Valentine’s Day Roses And Embarassments

Shrub roses with red splashed flowers

Shrub rose

Whatever our feelings about Saint Valentine’s Day, it’s hard to ignore. We all know we should let our sweethearts know that we love them all year round, even when they are walking mud into the house, let’s say, or leaving jam on the fridge door.

For those of us who find it hard to express our affection every day, Valentine’s Day can be a good thing. For those of us who get a sweet little extra something we appreciate, it’s a good thing. For people who sell cards, chocolates, flowers and meals, it’s definitely a good thing.

I’ve never been wildly keen on the day, perhaps due to several embarrassments it has occasioned.

At school, a fake Valentine’s Day card ostensibly from me was sent to a boy I was not fond of who demonstrated great disgust on receiving it. That’s when I first realised the day might not be all it was cracked up to be.

Rosa 'Darcey Bussell' - a crimson English rose

Rosa ‘Darcey Bussell’

In my teens, I received a Valentine’s card from Anon who described himself as “Alone and palely loitering”, which idea filled me more with a vague horror than romance (sorry Keats). The card sender was prescient as I proved to have no mercy, persuading my reluctant Dad to assure him I was not interested when he called to press his suit. My suitor was using information he accessed through his work in a way that would be illegal now, if it was not then.

Weirdly, I had known who he was all along and had sensed a couple of times that he was following me. That experience cemented my belief that nothing good would come of an anonymous approach.

Rosa mundi - the striped rose

Rosa mundi

A decade or so later, a splendid but anonymous bouquet was delivered to my office. I assumed it was from my then boyfriend (which it was not) and rang to thank him enthusiastically for it, saying how beautiful it was. Whether to display or not display the now problematical flowers became a minor issue. The subsequent year another splendid, anonymous bouquet was delivered to my work. I confessed to the same boyfriend I had got another bouquet, insisting that I did not want it, and explaining that I had given it to a female colleague, to find out it had been from him this time.

And that’s just the years I remember.

Rosa 'Boscobel' - a pink English rose

Rosa ‘Boscobel’

My sweetheart and I have a more comfortable understanding. We do not give each other flowers, but we plant flowers and we enjoy many beautiful gardens together. We hide hearts for the other to find and point out any natural hearts we see. Valentine’s Day, if we are together which sadly this year, we are not, means we will most likely not be able to get a peaceful seat in our favourite restaurant, so will leave it a couple of days before making the attempt. We’ll most likely send each other some token but if we do not, no harm is done.

Valentine’s Day obviously works for many people and if it works for you, I’m happy it does. I’m a romantic at heart despite all I say here. If you have a sweetheart close to hand, please give him or her an extra squeeze or kiss today for the sake of all us others whose sweethearts are far from home.

Roses and perennials at Rosemoor Garden

Roses and perennials at Rosemoor Garden

Wherever you are, and whoever you are with or not with, I hope you’ll enjoy these virtual roses.

35 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Roses And Embarassments

  1. margaret21 says:

    Neither of us can be doing with Valentine’s Day (or Mothering Sunday, or Father’s Day, or any of those other days that have become commerce fests). We give it no attention whatever, which doesn’t alter our feelings for each other one bit. Your salutary tales are a definite disincentive to play along. Great stories!

  2. Laurie Graves says:

    My goodness! What exciting Valentine’s Days you have had had. Mine are boring in comparison. I like your easy going approach to the holiday. After all, why should we dictate how others celebrate or do not celebrate this holiday? Here is my take: Any holiday that celebrates chocolate is AOK with me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Now, on to make chocolate-covered pretzels to take to trivia night.

  3. Oddment says:

    Thank you for these gorgeous roses, most especially for the swoon-worthy buds! I loved them all, of course, but I was blown away by the blast of color in that last photo — what is that wonderful purple? We are iced in here, quite literally, and so these warm reds and soft petals are all the more glorious. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  4. Heyjude says:

    Your roses made me smile, your stories made me laugh, it’s not a day we do anything special on, but before we even met the OH sent me a red rose ๐ŸŒน to my place of work. I wasn’t in the office until late that day and everyone knew about it before me. I was terribly embarrassed, but forgave him. He’s not repeated it!

  5. Eliza Waters says:

    Oh, such stories you share, Susan! There can be a downside to this holiday for sure. In my twenties, I worked as a florist in a large city and memories of the day still send shivers down my spine. The inflated price of roses was always contentious and I felt badly for these poor men who felt their relationship would be jeopardized if they didn’t give their sweetheart a dozen. My spouse knows better, haha, but I do accept fine chocolates. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • susurrus says:

      I can imagine. And it’s stressful in the days beforehand, hoping that deliveries will arrive in good condition and on time and that orders and stock will roughly balance out. Chocolates are a much safer choice.

  6. Old Herbaceous says:

    Lovely rose photos, as always! I enjoyed your stories — yes, Valentine’s Day can be so fraught! My husband and I often send each other corny e-cards because they are fun. If/when I get flowers from him, I ask for potted bulbs, not cut flowers. I love their scent and then I can plant them in the garden! I usually make an extra-nice dinner at home for the family for Valentine’s Day. This year, we had filet mignon with a red wine/shallot reduction, asparagus with sauce Bearnaise, roasted broccoli, and stuffed mushrooms, with a good bottle of Malbec. Only took about 30 minutes to make, since I bought the mushrooms already stuffed.

    • susurrus says:

      That sounds delicious and the bulbs are a great idea too. My sweetheart sent me a picture of an escalator this year. I was tempted to share it here because it was so great.

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