Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times
While Elizabeth Taylor proclaimed that big girls need big diamonds, it was writer and famous political anarchist Emma Goldman that said she would rather have roses on her table than diamonds on her neck. While you will rarely find a girl that debates the brilliance of the beautiful Taylor, Goldman may have been right on the money.
While there is no official poll in Valdosta to determine the most popular Valentine’s Day gift, florists in Valdosta have it on good authority that overwhelmingly, it's flowers.
“Valentine's Day is the busiest time of the year,” said manager of Central Floral Co. Sandy Avila.
According to Avila, it takes two months to prepare for Valentine’s Day. Flowers have to be ordered, prepped and stored and when you’re filling an estimated 300 flower orders, that's going to take some time.
Zant's Flower Shop was booming with business yesterday and according to Zant’s manager Bruce Sumner, they are filling over 500 flower orders that must be made and delivered over the course of two days.
“I'll have seven drivers,” said Sumner.
Zant’s was getting slammed with so many orders, that by 1 p.m. yesterday, they stopped taking orders.
By late afternoon on the eve of Valentine's Day, Azalea City Florist was in a flurry of roses and baby's breath as they were working to fill a large amount of orders. And why shouldn't they be busy? After all, aside from the buzz of the holiday, they are in possession of Tonya Whitaker, the South West Georgia Floral Association's Designer of the Year.
According to Whitaker, she would be clocking between 25-30 hours over the course of two days.
Likewise, Valdosta Greenhouses was in full Valentine's Day mode as they completed order after order of floral arrangements.
“We are really busy,” said Valdosta Greenhouses floral designer Bonnie Holton.
With only four designers, Valdosta Greenhouses is working to complete more than 300 orders.
So why flowers on Valentine's Day? According to the History Channel, Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. By the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. However, even earlier in the end of the 15th century, the tradition of courtly love flourished (in large part due to authors that proclaimed notions of romantic love such as Geoffrey Chaucer) and Valentine’s Day evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their feelings by presenting offerings of flowers and confections.
So while an estimated one billion Valentine's Day cards are exchanged each year, according to the Greeting Card Association, it was flowers that served as the traditional gift, making it a timeless classic.
So, with no offense to Marilyn Monroe who famously sang that "diamonds are a girl’s best friend", history and an unofficial poll in Valdosta show that flowers are for lovers.