Welcome to my stop on the Valentine’s Day Gift Hop! Keep reading for instructions on how to win a $5 Amazon gift card and the other grand prizes.
Valentine’s Day is fast upon us. A time for red roses wrapped in tissue paper and sticky chocolates. For those of you who need a break from Cupid’s saccharine smile, I provide this bit of bitter as a counter note to the sweet, and give the rose back its thorns when I consider some less savory facts about this famous flower.
Heliogabalus smothered his guests in them
In an attempt to one up the famous sensualist and politician Cleopatra, Heliogabalus showered his guests in roses. Only, there was such a profusion of flowers, his guests suffocated under the heady blooms. Please note: this little factoid comes to us from the ancient equivalent of the National Enquirer.
The Cherokee rose is anything but
It’s from China. Yup, that’s right, you heard me. From China. Not native at all. Just like those goddamn stinkbugs.
Red roses are for love
Yellow roses are for infidelity. What? A Japan rose is for someone who’s just a pretty face. Okay… A dried white rose for “death is preferable to loss of innocence.” And thank you, Lucy Hooper. Not sure when I would need that one.
Dr. Livingston presumes…
To complain to London’s Horticultural Society about William Kerr’s pittance of a salary.
Who’s William Kerr? Only a young Scottish man who sent 238 new species of plants (including his namesake, the Kerria japonica) back from China during his eight and half years there. Shipping plants overseas in 1803 was quite difficult. It took Kerr five months to travel from England to China, and the plants that he brought with him mostly perished. Three at least made it to China, though what happened afterwards can only be guessed (cough cough dead cough).
So, of the 238,000 plants young Kerr packed up and shipped back to England—I’m going off of Livingstone’s math here—238 made it, including the white Banksian rose, a flower still much admired and grown today.
So, what’s sad about this story? I’ll quote Jennifer Potter’s The Rose here: “So Kerr was drinking and perhaps worse, ground down by poverty and loneliness.” At this time in history, China restricted the movement of European traders in their country, isolating them, and according to Livingstone, Kerr didn’t even have enough money to buy new clothes and spent much of his time navigating congested streets instead of working. Eventually, his employers decided to make him superintendent at the King’s new botanical gardens in Sri Lanka. It sounds lovely, except he died shortly after arriving. While Potter indicates a fever, Wikipedia suggests opium.
Now you need some sugar, I know. In honor of all the flowers getting ready for their big day, I’ve dropped the price of The Love of Violetta from $2.99 to $0.99.
Violetta learns the bitter truth that, like the roses in the garden, young love fades. What sweetness can she find treading the halls where her love once walked? Who will kiss her, now that he has refused?
Available at Amazon and Smashwords. You can read the first part here for free.
To enter to win the Grand Prizes:
And the $5 Amazon gift card, comment below with your email address and the bouquet you’d love to receive for Valentine’s Day (mainly your email address though). After you’re done, don’t forget to comment on other blogs for more chances to win the Grand Prize! Every comment equals an additional entry.
Click here to get back to the list of participating blogs!
As far as what bouquet I’d want, it would be full of messy old garden roses, cabbage roses and dog roses and moss roses. I’d also like to thank Jennifer Potter for her lovely book, The Rose, which has helped me to natter at family members about an even wider variety of plants.
Clyde Mach said:
Interesting post, thank you for that. I’m not fond of receiving bouquets but am happy to gift the woman I love whatever combination of flowers she fancies. But if she wants to bring me flowers, I’d prefer a living plant, growing in its pot.
A nice succulent for your succulent man–that sounds like a Valentine’s Day tradition I can get behind. Perhaps something not pointy, like a crassula. Dyckias are no good. They combine the stabbiness of a bromeliad with the stabbiness of a cactus.
I like yellow freesias best!
I love freesias! They smell lovely. I wish they were hardy here.
Peonies are my favorite flowers to receive in a bouquet!
