Sunday, February 10, 2019

Hello Young Lovers

By Fred Owens

Hi Everybody,

When I was a kid lying on the rug in the living room, I must have listened to this song a million times. I wanted to be Yul Brynner when I grew up and dance with Gertrude Lawrence, or -- movie version -- Deborah Kerr.

I still have the almost worn out album in the archives someplace.

Valentine's Day is more than one day, it is the Season of Love. Buy flowers early, they get picked over and the best ones sell early. Roses are traditional but they make some mighty poor roses without any scent in large greenhouses in Peru. Most roses and commercial flowers are imported these days. It's just that labor is so much cheaper in Peru and Ecuador and fresh flowers do not weigh very much so you can ship them by air at a reasonable cost. The flower market is global these days and that is a good thing, for the most part. 

It's not easy to find roses grown in America, but at least ask..... and buy early. And you're a complete amateur if you only buy her flowers on Valentine's Day. You're a real lover if you buy her flowers almost any time and for no reason at all. Women like it if you give them flowers. Almost always. Almost every woman.
Buy flowers for weddings, funerals, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations -- any occasion, or no occasion at all. But there is one exception. Do not apologize with flowers. That feels like a bribe and it doesn't work. You apologize with words only, not with flowers.

I've been in the flower business most of my life so I notice these things. I've worked commercially on roses, daffodils, sweet peas and lilacs. I was working on a flower farm in Ventura, California, when I met Laurie in May of 2011. They grew dahlias on several acres, but they decided to add sweet peas for the winter dormant period. The owners figured that sweet peas being a legume, they would fix the nitrogen for the soil and make it better for the dahlias in the summer.

So I toiled in the greenhouse that winter, putting thousands of round black sweet pea seeds into tiny peat moss pots, where they sprouted and put up tiny leaves. Then we gathered the seedlings, fifty to a tray, and took them out to the raised beds and planted them. It was rainy that winter of 2011, so we just sat back and let them grow, fixing up nets and poles for them to climb.

By April we had a crop of long-stem sweet peas to bring to the farmers market at five dollars a bunch. The sweet peas smelled so good. Their fragrance was like an intoxicating fog. This was almost an acre of sweet peas and it was me more than anybody that got them growing.

Here's the problem and why you don't find too many people growing sweet peas commercially. They don't last in a vase, a few days at most. Hard to store and hard to ship  -- the growers love sweet peas just like anybody else, but you can't make money doing that if they go limp in a few days. We tried at the dahlia farm in Ventura. We could grow a ton of sweet peas, just not for a profit. We tried for two years, but gave up and the owners switched to boarding horses for income. That ended my work there, being a flower guy, not a horse guy.

But I did meet Laurie that spring. We connected on Plenty O Fish, an Internet dating site. We decided to meet for coffee at the Coffee Bean in Carpinteria. This was a Sunday in late May. I had been up at 5 a.m. that day to work the farmers market in Oxnard. She was returning from visiting her ailing father in Manhattan Beach. I got there early. I was a little nervous but I figured if I got the right chair it would be all right. I sat inside, no. I sat outside near the door, no. I sat in the middle of the patio outside, still not quite right. But it was just nerves. I wanted to make a good impression.

Then I remembered. I had just left the farmers market in Oxnard. I had fifty bouquets of sweet peas in buckets in the back of the van. I bet she would like it if I gave her a bouquet of sweet peas and she did like that very much. We got off to a good start and never looked back.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is part Native American. She should be proud of that heritage and not apologize. She grew up in Oklahoma where most of the people are a small part Indian and they don't have to prove it. Warren cites her family stories about an Indian ancestor. That's good enough. And calling her Pocahontas is no's kind of endearing. She might make a good president, if she stops apologizing for who she is.
Happy Valentine's Day,

Twenty Years. Frog Hospital is celebrating 20 years of publication in 2019. Over 700 issues and some of them were pretty good. Our Credo has always been tell the truth and don't waste people's time -- meaning keep it interesting. We have done that. And we plan to keep going. Our motto is Onward!

Frog Hospital Blog There are more than 900 posts on the Frog Hospital blog going back through the years. Somebody of these old posts are still vital.  Take a look.

Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My gardening blog is  Fred Owens
My writing blog is Frog Hospital

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