Hello fellow readers,
I remember Valentine’s Day as a kid having to bring cards to school. Essentially it was an assignment. An obligation. One for each classmate. The cards came in assortment packs and, while the sayings weren’t romantic per se, mostly about friendliness which isn’t a bad thing, connotations of romance were sometimes there. Based on an assortment for kids I saw recently, it seems the sentiments haven’t changed. “You’re a Bear-y nice Valentine (a bear holding a heart), “I dig you” (a skunk holding a heart). I remember how awkward it felt to give a card to a classmate I didn’t know. Or didn’t like because he or she teased me for having four eyes.
As an adult I have the same melancholy for Valentine’s Day as primarily commercially driven, though the history originating as a day honoring the early saints named Valentinus is fascinating. In the 14th century English poet Geoffrey Chaucer is credited for shifting the association of Saint Valentine’s Day to romantic love, a connotation that spread across countries and religions.
When working in an office amongst other twenty-year old’s, I remember incoming flowers. It became a competition almost, as receivers displayed their bounty on their desks as a symbol that their somebody loved them more than your somebody based on the magnitude of their bouquet; but you can’t take it out on the flowers. Mostly roses, though sometimes arrangements of assorted flowers. Or sometimes one red rose, a symbol of “I love you,” same as a bouquet of red. (So, you may as well save the dough boys and girls and spring for a single red rose rather than a dozen.) Dark pink or peach means appreciation, Light pink- admiration, yellow – friendship, orange – desire, lavender – enchantment, white – “I am worthy of you,” white and red together – “we belong together.”
Then there’s the tradition of giving chocolates, far more enticing to me not being a rose person. I find roses hard to grow, attracting a plethora of diseases and insects. I have two shrubs from the previous owners. Only a few times have they bloomed before the aphids and black spot took over. Each spring I marvel over their shiny maroon new growth and consider tackling the upcoming pests. The idea quickly fades as I consider the task. Even the knock-out roses, introduced as “care-free,” are now riddled with rose rosette caused by a virus spread by dust-sized mites. But you can’t take it out on the roses.
I wonder if the types of chocolates have a meaning. Perhaps white chocolate means “I am worthy of you” too. Though dark chocolate, especially with nuts, are most worthy of my consumption.
Rather than cut flowers why not give the gift of ongoing growth such as starter seeds for a veggie garden or a garden design for your beloved. But don’t skip the chocolates, dear. Preferably dark chocolate with nuts. Garden Dilemmas? Askmarystone@gmail.com