NOW synonymous with love and passion, red roses have become a symbol of Valentine’s Day around the world, but warnings have been issued over supply concerns and rising costs ahead of this year’s celebration.
What’s the problem?
Suppliers have warned of a possible shortage of red roses this year due to soaring energy prices impacting growers in the Netherlands, where the bulk of the roses sold in Britain are produced.
How does the energy hike affect growers?
It impacts profits as some say they are unable to afford the cost of heating the greenhouses needed to grow the flowers during the winter, as rearing red roses – notably the richest red roses – requires a lot of heat. Fewer flights have hit supply as well.
The British Florist Association did a survey that found 76.8 per cent of florists said Brexit had impacted their business because the cost of flowers had risen.
Some florists have dropped the premium blooms – such as Red Naomis and Lovelaces – and the lack of supply with demand still high means a dozen roses could dost £40 instead of the £20 price from last year.
Where does the tradition stem from anyway?
The origins of gifting red roses on February 14 is said – just like the history of Cupid and Valentine’s Day – to be tied up in Greek mythology. Legend has it that the goddess of love, Aphrodite, found her lover, Adonis, wounded by a wild boar, and a mixture of her tears and his blood created a beautiful red rose bush when they fell to the ground.
But there are other tales?
An early figure sometimes linked to the burgeoning of the rose as a symbol of Valentine’s Day is Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the British ambassador to Turkey during the 1700s, who wrote letters home to England about her understanding of a ‘flower language’, with meaning given to certain flowers, including love assigned to a rose.
Each year, an estimated 250 million stems of flowers are sold around the world for Valentine’s Day. In 2021 sales of online orders from retail florists surged by 68.8%.
And the number of roses is symbolic?
According to the BFA, one rose gifted means ‘love at first sight’ or, if you are in a long-term relationship, that ‘you are still the only one’; two roses means mutual love and affection; six is a symbol of infatuation; 10 roses stands for ‘a perfect love’; 11 is a ‘true, deep and treasured love’ and the classic dozen red roses means ‘be mine’.