Florists put the petals to the metal on Valentine’s Day

With some customers buying up to 99 red roses, florists across the GTA prepared tirelessly for this year’s edition of Valentine’s Day.

Sales associate at Violet Blooms in Pickering, Kelly McDowell, 19, says it takes about a month to prepare for the big day.

“For the store itself, we order the flowers, get them into the store, treat them and then bunch them and make bouquets,” McDowell said. “We also have to make food packs, tear sheets to wrap the flowers and prepare gift boxes to put the flowers in.”

Even though a lot of flower shops take pre-orders, not everybody that buys flowers chooses to take advantage of the option.

Andrew Jinkinson, 41, manager of Sheridan Nurseries in Scarborough, says it’s all or nothing when it comes time to buy flowers from the store.

“I don’t know if I’m going to sell out of roses or have enough,” he said. “I’m either going to have a ton of roses and have a big sale tomorrow, or I’m going to be short of roses.

“It’s all or nothing because the guys are so last minute,” he said.

Susana Nelson, 40, a florist at Vandermeer Nursery in Ajax, says that if you’re particular about a certain flower’s colour you should plan ahead.

“Usually you would need to book everything at least a month or two ahead,” Nelson said. “It’s such a big industry and it’s so demanding that if you don’t pre-book your roses you’re not going to get them.”

McDowell says the most in-demand flower for Valentine’s Day is the red rose.

“It symbolizes love and that’s something that people want to share with loved ones on Valentine’s Day,” she said.

For Jinkinson, his favourite part of Valentine’s Day is the emotions of the customers.

“The guys are just in a really good mood,” Jinkinson said. “Everyone has fun with it.”

Nelson, who has been working in the flower and garden industry for 15 years, says she wanted to become a florist because of her artistic skills.

“I have a creative bend to me,” Nelson said. “Since I don’t have the time to paint, it’s like painting with flowers.”