Love is a (six-foot) rose

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Longrose3

Love is a rose
but you better not pick it
It only grows when it’s on the vine.

—Neil Young

Ok, so Neil doesn’t know roses don’t grow on vines. He’s Neil, and that’s enough.

A “holiday” that doesn’t include a day off from work is bogus in my opinion, but I do soften a bit toward Valentine’s Day. It is the day when flowers are given, received, and celebrated—and not just between the romantically-involved.

At a “Red” party I attended Saturday, all the food was either red or white. In recognition of the occasion, I presented our hostess with the flower you see here: a “six-foot” rose, recently featured on the cover of Fortune magazine. (Mine was more like four feet; it must have lost some stature along the way.) The appearance of this monstrosity—kind of like the stretch limo of flowers—in my favorite local flower shop couldn’t have been more well-timed. I have just finished reading fellow ranter Amy Stewart’s Flower Confidential in which she writes in detail about the very Ecuadorian growers—Nevado Ecuador—who created this wonder.

Also referred to in the trade as “extreme roses,” these were first grown for the Russian market, and are considered the longest-stemmed roses in the world, though of course there are much taller rose plants—climbers can go up to sixty feet. Apparently no special hormones or genetic tinkering are required to produce these, and, as Amy reports, fewer pesticides or fungicides as well.

I must say I caused an instant sensation as I walked into the party with my shaker of Negronis (the perfect red cocktail), and my extreme rose. I had found a tall vase to match it; in fact, the rose and the vase were about the same price. No one there knew so many roses were grown in Ecuador; clearly, they all need to read Amy’s book.

Perhaps Valentine’s Day would be the only day when you’d really need a six-foot rose. It would ensure that your romantic offering would stand out in the crowd of carnations, lilies, and lesser roses that everyone else was giving and receiving. Another use for this would be galas, banquets, and the like, where tall floral arrangements are just as popular as tall food.

But I think I’ve probably purchased my last six-foot rose. Happy Valentine’s Day!

I have written about Amy’s book here.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at yahoo.com

10 COMMENTS

  1. Neil probably knew a little botany. (I think he actually farmed for awhile.) But vine is a little easier to rhyme. (… Lose your love when you say the word mine is the final line of that verse, if I recall.) Would have been a different song altogether if he’d tried to rhyme shrub or bush.

    Happy V-Day everyone. (Unfortunately, my wife is allergic to flowers.)

  2. Good grief, what a monster! Am I glad that we don’t celebrate Valentine’s day over here. Well, not much anyway.

    Besides in this time of the year I’d prefer a lovely bunch of colourful Anemones. So much prettier than that humongeous rose.

    It’s all stem and very little flower isn’t it? I thought that the flower part of the rose was its biggest asset but I could be wrong. 😉

  3. A woman that knows how to make an entrance and create drama is welcome to all events.
    And…some roses do grow on vine like rambling structures.Poetic license invoked, point taken.
    Read Porphyria’s Lover R Browning

  4. I’ve read about these roses elsewhere and still haven’t stopped shaking my head. Picking out roses based on the stem seems to me a little like picking out a box of chocolates based on the paper cups the chocolates sit in. Totally beside the point. My guess is that a guy came up with this marketing idea. And once again, women must explain: size isn’t everything, buddy.

    Now, if someone could figure out how to put the fragrance back into roses for the floral trade, that would really be something!

  5. I’m anxious to read Amy’s new book. I knew there were lots of roses (and oodles of other flowers) in Ecuador, as I’ve SEEN them! We had an exchange student from Ecuador in 1993-94 and I’ve been down there to visit her twice since then. I was amazed at the street vendors selling the most gorgeous roses for $2 a dozen, and even then, you could probably talk with them and get them for less, although I didn’t. $2/dozen … amazing!

  6. I’m anxious to read Amy’s new book. I knew there were lots of roses (and oodles of other flowers) in Ecuador, as I’ve SEEN them! We had an exchange student from Ecuador in 1993-94 and I’ve been down there to visit her twice since then. I was amazed at the street vendors selling the most gorgeous roses for $2 a dozen, and even then, you could probably talk with them and get them for less, although I didn’t. $2/dozen … amazing!

  7. I grow the rose called “Old Fragrance” Hybrid Tea and it gets those really long stems of 6 feet. Has a lovey fragrance and a hot pink in colour.
    Do I like getting flowers on Valentines Day? Nuh, give me a bottle of perfume any day. I have roses in my garden. LOL

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