A Chronicle of the Red Rose of Love…
Contrary to popular belief, roses are not just red. They come in an array of colours and hues that make them the magnificent flower that they are. At NetFlorist, our range of roses boast untold radiance as both a bouquet or a vase arrangement. They are bursting with various colours including white, cream, red, pink/cerise, yellow, orange, purple/lilac and variegated. While each flower has its own story to tell, the story we’re most intrigued by, as Valentine’s Day lurks, is that of the romantically ravishing red rose. The flower of love, the ultimate symbol of romance, the coveted token of passionate affection and the number one gift for your valentine.
Where do all the beliefs and symbolism attached to this flower come from? What makes the red rose more significant than others around Valentine’s Day? How does the historical significance tie in, if at all, with its modern meaning?
The history books and online pages speak of Ancient Greek and Roman mythologies that offer two different explanations of the mythical birth of the red rose. Medieval times reveal a few traditions that this blooming beauty came to be a part of, including the premise that roses were a cause for the English civil war known as ‘the war of roses’. This remains untrue as that had very little to do with real roses. Could you imagine?
Legend has it that as the tears of the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, mixed with the blood of her lover, Adonis, who lay mortally wounded. The tears of Aphrodite and the blood of Adonis then watered the ground where a bush of large fragrant red roses began to grow. Another legend says that as Venus, the Roman goddess of love ran through a bush of white roses to warn her lover, Adonis, of a plot for his death, she was cut by rose thorn. The wound was deep enough to cause her to bleed. As her blood tainted the flowers, they turned into ravishing red roses. Later down the ages, kings, queens and nobilities of the middle ages turned to the red rose to privately express acts of affection which they otherwise could not have been able to do in public. Others covered their beds with the fragrant petals of these luxurious blossoms as they prepared to consummate their love. In other parts of the western world, it became a tradition that knights brought back roses from eastern parts of the world that they had travelled. It is safe to say that throughout history this lovely flower has been looked to as a symbol of power (on the throne, i.e. the war of roses), courage (of travelling knights) and romance.
But, with no wars for a throne erupting, and no need for knights to travel far and wide, the modern world continues to preserve the romantic symbolism that makes the red rose what it is today.
Anticipating the month of love, NetFlorist has happily curated a range of ravishing red roses for lovers to order for delivery this Valentine’s Day 2020. During this time our florists and drivers take pride in their ability to put a smile on the recipient’s face, on behalf of the sender. This is simply the NetFlorist way, and it is all in the name of love.
With love being all about the journey and not the destination, February is a lovely time to journey down the path of the ultimate token of love – the red rose. Not just any red rose, the NetFlorist red rose.
The Journey of a Hundred Miles…
1. The Source of the Seed
The story of the NetFlorist red rose begins with seeds being sustainably sourced and grown into bursting rose bushes on two of several rose farms in South Africa, Versilia Flowers and Uniflo, who are contracted as direct suppliers of roses to NetFlorist. Any request that these two reputable local farms cannot supply around the season of love; the Multiflora flower auction has proven to be a great alternative supplier over the years.
2. Fields of Harvest
While farms can grow these majestic blossoms all year round, roses prefer very specific conditions to thrive. These farms are technologically equipped to provide favourable conditions and the staff is committed to growing these flowers with the delicacy and patience they require. This seasonal practice of planting roses includes steps like preparing the soil for summertime planting, daily watering, using organic pesticides and offering nutrition that encourages growth, pruning of the stems by disbudding them to ensure optimum growth of bushes are all equally important part. Minimising each bush to four or five branches is important as weak buds must be removed for better flower nutrition and quality. While growing a rose bush from a seed takes a lot longer (approximately four to sixteen weeks to germinate) growing roses from stem cuttings can take 6 weeks for a new batch to bloom again.
3. A Market of Many
The demand for red roses around Valentine’s Day requires an even bigger demand to be made of suppliers. With an approximate order of two hundred thousand (red) roses, we make it possible for many of our customers to keep their gifting standards high especially during this season. At the Multiflora flower auction, many fresh flowers and plants are ready to be auctioned off to buyers, like NetFlorist. In both instances, each impeccable red rose stem is sold at an individual price which increases to between R18 to R25 (disparate to R3 to R4 in the off-season).
Once the deal is sealed, they’re transported in refrigerated trucks to our head-quarters hub in Waterfall, Johannesburg, where they will be packaged for and transported to our nationwide hubs in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town.
4. The Process of Perfection
- Back at the hub, our flower fairies await a special delivery from the flower market.
- Each rose is in for a process that’ll end with them standing out in a beautiful bouquet or vase arrangement.
- This process of creativity is what our florists live for, and it begins with being rehydrated in buckets of flower food solution then stored in a cold room set at 2-4 degrees Celsius until an order is issued to a florist for arrangement.
- The production flow in the florist’s section starts at grouping and cutting- where roses are grouped by quality and colour and then lower leaves and thorns are cut off and stems are ensured to be a specific length (depending on the vase size).
- Next, the bouquet or vase arrangements are put together by following design specifications.
- The arrangement then moves on to embellishments where ribbons and decorative greenery is added.
- Second to last is quality control where the head florist signs off the quality of each rose and the florist’s interpretation of the design before signing it off as indisputably amazing.
- Lastly, any upsell items that are to be paired with the stunning bouquet or vase arrangement are added to this order and taken to be dispatched to a driver to deliver.
5. Treasures in Transit
Once florists are done with creating a picture-perfect presentation, our drivers are ready to take the call to deliver an arrangement that you picked out to put a smile on your loved one’s face. With an address in hand and a warm smile on their face, the rose arrangement is placed in an air-conditioned vehicle that’ll keep your loved one’s gift in great condition to be presented to them. Around Valentine’s season, NetFlorist employs 950 temporary drivers, countrywide, to support the staff of 80 permanent drivers. A spike in demand for flowers and gifts to be delivered all over South Africa makes this is a necessary call to make to the South African public.
6. The sound of the Doorbell
As the moment you have been waiting for approaches, your bae has no idea what a special moment they are about to experience. Wherever they are, home, work or at play, a delivery of this beautiful gift is certain to make their heart fill up with joy.
As South Africa’s largest online florist, this journey means a lot to us too. What begins as a seed unravels into a symbol of the beginning, strengthening, and celebrating thousands of love stories across South Africa, and every year, we are happy to play a part in these stories. This Valentine’s Day, let your love for your bae blossom like the bud of a single stem.