Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day!

We have been very busy the past week getting ready for Valentine’s Day. It is truly an organizational feat to prepare for this one day. Starting late last week we began receiving our flowers that needed to be processed by cleaning and giving a fresh cut to the stems. They are then put in buckets with preservative water until needed. We always try to encourage customers to have the flowers delivered earlier in the week rather than on Valentine’s Day itself. We also hope for nice weather, since it makes deliveries that much easier. Fortunately, the days are starting to get longer so at least it is not too dark out later in the afternoon. Thankfully, we dodged the predicted snow.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Meaning of Roses

With Valentine’s Day almost upon us, I thought it would be interesting to look at the different rose colors and their meanings. I love growing roses and personally prefer "hot " colors, such as reds, yellows and oranges. But when you are sending roses, the colors you select send a meaning, or so we’ve been led to believe by the floral industry.

Red roses mean love, passion and respect

White roses indicate spiritual love and purity

Pink roses mean happiness, appreciation, friendship, admiration, and sympathy

Lavender roses show love at first sight

while, yellow roses say "I care," friendship, joy, gladness, freedom

Peach roses indicate modesty and coral roses mean desire

If you are the lucky recipient of roses for Valentine's Day, here are a few tips for making the flowers last longer:

1. Change the water daily and make sure that leaves and other bits of plant material are not left in the water.

2. Use the floral preservative that came with your roses.

3. Roses will last longer if the room is cool.

4. Re-cut the stems every other day or so.

Web Sites for Vegetables

Information for Growing Vegetables

In the process of updating the vegetable signs for the coming season I came across a couple of web sites that I thought would be of interest to avid veg gardeners. The first site is run by Cornell University in upstate New York. It provides descriptions of many different vegetable and herb varieties. The most interesting feature of this site is that it allows registered users to rate and post comments about each variety. The web address is: The site also has growing guides for a wide range of crops. The University of Illinois also has a web site with information on growing vegetables. Their web site is As you begin to plan your gardens for the coming year you might consider using these sites to help you pick new crops or varieties to grow. I found the Cornell site more user friendly and better laid out but the U of I site would have better information about our particular growing areas.

Land Grant Universities

Both universities are what are known as "land grant" universities and were originally funded by Congress with grants of land that the universities were able to sell to raise money to establish the university. Each state has one. These universities received these grants with the obligation to conduct research and provide education that would benefit the public. At the time the public were mostly farmers and rural communities and the research reflected that. While most research is still agriculture based, more research and programs are directed toward consumer sciences and urban development. It is a valuable resource that is available to everyone through the web site and our local extension offices. In McHenry County the extension office is located in Woodstock at 1102 McConnell Rd.