A Living Valentines
by Rob Sproule
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, star-struck lovers everywhere are lined up across Edmonton for everything chocolate, rose, and teddy bear. While traditional gifts rule the day, there are a lot of more creative options out there.
While roses whither, plants grow. A lot of men come to see me looking for something more permanent for their sweetie. I advise them to be creative with their Valentine’s Day ideas and think about what the gifts says as well as simply what it is. A gift that grows, blooms, and thrives year after year says something very different than one whose petals fall onto the table in a week.
In the past few years, orchids have seen surge in popularity as the myths surrounding them come crashing down. 10 years ago people recoiled when I showed them an orchid, thinking it was like a soap bubble that would explode when touched.
The reality is that if you buy an orchid with a few closed buds left (keep walking if all the flowers are wide open), the flowers will last for 3-5 months. That’s longer than any other indoor flowering plant… ever. It only needs water when very dry (every week or so), and thrives in average household light and temperature.
The best thing about an orchid is it’s presence. It’s delicate poise sparks an instant fascination in the diversity of the botanical world. Take a pink orchid, add a slick pot and some ribbon or moss and you have a Valentines gift that guarantees she thinks of you whenever she sees those flowers blooming.
It’s official: dirt is sexy. It wasn’t for a while, and throughout the 90s and into the new century, the trend in gardening was to remain as clean as possible throughout the process. I’m very happy to say that’s changed now.
These days, gardening has become less about just the aesthetics of flowers and more about the holistic growing experience. People want to see, and want their kids to see, how a sunflower germinates, grows, blooms, goes to seed, and germinates again.
10 years ago, dirt and seeds had nothing to do with Valentine’s Day. Today, with Canadians anxious to grow their own food and experience nature head-on, a sprouting seed holds the promise of growth, spring, hope, and juicy tomatoes.
This Valentines Day, take an hour to get a pack or two of seeds, some soil, and a tray. Sow them for your sweetheart and give her the tray with the promise that spring, her garden, and fresh vegetables and herbs that you’ll enjoy together are just around the corner. It will be the cheapest and the most valuable Valentine’s Day gift you ever give.