Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so it’s important to tell your loved ones how much you care. Shopping for gifts during the pandemic limits our options. At the top looking at some diamonds and at the bottom a cheap box of candy. Here in the islands we have a living option that we can enjoy for years without breaking our bank accounts or putting more pounds on what we weighed before the lockdown. Shopping in our local garden stores gives us plenty of room for fresh air and limited exposure to COVID-19. There are many plants that make perfect gifts at this time. The first ones that come to mind are anthuriums and orchids, but you should consider succulents and bromeliads for loved ones who may have slightly brown thumbs. However, do not give a cactus, otherwise it can be interpreted as negative. For those who have some space in the garden, consider fruit trees that can provide food for years or a nice clump of bamboo. Over 100 species of bamboo are grown in Hawaii for you to choose from. If you use your imagination, the sky is the limit.
Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate our love for spouses, friends, and family, but most people are unaware of the dark origins of this holiday. Its story is mysterious. It seems to have started with the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia. Of course, they borrowed it from even earlier pagans. In any case, before it became a Christian holiday, men sacrificed goats or dogs and whipped the women with the skins of killed animals. This should improve fertility! According to some historians, there was a lot of alcohol and nudity. A lottery was often held in which men would draw women’s names from a glass for the temporary match. Some games lasted and some were one-night stands. The result was almost certain fertility. Fifty Shades of Gray doesn’t hold a candle to this day.
Pope Gelasius I formulated the pagan festival as a Christian feast day around AD 496. The name Valentine’s Day seems to be named after two martyrs of the same name who were executed by Emperor Claudius II in the third century AD. Her martyrdom was ultimately honored by the Catholic Church.
Shakespeare and Chaucer romanticized it in their works. Handmade cards became a token-du-jour in the Middle Ages, so today we see vacation as much more romantic. But what really made big business was the mass production of Hallmark cards from 1913. That year, cards and gifts are expected to generate sales of around $ 20 billion.
We could look at Valentine’s Day from a cynical point of view, considering its origins, but love saves the day. The joy of choosing a card or gift for loved ones brings out the best in us. On the reception side, it warms hearts and helps our spouses, children, parents and friends to feel very special.
Sometimes it is difficult to know what to give to those who are important to you. The old adage “candy is dandy and wine is fine” works for some.
Other people may give jewelry, but what could be better for the Hawaiian gardener than giving or receiving a live plant?
Hawaii is famous for the thousands of species and hybrids of orchids. In fact, the Big Island was once known as Orchid Isle. Although they are difficult to grow in most mainland homes and gardens, they grow and bloom here with little or no care. Some species have established themselves to grace our forests and roadsides. A blooming orchid can last in the household for weeks and then put in the crotch of a tree and flowers bloom for years. You can find cattleyas, cymbidia, dendrobia, oncidia, vandas and much more at most garden stores and kindergartens.
Bromeliads come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The best ones for this holiday are those with red inflorescences and leaves. Some grow best on rocks or in trees as epiphytes. Many do not require soil and require a minimum of water. They like excellent drainage when growing in pots.
The favorite flower for Valentine’s Day is the heart-shaped anthurium. Hawaiian breeders have developed many hybrids of all shapes and sizes in white, orange, red, multi-colored, and even almost black. The black might not be the best gift for the occasion.
Anthuriums do well in shady, moist conditions with good soil drainage with a high percentage of organic matter.
Whichever gift you choose, just forget about the strange origins of the holiday and remember to give with all the love you can find in yourself. You will find that giving with love is one of the key elements of Hawaiian aloha.