Irene Virag's Garden Party

I'm Irene Virag -- a writer, a gardener, a cancer survivor. I think ideas are like plants. They need nurturing to grow. And gardeners share both. So welcome to my blog. It’s all about what’s happening in my garden and beyond.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Searching for Flowers

With Valentine's Day upon us, it's no surprise that flowers are on our minds. And Yahoo! Buzz -- which sifts through the millions of searches that the curious, the confused and the computer-dependent among us make on any given day -- has issued a list of flowers getting the most action on the Web.

Here's the Top 20, followed by the traditional sentiment associated with each bloom. In the lexicon of flowers, apparently Calla lilies, Gerbera daisies and Star Gazer lilies have no special meanings. Anyone out there want to speak for them? Send me your thoughts.

Top Searched Flowers on Yahoo!
Rose (Love)
Orchid (A Belle)
Iris (My Compliments)
Calla Lily (?)
Sunflower (Pure thoughts)
Amaryllis (Splendid beauty)
Tulip (Declaration of love)
Carnation (Pride and beauty)
Hydrangea (Heartfelt)
Bird of Paradise (Joyfulness)
Chrysanthemum (Fidelity)
Daffodil (Chivalry)
Tiger Lily (I dare you to love me)
Anthurium (Hospitality)
Peony (Bashful)
Lilac (Youthful innocence)
Gerbera Daisy (?)
Anemone (Anticipation)
Aster (Patience)
Stargazer Lily (?)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Behind the Bouquets

As Valentine's Day approaches, author Amy Stewart wants you to know a thing or two about the bouquets you give and get. Her new book "Flower Confidential" hits the stores this week and let me tell you, it will give you a lot to think about. Accurately subtitled “The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers” this consummately-reported book about the cut-flower trade is a quintessential must read for flower lovers.

Read my interview with Amy to learn about her adventures as she traveled the world in search of the story behind the flowers. And check out her blog. In the meantime, here are some of the fascinating things you'll learn from "Flower Confidential":

*Cut flowers are a $40 billion worldwide industry.
*Americans spend about $6.2 billion on approximately 4 billion cut flowers a year. That's about 10 million stems every day.
*Per capita spending on cut flowers is about $25 in this country. The Swiss top the list, spending more than $100 per person.
*About 2.9 billion stems or 78 percent of all cut flowers sold in America are imported, most of them from Columbia and Ecuador.
*Works in Ecuadorian flower farms make about $150 a month -- less than four cents for every rose sold.
*Americans buy 180 million roses -- most of them red -- for Valentine's Day.
*During the two weeks before Valentine's Day almost 15 million stems of Latin American flowers will arrive every day at Miami International Airport.
*More than one third of orders will be placed on Feb. 13 and another 22 percent will be called in on Valentine's Day.

Take that last item as a reminder to place your order. And do the planet a favor, ask for flowers that are certified as eco-friendly. It's something you'll be hearing more about in the future as the push for certification grows. And it's something you'll truly appreciate after reading Amy's book.

Here are some of the florists featured in "Flower Confidential."
*Organic Bouquet: Purveyors of organic blooms to buy online or by phone. 877-899-2468.
*b brooks fine flowers: A network of speciality florists. 888-346-3356
*Flowers of the World: A cutting-edge Manhattan shop. 800-582-0428