Sunday, February 11, 2018

Remember Ferris on Valentine's Day and Don't Forget the Flowers!

According to Google, 58% of American men buy flowers for their special Valentine - just 16% of women, all to the tune of two billion on flowers alone! The number that surprises me more is the 20% of folks who spend millions (around 500 mil) on their pets at Valentine's Day. Perhaps Fido will finally get that memory foam dog bed he's been hankering for, or the ten pack of gift certificates for the fluff and shine dog wash studio. Ferris, our dog would be just fine with a belly rub or piece of cheese. 

1893 Ferris Wheel from Wikipedia
Speaking of Ferris, don't forget that February 14 is also National Ferris Wheel Day in honor of its inventor - George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. He was born on Valentine's Day in 1859 and is most remembered for inventing the original Ferris Wheel introduced at the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition, most commonly called the Chicago World's Fair.

George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. had an interesting short life. Having a degree in civil engineering, and a career in the railroad industry, he embraced the challenge by the World's Fair director to create a piece of art or show piece to rival the Eiffel Tower. One story says he came up with the concept at a Chicago eatery while doodling on a napkin. The organizing committee was skeptical, but George wasn't deterred, went so far to recruit investors to the tune of $400,000 for the first Ferris Wheel. It turned out to be twenty-six stories tall, hold up to sixty people in forty revolving chairs for a twenty minute ride that cost fifty cents. Despite the success of the Ferris Wheel (it made over seven hundred fifty thousand in 1893, a lot for those days) he had to sue over who rightfully owned his invention. Bankruptcy from litigation led to his divorce and soon after that he died at age 37 from typhoid fever

The Ferris Wheel lives on and you'll be hard pressed not to find one at every major theme park or summer fair. The London Eye over the Thames River has been showing off London to tourists and Valentine's Day couples since 2000. The world's tallest at 550 feet, built in 2014 is the High Roller which sits on the Las Vegas strip. The thirty minute ride (which is just one full rotation) costs $25 during the day and $35 at night. George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. would be proud, so would his dad (Sr.) who, by the way was a fine horticulturist in Carson City, NV responsible for much of the city's landscaping and tree plantings back in 1870. That leads me back to flowers, this is a garden blog after all. 

How will you care for your fresh flower bouquet? Easily, just follow the steps below.

Care for homegrown (like these) or store purchased the same
  • Clean your favorite vase and then fill it half way with lukewarm water. Mix in half or the entire preservative bag that comes with the flowers. Or, combine one gallon of water with two tablespoons of vinegar and one tablespoon of sugar.
  • It's true, cut flowers last twice as long when using a preservative or homemade solution then being in plain water. These solutions also prevent bacteria growth.
  • Cut off all the leaves and foliage that will be under water. Also re-cut the stems under running water, taking an inch off the bottom. Use a knife instead of scissors (prevents crushing) and cut the stems at a forty five degree angle, which allows better uptake of the water.
  • Location is important for flower longevity. Place the arrangement in a cool spot away from direct sun, cold and direct heat. If you want closed buds on roses to open more quickly, put them in a warm room, but move them back to a cool space once they open.
  • Add more lukewarm water every day, and every fourth day change the water along with adding another preservative packet (or half) or the homemade solution.
  • If your roses are taking a nod or wilting, revive them by re-cutting the bottom stems under water and submerging the entire rose stem or stems in a bathtub or bucket of warm water. They should perk up in an hour.
Happy National Ferris Wheel Day🎡and Valentines Day💗!

AND...wishing a very happy 60th wedding anniversary to my father and mother-in-law on February 15 this year. Best wishes and congratulations!!

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