I wonder how much fertilizer, water and pesticide was applied to all the roses that will be delivered today – Valentine’s Day?
Not to mention the energy involved in transporting them and keeping those cut stems cool?
According to a website about flowers:
“British people spend around 40 million pounds on flowers to say “I love you”.
Sales of fresh flowers increase by 48% on average sales levels.
The majority of roses sold in the UK are flown in from Colombia, Ecuador, Holland and Kenya, to satisfy the huge consumer demand.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the same day worldwide therefore over 55 million roses – mostly red – are traded on this one day alone.
Russians, Japanese and Americans are avid buyers of roses; and many European countries spend three times what we in the UK do, on fresh flowers.
Most nations want ‘Valentine’s’ red roses.”
Many an academic has said we shouldn’t grow cotton and rice in Australia, but what about roses? Jared Diamond suggested we should phase our agriculture in Australia, but didn’t mention roses in his book titled Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive.
Here is some more information, but I’m not sure how reliable:
“Just how many roses do Americans buy on Valentine’s Day? On Valentine’s Day 2002, they bought 130 million.
Getting 130 million roses to the market for one day is neither easy nor cheap, say the growers.
Roses can’t be cranked out like hamburgers or oil changes. Roses require time, care, warmth and sunlight.
Most of the roses on the market are grown in greenhouses. According to Roses Incorporated, a rose growers trade association, commercial rose growers in the U.S. operate nearly 900 acres of greenhouse area at a capital investment of about $1 million per acre.
In summer, a greenhouse can grow a rose in about 30 days. But in the cold, dark months of December, January, and February it takes between 50 and 70 days to grow a rose.
Keeping the Valentine’s Day rose crop warm while it grows requires a lot of heat. So much that the winter heating bills of large, California greenhouses typically exceed $200,000 a month.
And the production logistics are daunting. At the same time growers are filling the Christmas season demand, they must gear up to produce a huge Valentine’s Day crop.
The distribution logistics are no less daunting. The timing must be perfect. Growers and wholesalers must get the rose crop to 26,000 florists and 23,000 supermarkets within five days of Valentine’s Day. Any sooner is too early, for the roses may perish. Any later is too late. Not many people buy roses the day after Valentine’s Day.”
Clearly we live in a rich society, full of tradition and ceremony and we still have the energy and land resources to mass produce and distribute roses.
Happy Valentine’s Day.