Traditionally speaking, Valentine’s Day is the Christmas season for florists, whereas Mother’s Day belongs to the garden centers. However, not being one to follow tradition, I am going to take this space to help you stretch the envelope.
Here are some suggestions, not to replace cut flowers — because I love to have cut flowers in the house anytime of the year — but rather to augment the traditional, thoughtful gift with something less ephemeral that will show your undying love for many years to come. If it helps, just think of some of these ideas as merely flowers with roots.
“Love,” of course, is the thread that ties all of these ideas together.
Roses are the first cut flower with roots that come to mind, as there are oodles of them with “love” in their names. Here are some to ask about at the garden center.
Love at First Sight is a new hybrid tea rose 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, which 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.
And State of Grace, Double Delight and Life of the Party will all convey your steadfast devotion for many years to come.
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, but I find the name a bit morose. Its dramatic foliage is followed by long drooping panicles of deep crimson purple flowers in late summer. This plant makes a statement in the garden!
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 — which is a polite way of saying they are borderline invasive and obnoxious, which could end up being either a positive or negative reminder of your significant other.
Finally, my all-time favorite perennial, Bleeding Heart, is a winner any time of the year! There are several variations, but the one I can’t live without is called 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 — all with the goal to give your loved one a thoughtful, long-lasting token of your appreciation and love. So, for this Valentine’s Day, forget tradition and move out of your comfort zone by trying some of these flowers with roots ideas. They will reward you richly for years to come, rather than just one short week or two.
Steve Smith is the owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A couple of classes are planned at Sunnyside Nursery, 3915 Sunnyside Blvd., Marysville. Hellebores: Winter Jewels is set for 10 a.m. Feb. 15. Spring Invaders is scheduled for 11 a.m. Feb. 16. For more information or to sign up, go to www.sunnysidenursery.net.