Ruth LaHue, owner of My Secret Garden in Columbia, has been in the floral business since 1973. She has filled thousands of orders over the past 34 Valentine’s Days, and is preparing for No. 35.
Is Valentine’s Day your busiest time?
Christmas is the busiest time, but Valentine’s Day is the busiest day of the year. We do 20 times more business on that day than on a normal busy day. We hire 12 extra drivers.
Is there a major floral trend this year?
Back in the day, men would order a dozen roses because that’s the only flower they knew the name of. Our customers are becoming a little more educated when it comes to flowers, though and now know there are lots of different beautiful flowers out there.
What is romantic to you?
One year this gentleman came in, and he was so old he could hardly make it in the door. He ordered a dozen roses for his wife for Valentine’s Day. He wanted the card to say, “When you walk down the aisle of the grocery store, you’re so hot, all the frozen vegetables melt.”
What is the craziest Valentine’s Day order you ever had to fill?
We are crazier than most of our customers. Every year we have a theme. A couple of years ago, we had an Elvis theme, and all our delivery drivers dressed up like singing Elvises. One came back 45 minutes later and his wig was all messed up and he had lipstick all over his face.
Your best Valentine’s Day moment?
My husband is very romantic, and he always gets me wonderful things like jewelry and flowers.
You get flowers?
Oh, yes! I still love getting flowers, and after Valentine’s Day is over, I can enjoy my own bouquet.
What’s your favorite type of flower?
A purple African violet. When I was little, my grandfather would always have one in a Dixie cup for me to take home. I also really like yellow roses. When I went to the prom with my husband, the very first corsage I got from him was yellow roses, even though his mom ordered it.