Here's a tip for the guys. Don't buy a $4 bouquet of daffodils at the supermarket for Valentine's Day. That's cheap, and women want conspicuous extravagance on romantic occasions, something they can throw in their girlfriends' faces. Throw lovingly and subtly, of course.I can get away with it myself, but cheap is expected of me. I wouldn't even have known of the problem if I hadn't checked www.savedbythebud.com. It's a Web site for florally impaired guys, those who don't know a rose from a cabbage. (Hint: Don't give your sweetheart a cabbage for Valentine's Day.)

You can, if you must, buy roses at the supermarket. Wait, perhaps I am getting beyond you. A supermarket is a large store that sells food - food that needs to be cooked. If you don't know where one is, ask any female, preferably an unattractive older female who won't automatically think you are hitting on her and blow a police whistle. Believe me, that can be awkward.

Though you can buy roses at the supermarket, you probably shouldn't. All you will get are roses in a bunch. You won't get them laid out just so in an elegant box with exquisite tissue paper, the bragging stuff. For that you need a florist and a lot more money. Same roses, but tissue paper is expensive.

Other than the box and the tissue paper, supermarket flowers are a good buy.

Not for Valentines Day, but for other less special occasions, should you ever find out where the supermarket is and you learn you have done something really, really bad, though you may not know what.

That said, I repeat my admonition: Don't buy a $4 bunch of daffodils. In fact, don't buy cut flowers at all. Not unless you are in more trouble than I want to know about.

You will see bunches of cut daffodils coddled in a climate controlled case. But sitting out on a nearby counter, in the same air that the rest of us survive in, the same air your home has, are pots of daffodils growing in actual dirt. They will survive better and last longer on your table.

Now listen to this, guys.

Many of those pots on the end cap will have flowers in full bloom, just like the ones in the climate controlled case, and they will be hard to resist. They're sucker bait for customers, like you, who don't know any better. You don't want them. Would you pick the oldest meat in the case? Suppress your brown thumbed instincts and buy the pot full of buds with the fewest number of open flowers.

The cut daffodils will last a few days before they start looking dowdy, the pot in bloom a few days longer. The pot with buds can last for weeks.

For well under the price of the cheapest arrangement from the florist, you can buy three or four pots of supermarket daffodils. Now you have the stuff of home fashion magazine photo layouts - a large display of flowers.

Instead of one lonely pot in the middle of the dining room table, you can line them down the whole length. Impressive.

Here's something else you can do. If you got a 6-inch pot (measured across the top) of daffodils, look for a nice 6-inch jardiniere, a fancy pot with no hole in the bottom, to put it in. You probably should go to a different store. When the daffodils fade, go back to the supermarket and get a 6-inch pot of something else to put in the jardiniere, and a couple of weeks later something else again - shamrocks or mums or tulips or daisies.

Long after roses have taken up residence between the pages of some unread book, you'll still have flowers. And with many, you can plant them outside once the weather warms for years of enjoyment.

But that's a plan for the future. For now, get the roses.

o Duane Campbell, a nationally known agricultural expert, can be reached at R6, Box 6092, Towanda, PA 18848 or by e-mail at dcamp@chilitech.net for questions or comments.

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