DENVER, Colorado — Valentine’s Day is no big deal (except for the florists), but it’s one of my favorite holidays for several reasons. It comes after all that Christmas good will has worn off, and we take time to celebrate love. It’s rather nice that the country takes a day to remember the people closest to us that make the rest of the year worth living.
I suppose it’s too bad we don’t remember them the other 364 days, but everybody gets an equal chance on February 14 to “say it with flowers.” I love that. In our sleek, modern, hurly-burly world, the sentiments of love and friendship are still expressed with flowers.
The timing couldn’t be better. My garden isn’t expressing much of anything, and the scruffy bunch of plant refugees on the windowsill are pleading for more light, a good haircut, and the return of spring warmth.
Gardeners need to feel loved on Valentine’s Day just like everybody else. It really is the thought that counts, so give them what they really like: plants and flowers. How many times have I heard this: “I was going to give you a bouquet or an African violet, or something like that, but you have so many, I decided to give you this instead.” “This” may be some cologne (a hint?), stationery (another hint?), or some objet d’art and craft that I will have to remember to drag up from the basement whenever they come over.
I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but why do they suppose I have so many plants in the first place? I like plants. Bring on the cyclamens, African violets, pots of crocus and daffodils, wreaths of bay leaves, or stems of roses. Skip the chocolates—no, wait, I like those almost as much as plants—but I can always use trowels, trugs and clippers. (Boy, those pruners with the rotating grip would be really neat.)
Honesty is a big part of love, and now I’ve bared my soul. My friends, whom I will remember on Valentine’s Day with flowers or plants, should do the same. Maybe they’d actually prefer a tie, cologne or stationery. Nah, they’re getting that cyclamen: that’s what Valentine’s day is about. Ask any gardener.
Rob Proctor is a delightful blend of artist, photographer, writer, and gardener who lives and plies his trades in Denver, Colorado.