Ron Rankin, owner and florist at House of Flowers, has seen lots of changes in the 46 years he’s been working with flowers, but one thing remains consistent – people rarely stray from the classic dozen red roses when it comes to Valentine’s Day. Perhaps the more adventurous types will consider pink or yellow roses, but the red rose persists as the ultimate symbol of romance. The red rose has a long history of representing love and war, but in Greek mythology, it is said that it was created from the tears and blood of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. Then, of course, William Shakespeare famously uses this image of a rose throughout his poetic work. This representation of love continues to be a strong symbol of love and is the go-to gift for lovers seeking to demonstrate their love (or apologies) to their significant other.
Though the tradition of buying flowers has changed, some flowers hold onto their stigmas. For example, the gladiola is typically seen in funeral arrangements, so Rankin often gets requests for “no gladiolas” when the order is for a more celebratory affair. And yet, gladiolas are beautiful, hearty flowers that will last a long time. Carnations are another flower with a bad reputation, but Rankin notes that for a while, carnations were one of the few flowers available to florists – perhaps the reason why they could be found in almost every bouquet. Now, your arrangement might display flowers picked from around the world. And with more growing technologies, flowers like tulips, which were once only available during the spring season, can be found year-round.
Despite these shifts in traditions, Rankin has remained busy in his shop conveniently located across the street from St. Luke’s Hospital. Flowers will never go out of style, even if styles change. An occasion doesn’t have to be particularly celebratory or somber to have a reason to buy flowers; maybe you can grab a bouquet during this snowy winter to add a little color and life to your dining room table!