Old House Gardens normally has some spectacular heirloom species (I have Humei and Duchess de Nemours), although their selection doesn’t go up until June, if you want to check them out.
jenny meyers said:
I would love to get some of those big beautiful sunflowers!
I like the brown ones. They look like they’re made out of chocolate.
Tiffany Drew said:
I love all flowers (except lilacs) and would glad to receive any bouquet, but I must say the bouquet I look forward to getting most is one made of books 🙂 Thank you!
My grandmother always grew lilacs, so they have a soft spot for me. More books is always good too. I actually just devoured Howl’s Moving Castle, which is quite different than the movie.
*Great* post! So very interesting especially to a history fanatic like myself. My favorite bouquet would be compromised of orchids or calla lily; beautiful and exotic to the extreme.
I’m glad you enjoyed! Queen of Fashion is a great historical book if you’re looking for a new read. Your bouquet sounds stunning–I can picture it with some fiddleheads and big glossy dark leaves.
amy bowens said:
I think I would like to have a bouquet of daffodil’s they are my favorite flowers. I also feel you on the stink bugs I hate them the most disgusting little creatures I feel like they are always outside stalking waiting to get in to keep warm. Thanks for sharing
I love miniature daffodils, and the scented ones. I grew this one kind called “geranium” and it perfumed my whole yard. And, as far as stinkbugs go, my father-in-law sent us a BugZooka, and it’s awesome.
orchids and lily’s 🙂
Thanks for sharing
I just saw an orchid show at the local conservatory! I love how some of them smell like fruit loops, and others like perfume, and some not very nice at all.
I’d love a bouquet of Gardenias, it’s my most favorite flower! ❤ then come large Gerbera daisies in hot orange colour! 🙂
Thanks for participating in this great hop!
I love Calla Lilies myself but they are hard to come by. Thanks. email@example.com
I would like to receive orchids because those are so exotic. Thanks for participating in the giveaway. firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa C. said:
I’m not really into flowers but if they are from the heart then I’ll take whatever.
leighannecrisp at yahoo dot com
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com
I’d love bright red roses!
spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com
courtney t said:
What a tough question! I love anemones, but they are a very delicate flower that would die quickly. Peonies are another favorite flower. Gardenias and jasmine are my favorite scent for flowers (freesias and lavender, too)
Daniel M said:
a bouquet of red pink orange yellow roses
I love white roses! Happy Valentine’s Day to you!
verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com
Michele M said:
My favorite bouquet would have to be a mix of purple roses and calla lilies. I love calla lilies and roses are always special. Purple is my favorite color and also the color of Fibromyalgia which I have had for many years now. It reminds me every day to be a Fibro Warrior. That would be my perfect bouquet. email@example.com
Brittany Wendtland said:
I like lilies!! bw2323bro(@)yahoo.com
Tammy Faris said:
Of course, I love roses…all kinds/colors, etc. BUT.. happy little daisies are my fav!
Congrats Tammy, you won! I’ll be sending your gift card over shortly.
Tulips are beautiful. Happy Valentine’s Day.
writeforward at yahoo dot com
Samantha Loving said:
i usually get White Roses.
Hi! Happy Valentines! I love wildflowers. All the different colors. so pretty! I definitely want to go here! Thank you for sharing and for the amazing giveaway!
bn100candg at hotmail dot com
I love roses or carnations either white or red
I like red roses.
bituin76 at hotmail dot com
Joy F (@harvester5905) said:
Allergic to flowers, so just chocolate for me.
magic5905 at embarqmail dot com
I would love to get red roses.
sstrode at scrtc dot com
I love red roses. Thanks for the great giveaway!
Shannon Blackwell-Williams said:
I love daisies! My hubby always gets them for me even for V-Day!
Janie McGaugh said:
For Valentine’s Day, I prefer a bouquet of mostly roses.
jmcgaugh (at) semo (dot) edu