Valentine roses

Welborn Floral owner Sally Ward arranges a bouquet of roses Thursday at the business on E. 4th St. in Owensboro. Ward is projecting upward of 900 deliveries over the Valentine’s Day weekend.

Welborn Floral and Events owner Sally Ward said throughout history, gifting flowers to someone is a romantic way of letting a significant other they are loved and valued.

She said red roses are “the No. 1 seller” for Valentine’s Day, ahead of a garden mix of tulips, hydrangeas and irises, which make for more seasonal, spring garden flowers.

Ward said gifting flowers for special occasions, and especially during courtship, is a significant way to show someone they are cared for.

“Historically, within any courting relationship, one of the first things that’s given is flowers to gain someone’s attention, and I think that has just been carried out throughout history,” she said. “A single rose is one of the most romantic flowers that can be given to say, ‘I love you’ or ‘I’m interested in you’.”

Although COVID-19 and recent inclement weather have put some kinks in Valentine’s Day orders this year, this weekend still remains a significant one for the floral shop.

“Normally people send flowers to impress their significant others in front of coworkers,” Ward said. “Since so many people are working from home right now, and due to the weather, we are seeing a slight decrease in orders this year.”

Still, she said, the shop anticipates about 900 orders throughout this weekend compared to from 50 to 80 orders received on a normal day.

“It’s quite an increase,” she said.

During the Valentine’s Day season of love, Ward said the shop typically converts its warehouse, which is used mainly for Christmas and other event sales, into a cooler and stages it for floral production and deliveries. She said the shop also doubles its number of design tables from four to eight to keep up with production.

Ward said flowers are go-to gifts for many different occasions because they make people happy.

“Generally flowers, they’re bright, they’re colorful and they’re fragrant, so I just think the color and the fragrance brings people joy,” she said.

Roses, in general, have been used as a representation of love across many cultures

and platforms.

According to the University of Illinois Extension program, fossil evidence suggests roses have existed for about 35 million years.

In ancient Greek and Roman mythology, according to “The Metamorphoses” by Roman poet Ovid, or Publius Ovidius Naso, the red rose was created when Aphrodite, the goddess of love, ran to her soulmate, Adonis’ side as he was dying. She pricked her foot on a white rose and stained the flower with her blood, thus creating the red rose.

In other versions of the myth, an anemone flower grew in the place where Adonis died and a red rose where Aphrodite’s tears fell.

In an excerpt titled “The History of the Classic Red Rose” written by Chad Kremp, vice president of sales at Kremp Florist, a floral shop out of Philadelphia, Kremp wrote that an ancient Arabic legend tells of a nightingale that fell in love with a white rose, and overwhelmed by its love, pressed its heart into the rose’s thorn, turning it red, connecting the heart with the object of love.

The concept of connecting a red rose with romance and love appears in many literary and pop culture materials as well, from many works of Shakespeare, including “Romeo and Juliet,” and Scottish poet Robert Burns’ famous line from his 18th-century song and poem, “O, my luve is like a red, red rose,” to more modern depictions, such as “Beauty and the Beast,” which portrays a red rose that slowly wilts away until the beast learns to love and be loved.

In “The History of the Classic Red Rose”, Kremp said, “sending roses has been a timeless way to express love for another. We have seen it endure in popular culture … A tradition that dates back to ancient times …”

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7360

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