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How to Create a Living Valentine

Take heart!  February brings us not only days that are getting longer, but also a special day dedicated to those we love.  February 14th is that special day!  It’s a great day to let those whom you hold dear know how much you care.

This year I am creating a special Valentine in a cardboard heart-shaped box.  The bottom of the “heart box” is covered in smooth red foil and the lid is covered with very fine-textured red glitter.  The box is 3” deep and 7.25” in width.  Because the box is cardboard and I will be using live plants and cut miniature roses, the box will need to be lined with aluminum foil to protect it from water damage.

I love using the combination of live plants and cut flowers whenever possible…it adds interest!  I have selected two plants in 4” pots.  One is a miniature pink cyclamen.  It is especially appropriate as a Valentine gift because cyclamen plants have heart-shaped leaves!  The other plant is a pink primula plant which reinforces the color of the cyclamen blossoms and softens the dominance of red!  However my traditional inner florist has urged me to use fresh cut miniature red roses…after all it is Valentine’s.

I will begin by properly hydrating both the plants and small cut roses.  While the “perishables” are hydrating, I will line the box with aluminum foil and cut down two small plastic deli containers to use as plant saucers for the cyclamen and primula.

A third deli container will need to be cut down to hold a small block of oasis.  The sides will need to be taller to hold plenty of water for the mini red roses.  This is the most important step taken to insure the lasting time of the roses.

When everything fresh is hydrated, its time to create a living Valentine! This will be an asymmetric floral design.  Because the mini cyclamen is the tallest, I have decided to place it into the “left lobe” of the heart box.  When creating an asymmetric floral design, it comes quite naturally for us (as Americans) to work from left to right.  We were trained at a young age to read and write from left to right.  So it is quite natural for us to also enjoy looking at floral designs from left to right.

The primula is the shortest, so it will look the most natural at the “point” of the heart.  The miniature red roses are cut shorter and are arranged in a mounded shape.  The density of the red roses balances the visual weight of the airy cyclamen blossoms.  The addition of green sheet moss adds an earthy feel, while a few 1.5” glittery hearts reminds us that this is clearly a celebration of Valentine’s Day.

Be sure to express feelings of love on Valentine’s Day to those who matter the most to you!

by Evelyn Kinville, Behnke’s Garden Blogger

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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