As Valentine’s Day is approaching, the fourteenth day of February is recognized as a day to celebrate romance with your lover and sharing tokens of love with gratitude amongst family and friends.  There is an enigma that surrounds the Saint that is responsible for the tradition of Valentine’s Day that shares both Christian and archaic Roman rituals and influences.

 

One legend describes a third century Roman Priest by the name of Saint Valentine.  This Priest went against Emperor Claudius II that commanded his single soldiers not to marry.  The emperor felt single men made better soldiers than ones that had a spouse with offspring.  Valentine started conducting secret weddings within the Christian church for these men that were prohibited to marry.

 

Once Claudius discovered Valentine was performing these clandestine weddings for his soldiers he ordered him to be executed.  As Valentine was held in captivity there was a man named Asterius that was said to be his jailer and had a daughter that was blind.  Valentine prayed over this young girl and healed her sight.  Before Valentine’s execution in the year of 269 AD he wrote this young girl a letter signed “Your Valentine”.

 

During the fourteenth century the tradition of courtly love flourished under the circle of Geoffrey of Chaucer.  Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowls contains the first extant reference to “Saint Valentine’s Day” as a celebration of romance.    

 

In the eighteenth century in England, Valentine’s Day expanded as lovers started gifting each other with flowers and confectionery.  These legends have evolved in our culture and have brought fourth a special day to celebrate love with one another. 

 

This year when you are contemplating on that special gift, there are many types of plants that may be chosen that will be longer lasting and be more memorable than an arrangement of cut flowers that tend to fade.

 

When selecting a perfect plant to share your love and gratitude, you may choose a type of plant or color that conveys a message you are wanting to express.  Orchids have a long bloom cycle that may be enjoyed for months inside a home and will be a repeat bloomer if properly taken care of.  This plant represents love, beauty and strength.  There are so many alluring species and cultivars to choose from that often times I struggle to pick one.  They are all so uniquely beautiful.

Hardy cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium) have vibrant long lasting flowers at this time of the year that are embellished with heart shaped leaves that makes the perfect gift.  Once the cyclamen goes into dormancy it may be cut back to encourage new growth the following year.  Cyclamen has toxic properties in the bulb of the rhizomes.  This plant is symbolic of resignation and represents that all good things eventually will come to an end that in turn will open new doors. 

 

Lenten rose varieties (Hellebours orientalis) will bloom for months in the garden and is refreshing to have some color at this time of the year into spring.  The blooms are frost resistant.  This lovely perennial will return next year displaying beautiful flowers and will be remembered.

 

Miniature roses make an excellent gift as they can be enjoyed indoors in bright light for months offering colorful blooms.  When the temperatures warm up they can be transplanted to an outdoor container on the patio or deck.  Roses symbolize love, honor, beauty and passion.  Valentine’s Day always makes me remember its time to prune my roses back hard in my garden so I may enjoy their new growth in spring that will be followed by an abundance of flowers in the summer.

 

Valentine’s Day shares a special place in my life, celebrating a day of romance with my Husband and sharing love for my family and friends.  This special day also represents bringing closure to the winter months.  It’s the time of year to prepare to welcome spring with open arms and an open heart for the joys of the season that is ahead.