Roses are undoubtedly ubiquitous when it comes to amore. And Valentine’s Day is arguably the biggest day for the sale of roses in the United States (approx. 110 million roses are sold in the US alone). I get it, they’re beautiful, symbolic, timeless, and oh-so-romantic. And if they’re scented…I absolutely adore the more unusual rose types that are heavily scented. That deep musk of a timeless rose is reason enough to be seduced by their beauty, and become a worldwide emblem of love.
Even in my love for roses, however, I challenge you to not buy them this Valentine’s Day for your significant other, friend, or crush. Why? Well, because behind the perfect beauty of a rosebud lies the less-than-rosy reality.
The Ugly Truth of Roses
It can be simplified to this: roses don’t naturally grow or bloom in February in the U.S. They’re simply not in season. So, where does the slew of roses come from, and how are they kept fresh and beautiful in time with Valentine’s Day? Most roses are imported from South America or Africa, south of the Equator, where summer is in full swing. And while roses may be in season somewhere, getting them to us here in Texas means a lot of work to keep them alive and looking their best. That means chemicals, high transportation costs, and, possibly worst of all, huge sacrifices in labor rights. Roses in February don’t sound so sexy anymore, do they?
The Alternative: Buy Seasonal
Instead, focus on finding local, seasonal flower suppliers in Texas. After all, we’re lucky here in Texas when it comes to plant hardiness. In many other states, folks have to wait a long time before they can enjoy the beauty of fresh flowers. Our mild climate means flowers such as frilly snapdragons, ephemeral poppies, showy tulips, sophisticated anemones, and paper-like ranunculus are showing their best right now.
Much like the seasonal and local food movement, the Slow Flower movement was actually started right here, in the US! It follows the same principles as the local and Slow Food movements: flowers grown seasonally, with minimal chemical inputs (preferably organically), and with a respect for the environment. I’d say that’s a lot more romantic than a flower shipped halfway around the world, doused in chemicals (just in time for you to stick your nose in it!), and sold en-masse for one day.
Best Texas Seasonal Flowers
Here are my top picks of seasonal flowers to look for:
Daffodils: these yolky yellow blooms are highly fragrant, and a true signifier of spring. They also do come in a lot of other tones than your usual yellow. Look for more unusual varieties that are frilly, double, two-toned, and even, in miniature.
Tulips: one of my personal favorites. Look for the more unusual forms and colours, such as those that are fully double, flamed (i.e. streaked in multiple colours, which makes them look like they are on fire), or pointed. An armful of tulips makes an incredible impact, particularly because they come with their own foliage – the easiest of bouquets!
Poppies: they aren’t known for their longevity, but I’d argue that makes them even more beautiful. Their papery-like petals are often dashed with a dark center; they add drama and flair whenever their added. Plus, their seed-heads can be dried once the petals fall off and be kept virtually forever!
Anemones: the ultimate chic spring flower. They’re easily associated with the sophistication of France, as anemones are produced in abundance there. Like tulips, they look wonderful on their own, as a mix of colours or a clean, minimalist swathe of just one. Perfect for that discerning aesthete you’re trying to impress…
Bluebonnets: what says Texas more than these stunning wildflowers? If you want to go hyper-local, or show your Texas-beau how much you love them, then look no further – this is a native Texan flower in the most vibrant blue.
Indian Paintbrush/Prairie-Fire: these guys tend to pop up alongside their cousins, the Bluebonnets, so why not pair them together? The two will enhance one another and make the colours appear more vibrant. And if you’re looking for something to replace a red rose, well, these will speak for themselves. A burning beauty!
Ranunculus: I honestly can’t get enough of these highly sculptural, yet fragile flowers. They look both like a giant, fluffy marshmallow, and a carefully created origami flower. They, like many other spring flowers, look phenomenal en masse, and feel ultra luxurious.
Hyacinths: if you’re looking for scent, then hyacinths are the ones to go for. They are sweetly perfumed, the kind of scent that you notice immediately when you pass by even a single flower – it stops you in your tracks. Hyacinths can be bought in many different colours, and also as a pot plant, which will bloom pretty quickly and then die back, after which, you can save the bulb and replant in the fall for more enjoyment!
Foliage: This is actually a great time to go BIG on greens! There are some wonderful foliages out there, and what’s more original than a structural bouquet in the most delicious tones of green? Now that’s fresh!
Dried Flowers: These won’t be fresh at all, but they’re everlasting – just like your love. Need I say more?
Seasonal Flower Delivery
You can always ask your local florist for these flowers specifically, or ask them what’s in season, too. If you don’t have time to pick up flowers, here’s some of our favorite picks for delivery:
- Petals, Ink.: Look at those multi-colored ranunculus wraps! And their gorgeous farm-fresh wraps! The stunning everlasting arrangements! This is my top pick for any of you looking for affordable, seasonal, beautifully fresh blooms – Petals, Ink. have it all.
- Farmgirl Flowers: their website is easy to navigate, and features a ‘USA Grown’ logo on the blooms so you know when you’re buying seasonal. I think their tulip selection is sensational, and some great edible products to add on for a little something extra!
- Urban Stems: yes, they sell roses..but check out their incredible selection of unusual tulips! They also have some fabulous, show-stopping everlasting dried bouquets.
- Westbank Flower Market: you want to go big? Choose their S.36 arrangement with glowing yellow ranunculus, thistles, and yes – living succulents. What a show-stopper. Want to make an impression but the wallet’s a bit tight? Then their S.37 is equally impressive, and seasonal, too!
- Loose Leaf Florist: all of these arrangements are beautifully artisanal. Loose Leaf feature seasonal bouquets, as well as custom orders for same day delivery!
- Flower Subscriptions: If you really, and I mean really, want to show someone your unending love then there is nothing better than a flower subscription. A full six months to a year of regular, seasonal flowers will bring them joy until next Valentine’s Day. Besides, I’ve always believed that we should celebrate those we love every day, not just on the 14 of February… many of the businesses listed above also do flower subscriptions!
- Finally, why not make a date to go pick your own flowers at Texas Tulips?
Not only will these flowers will show your love, your creativity, and thoughtfulness, but also give back to the environment, local community, and provide you with something truly unique.
I love roses as much as the next person, but I say: save them for May!