by Donna Torrey

recently read that flowers contain the highest expression of energy on Earth. Perhaps that’s why they are traditionally present at all of our most important occasions. Valentine’s Day is no exception, and though it has been a holiday usually celebrated with cut flowers—roses in particular, I say, let’s “green” it up with flowering plants that we don’t have to throw in the trash at the end of a few days.

Orchids top the list, rivaling the rose in beauty, color and even fragrance, while also whispering exotic extravagance. Orchids come in many colors, shapes, sizes and price ranges. There are so many magnificent ones to choose from, you are certain to find one that speaks for you. Be sure to find out the growing conditions they need, and as an added bonus the orchid will likely bloom each following year, a continuous reminder of your love.


South Florida is uniquely suited to growing orchids outdoors, so after you have enjoyed them indoors, they can be brought outside, though not in full sun. Most prefer bright, indirect light or a few hours of early morning sun only. Be sure to keep them moist but not wet, and you are sure to have bigger and better blooms next year. Don’t be afraid; orchids are some of the toughest plants around!

If you are looking for something inexpensive but always lovely, how about African Violets? They are small, colorful, and easy to care for. The trick is to give them very bright light on a windowsill or a table close to a window, and to always water them from the bottom. This would mean setting the pot in a shallow saucer or cup, and watering it by keeping the receptacle filled ever so slightly, so that it never dries out completely at the bottom, but never gets soggy on top, which causes crown rot. This is the secret behind the so-called “self-watering” pots. Now you can make your own.

This year, express your love energetically. Give the gift that lasts: living flowers!

Donna’s Garden Gate Nursery is located at 2251 North Federal Highway (at Sears), Pompano Beach, 954-783-4283, See ad page 56.