forty to eighty dollars only lasts about two hours? That bouquet that your girlfriend wants will be beautiful for at least a week.”  He headed for the long-stemmed roses.

Whether they are in bloom for a day, a week, or all summer, flowers are important.

No, these aren't the flowers my husband gave me for Valentine's day - he gave me purple roses and tulips, knowing that I love both flowers and the color purple. I bought these roses for myself, after running a GWA regional meeting at New England Grows. The meeting went well, despite last minute changes... I celebrated, and bought myself flowers.

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