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Flower frenzy: Florists rush to fill Valentine's Day orders

Staff Photo: Erin Evans
 Kristen Sullivan, owner of Sherwood’s Flowers and Gifts in Covington, prepares roses for an arrangement. Roses are florists’ No. 1 seller during Valentine’s Day. 

Staff Photo: Erin Evans Kristen Sullivan, owner of Sherwood’s Flowers and Gifts in Covington, prepares roses for an arrangement. Roses are florists’ No. 1 seller during Valentine’s Day. 

As local florists scramble to fill the countless orders for Valentine's Day tomorrow, flower shop owners say it's still not too late to send flowers to that special someone.

The normally closed-on-Sunday flower shops are open for business today.

"We have to start getting things prepared for Monday," said Allyson Scoggins, co-owner of her family's 32-year-old business, Conyers Flower Shop. "Usually we start getting busy about three or four days before Valentine's Day."

How To Protect Your Petals

• Keep vase or container filled with fresh water.

• Recut the stems every few days. Cut at an angle and remove about 1-inch of stem. Avoid smashing or piercing the stems.

• When recutting, to avoid disturbing stem placements in the vase, tie the stems with twine just above the vase's edge before taking the flowers out of the vase.

• Place recut flowers back into a clean vase filled with fresh room-temperature water and flower food (usually supplied by florist). Follow the directions on the package correctly because improperly mixed flower food can do more harm than good.

• Remove any spent or damaged blooms or foliage that fall below the waterline in the vase.

• Display flowers in a cool spot between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, away from direct sunlight and heating or cooling vents. Also, avoid placing them directly under ceiling fans or on top of televisions or radiators.

Source: www.teleflora.com

Valentine's Day is the busiest day of the year for florists, according to the Society of American Florists website, www.aboutflowers.com. It provides 40 percent of holiday volume dollars generated by fresh flower sales.

While mixed flower arrangements make up 44 percent of flowers sold for Valentine's Day, roses dominate sales, with 72 percent sold in 2010. That's 198 million roses produced specifically for the holiday, the bulk of which come from South America.

"It's wall-to-wall roses," said Scoggins of her shop during the days just before Valentine's Day. "Roses are pretty much the standard."

Kristen Sullivan of the family-owned Sherwood's Flowers and Gifts in Covington experiences the same demand for the flower that has become the quintessential symbol for love. The red rose is what most people want, she said, though others choose pink, yellow or variegated.

"The rose is always our biggest hit on Valentine's Day," Sullivan said.

Both flower shops reported hiring extra delivery people and flower designers during Valentine's Day. Conyers Flower Shop will make between 250 and 300 deliveries on Feb. 14 and Sherwoods 250 plus.

A dozen roses for Valentine's Day runs between $75 and $80, slightly higher than the cost during the rest of the year.

For those who want something other than roses, traditional spring arrangements are available with lilies, irises, tulips and Gerber daisies being among the more popular flowers. Shops can also include extras with the flowers, like chocolates, stuffed animals and balloons.

For many couples, sending and receiving flowers on Valentine's Day is a tradition, said Sullivan, who recommends ordering from a local florist as opposed to an online floral gatherer for better quality.

"Sometimes, it's the only time of year that some people will receive bouquets of flowers," she said. "It can be an exciting day."