Saint Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s the day of romance when, each year, people exchange cards, gifts or flowers with someone dear to them.
It’s the day when cupids and hearts and flowers become the iconic gifts to give.
It’s also the day when flower shop owners have to get all their blooms ready for their busiest day of the year.
Albert Tavolaro, owner of the Flower House, at Forest Oaks Boulevard and Commercial Way, said he starts planning for Valentine Day right after Christmas.
St. Valentine’s Day is the day when the red rose becomes a hot commodity. Roses, the favorite flower of the Roman goddess, Venus, indicate passion and romance, and florists must make sure there will be enough blooms to fulfill customer orders.
“Flowers are very delicate and should be harvested at the optimum time,” said Albert. “Then we have to allow for travel time so that they arrive in perfect condition.”
Albert’s flowers come mostly from growers in South America from countries like Ecuador and Colombia. But he also uses suppliers in Mexico and California.
“It depends on what is trending and what my customers want,” he said. “I just know my growers have to meet enormous demands at this time of the year.”
Not all Valentine flowers need to be the expensive ones. Even if it’s just one single long-stemmed rose, it can carry the same sweet message as a dozen red roses.
Albert explained that although red roses are a favorite to send to loved ones on this special day, he also buys in lots of other popular flowers for the occasion like the lily, dahlia, iris, tulip, chrysanthemum and hydrangea. Alstroemenia, or the Peruvian lily is long-lasting too and its pink blossoms represent friendship and devotion.
“Pink and red carnations are also very popular and symbolize new love or special friendship,” said Tavolaro. “I also get requests for the more unusual flowers like blue orchids or rainbow roses,” he said.
The rainbow rose is a rose that has had its petals artificially colored. It’s achieved by splitting the stem and dipping each part in different colored water. The colors are then drawn into the petals resulting in a multicolored rose.
“The same method is applied to achieve blue orchids,” he said.
Tavolaro has been in the flower business since a young age. He opened his first store in Brooklyn at age 18 and his flower design shop was featured in the 1986 movie “Moonstruck” starring Cher and Nicholas Cage.
“They liked the old-fashioned woodwork all the mirrors I had,” said Tavolaro. “The street was filled with lights, crewmen and RVs with everything from equipment to specially fitted dressing rooms for the stars,” he said.
Tavolaro’s flower shop was originally a private house. It was repurposed as the florist shop it now is and even managed to find a use for the in-ground swimming pool as a sunken wedding chapel.
“We’re actually holding a wedding here just a few days before Valentine’s Day,” Tavolaro said, running down some brick steps and standing under the floral arch.
You don’t just have to stop at buying your “significant other” flowers. The Flowerhouse is simply bursting t the seams with silk flower arrangements, balloon bouquets, plush, candy baskets and live plants. The Flower House also fills orders via Teleflora and FTD.
“Whatever flower is chosen,” said Tavolaro, “I’m sure it will be a Valentine’s Day success.”
And to help your blooms keep fresh and long-lasting, Tavolaro says not to cut the stems flat, but to always trim at an angle. Keep the water fresh, and use the feed supplied with every arrangement.
IF YOU GO
The Flower House is located at 7260 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays
Phone: (352) 686-4180 / Toll Free: 800-255-5298
Family owned and operated.