Cynicism about Valentine’s Day returned quickly.
For the past many years I had joined the monogamous masses and learned to enjoy flowers at that certain day that marks the midpoint of February. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad people are swooning and smooching. I wish I was one of them.
The big Valentine’s Day displays always manage to catch me off-guard. This week I popped into the grocery store to buy some coffee. I had to walk in a long arc to maneuver around the ginormous display of red, white and pink flowers. There was no escape, they were directly along my path to an everyday purchase.
My guess is that the other entrance to the store had a similar assemblage of merchandise suggestions.
I’m thinking we could use a Gardener’s Day. If I had my choice, it would be April 30, which happens to be my birthday. Nurseries, garden tool companies and grocery store chains could rally around the cause, providing huge displays of appropriate gifts for people with dirt under their fingernails. Logically, there would be a way to include dark chocolate.
In the meantime, Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to buy and receive live plants, even if that means buying them for ourselves and receiving them ourselves.
A FRAGRANT PLANT LIST
• I spotted some daphne odoro in bloom this week, which is among my favorite fragrant plants. A live plant can be enjoyed indoors for several weeks, and then planted at the recipient’s leisure. My luck with daphne has been mixed. One survived in a partially shaded spot for about six years. I changed houses and the plant did not adjust to the new digs.
Many years ago, John Whittlesley of Canyon Creek Nursery said the trick to not killing daphne is to withhold water on days when the high temperatures reach 89 degrees. Apparently this is the temperature at which daphne-killing bacteria multiply quickly.
My second daphne died during a summer heat spike when I chose death by bacteria vs. death by lack of water.
• In my mind, you can’t really go wrong with jasmine and gardenias. If you want to learn what plants grow well in this area, check out the landscaping at Chico State University or Enloe hospital, both which have gardenia in semi-shaded locations.
The Handsome Woodsman and I would walk in the evenings, and he would almost always rush ahead to search for a gardenia to tuck behind my ear.
For happy gardenias, Monrovia, suggests adding an ample amount of compost to hold water. Gardenia will wither in heavy soil. Coffee grounds may be added to the soil because gardenia enjoy slightly acidic soil.
• Jasmine also provides olfactory pleasure, but it won’t be blooming just yet. Some useful information at gardeningknowhow.com, points out that spring is a good time to take jasmine cuttings. Dip the cuttings in rooting hormone and push the ends into peat. Next, keep the cuttings moist.
Last year my cuttings failed, likely because I used regular garden soil. It’s time to try again.
DON’T FORGET ROSES
Red roses are the stereotypical Valentine’s Day sign of strong infatuation.
Tip for boyfriend coolness points: Send at least a dozen red roses, and always send them to her work. For your favorite gardener who owns garden gloves and pruning shears, you can find an exquisite rose plant and offer to dig the hole on a spring Saturday.
When I spotted all those flowers at the grocery store earlier this week, I couldn’t help but wonder. Are people expected to buy the flowers and hide them on the back porch for the next four days?
For fresh flowers, last-minute purchases are best.
Early next week, the Sabbath House can be spotted downtown with their glorious flower cart.
Sunday morning you’ll find the cart in front of Bidwell Presbyterian Church and First Street, and Monday and Tuesday near City Hall. The pleasant gals who work at the cart can wrap up just a single posy or a bouquet chosen among dozens of different flowers.
Read more about Bloomin’ Hope: http://tinyurl.com/z9f3e5n.