Valentine’s Day, celebrated February 14 annually across the globe, is the day where we show the people who mean most to us how much we love and appreciate them by giving gifts and flowers.The rose (genus Rosa) is the classic symbol of love and romance. It is a woody flowering plant that can be classed as a shrub. There are over 300 different species of roses varying in colours, sizes and shapes.
Roses are utilised as ornamental plants, and essential oils are derived for the manufacture of rose water, perfumes and many foods (jams, jellies, ice cream) and beverages (tea). Every year an estimated 110 million roses are harvested with long stems just for Valentine’s Day. Red and orange roses can be given to your sweetheart as they symbolise deep love and affection; yellow roses symbolise friendship and are perfect for a close friend or work colleague; and pink roses symbolise grace and admiration and can be given to your parents, children and relatives.
The number of roses you give someone is also significant. A single rose of any colour says ‘Thank you’ to that individual; two roses combined (usually a red and white) symbolises ‘Marry Me’ and six to 13 roses show deep love and admiration.
Freshly cut roses will usually last around seven to 10 days once placed in room temperature water in a clean vase. You can also refrigerate your roses to make them last longer.
For those of you who receive the gift of a rose plant this Valentine’s Day, caring for it is easier than you think. After receiving the potted plant, locate an area with good exposure to sunlight and ensure that the soil has good drainage.
Carefully remove the plant from its pot, dig a deep hole, place the plant gently inside and cover with the loose soil. If planting a rose garden, ensure that each plant is three feet apart.
Fertilise your roses using a slow-release fertiliser according to the recommendations on the package. There are many brands of fertilisers suited for roses available at your garden shop.
Roses thrive in moist soils but do not overwater to cause root rot. Prune your rose plant regularly to promote new growth of flowers and use an organic fungicide and insecticide (neem oil) for prevention against diseases such as powdery mildew, black spot, aphids and mites.
I want to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope your day is filled with love and joy. We must never forget that Jesus loves us and He shows His unconditional love for us every day.
1 John 4:8 tells us that “God is Love”; Ephesians 5:2 tells us “And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us” and my favourite, 1 Corinthians 13: 4–7 “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”.