Valentine’s Day Dilemma
As Valentine’s Day rolls around, it can be tough to get just the right gift. Here are some plant ideas that might work for you; they did for my sweetheart!
I am married to a practical man. He works as an engineering troubleshooter. Logic rules in his world. When we were dating, he confessed that Valentine’s Day was sheer agony for him. He doesn’t “get” the whole cut flowers thing. He asked me, “You’re supposed to say ‘I love you forever’ with a bunch of flowers that are going to be dead and thrown out in a week?!”
“And chocolate?” he wailed, “Why?! Most ladies are watching their weight!”
Plants for a Plant Lady
Since I am always messing around with plants, sweetheart decided to get me a plant that first year. A living plant. Again logic rules, so he went to a plant place -– not a supermarket. And here is where he lucked out. He went to a local nursery, not a big box store, and a gem of a Certified Nursery Professional came to his rescue. (Most states have a program to certify plant nursery professionals*).
This Certified Professional garden guru knew plants and how to grow them, but best of all he knew some of the fascinating lore that went along with the plants. After asking a few questions, this professional discovered that I liked and used herbs. Thus he steered my sweetheart to select from these herb plants with romantic history. My sweetheart bought me all three herbs plus a lovely pot to grow them in. Best of all, these herbs can be grown indoors or out, so if you live in a part of the Southwest with snow – you can still buy them now!
According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite (Goddess of Love) created oregano. Aphrodite often is depicted smiling and is said to have grown oregano in her garden as a symbol of joy. The word is a compound Greek word from óros (mountain) and gános meaning (joy or brightness), thus, “joy of the mountain.”
Oregano Will Grow
You can place pots of oregano in bright windows, and once freezing temperatures are done in your region, plant them outdoors in well-drained soil. They should live for years as a ground cover you can harvest. And the deer and javelina leave them alone!
Sweet Basil for a Sweetheart
Basil is native to India and other tropical regions stretching from Africa to Southeast Asia. This tasty plant was carried into Europe at least 3000 years ago. Our name for it, “basil,” comes from the Greek basilikón meaning “royal plant.” In ancient Italy it became a tradition that a suitor would give his sweetheart sprigs of basil. This was to assure her that he would treat her like royalty!
Basil Will Grow
Remember that basil is from the tropics? Basil is an annual plant for most of us living in the Southwest because most of us have winters that are simply too cold -– anything below about 45 degrees F. Grow basil indoors and plant it outside once it is above 45 degrees at night.
In English traditions “rosemary is for remembrance,” but in southern France in the Middle Ages brides traditionally wore a rosemary headpiece during weddings. The groom and guests also would wear rosemary –- at least a sprig. Over time, rosemary gained use as a love charm!
Rosemary Grows Well in the Southwest
Personally, I am very fond of the ‘Chef’s Choice’ cultivar of rosemary from the Sunset Western Garden Collection. It grows well in containers or in our alkaline soils. Its flavor is sweeter and less sharp tasting than most rosemary. The flowers are a rich beautiful blue and the bees and an occasional hummingbird visit them in my garden.
An Herbal Valentine’s Day Poem
Oregano blooms purple,
Rosemary blooms blue,
Basil is sweet,
And so are you!
* More about Certified Nursery Professionals
The Certified Nursery Professional program is designed to promote high-quality standards and professionalism for the nursery industry. Managing or working in a nursery requires an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of plant care. These professionals are trained in a wide variety of fields, including horticulture, plant physiology, entomology, weed control, soils, pruning, grafting, plant identification, turf management, and plant disease identification.
If you live in Arizona, consider the lectures mentioned on our Facebook page. Or consider booking any one of our team for a lecture to your HOA or garden club. After each event I will be signing copies of my books, including “Month by Month Gardening for Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico” (Cool Springs Press). This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there we may get a few pennies.
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