Florist prepares for Valentine's Day

Sunday, February 13, 2011 | 6:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:41 a.m. CST, Monday, February 14, 2011
Hailey Stamper prepares bouquets of freedom roses by soaking the stems in water on Saturday at My Secret Garden, located downtown on Broadway.

COLUMBIA — The Valentine’s Day rush struck Columbia this weekend, creating pandemonium at one downtown flower shop.

“There’s a ton of preparation for Valentine’s Day because flowers can’t be done until the last minute,” said Ruth LaHue, owner of My Secret Garden floral shop. “We try to do everything we can to make the last minute more efficient.”

LaHue said that, beginning in December, she concentrates on finding the best growers all over the world for Valentine’s Day flowers.

“Roses come from all over the world, but I like the ones that come from South America,” LaHue said. “They grow in the high mountain areas, where it is very cool at night, but, because it is so close to the equator, the sun shines there longer than it does in any other place in the world, which creates a strong, beautiful rose head.”

Although it creates more stress, LaHue said she prefers that the flowers she orders do not arrive at the shop until only a few days before Valentine’s Day. This ensures that she is giving her customers the freshest flowers possible.

Trying to find extra help, especially for delivery, is also an enormous issue that LaHue faces. Because Valentine’s Day is on a Monday this year, there are often problems with delivering flowers to a loved one’s workplace. With no one there to receive flowers at an office on a Sunday, many more deliveries have to be made on Mondays.

“We reserved extra parking spaces,” LaHue said. “The city was gracious enough to let us do that. We’re trying to make sure that we don’t interfere with downtown business with our large influx of customers that will be here and with all the deliveries that we’ll be running, too.”

LaHue said that her daughter Stephanie, who teaches fashion design at Stephens College, plays a large part in designing the arrangements according to current styles and fashion.

“The trends in giftware and florals go right along with the latest fashion trends,” LaHue said. “We know what the latest colors are. We know what people are looking for in their homes, and then we base our designs on that.”

My Secret Garden has been in business since 1989, but LaHue said she is excited to celebrate the business's first Valentine’s Day in its new location on East Broadway in downtown Columbia. 

“We anticipate that we will have a very busy Valentine’s Day,” LaHue said.

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