If you celebrated Valentine's Day by sending roses to someone, you are among 5 million Americans who bestowed 55 million blossoms on those they loved today.
Utah - the ninth largest rose-producing state - harvested truckloads of blooms from its 387,000 rosebushes this week in honor of romance. It wasn't easy. The bitter cold that burst water pipes and killed livestock last week roughed up a few rosebushes, too."We've really been fighting to get that crop in on time," said Ralph M. Wright, owner of Utah Rose. It's tough to keep temperatures inside a glass greenhouse up to 70 degrees when it's -10 outside that half inch of glass, he said.
And very expensive. If your February heating bill depresses you, stop by Utah Rose and ask to see Wright's bill.
But despite a cold biting enough to make even the most determined rosebush go dormant, anxious growers harvested nearly 400,000 blossoms this week.
It wasn't enough. "The market for Valentine's Day is larger than we're able to satisfy," Wright said.
There simply are more Utahns in love than there are roses. Fortunately for the rose growers, many are so deeply in love they are willing to pay dearly for their buds.
If you've privately suspected that the price of the rose goes up around Valentine's Day, you're right. Blame it on that heat bill, Wright said. "It is very expensive to grow them this time of year because of all the heat that is required."
If you received a bundle of those pricey blooms today, we can help you decipher what the giver was trying to say with his petals.
- Red roses, of course, denote passionate love. All those Europeans who dismiss Americans as a cold people may be surprised to know that more than 75 percent of the roses Americans send for Valentine's Day are deep, rich, velvety red.
- If you received an arrangement of red and white roses, the giver is thinking more along the lines of "unity," the Commercial Growers Association reports.
- If you received a bouquet of red and yellow roses, the giver was trying to express "jovial and happy feelings," the association says. (If you wanted passionate, and he settled for jovial, we suggest putting the freshly cut stems of the yellow buds into a vase full of water and red food dye. We hear it works for carnations.)
- The pink roses are tough to read. Pink roses in general symbolize grace and gentility, the association reports. But the light pink roses also convey admiration, while the deep pink roses denote gratitude and appreciation.
As we figure it, light pink roses mean he admires your grace and gentility while the deep pink roses means he's grateful that you're graceful and gentle. Of course, a bouquet of light and dark pink roses means he both admires and appreciates your grace and gentility.
- If the pink rose baffled you, the white will overwhelm you. The white rose is a complicated bud. Someone sending a white rose may be expressing "reverence, humility, innocence, purity, secrecy and silence," the association says. (No doubt the accompanying card reads "My dear, this is to express my humble reverence for your innocent purity cloaked in secrecy by your silence.")
Of course, there's always a simpler explanation for the hue of your roses: the giver may have selected them because he thought they were a pretty color.