Love Blossoms in Gympie
IT MAY be just another day for some, but Valentine's Day is a perfect excuse to celebrate love.
And like any great romance, this Valentine's Day has been fraught with highs and lows for Gympie florists.
Despite the tough economic climate, Gympie florists are saying that sales this year have been higher than in previous years.
Karen Brus from Karinya Florist and Gifts said people had been spending up big for their loved ones, but that had meant a lot of work.
She said the average spent on a floral arrangement had been about $70.
"This week we sold the most expensive bunch of flowers - 10 dozen roses. I can't tell you the amount because it's confidential, but it was 10 times what most people pay. Lucky girl," she said.
"All the florists working here said it was the biggest delivery they had seen. It was amazing."
Florists are reporting an unprecedented demand for roses this Valentine's Day, with many Australian growers selling out.
Mrs Brus said her wholesaler had imported roses from South Africa to meet demand as florists had ordered anywhere up to three times the amount of flowers they would normally get.
"It's been exhausting; our biggest Valentine's Day so far," she said.
"Generally when Valentine's Day falls mid-week it's a big one."
After months of preparation, Annette Geurts from Florist of Distinction said she and her staff had been flat out all week.
She said there had been a lot of office deliveries; people wanting to impress their Valentine at work when they couldn't be with them.
"We've been planning for this day since October," Mrs Geurts said. "Flowers have been going out to all types of people, young and old."
All Gympie florists worked overtime to get last-minute orders arranged and delivered yesterday.
Valentine's Day originates from the ancient Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on February 15.
During the festival, young men would draw names of women from a box and each couple paired off until next year's celebration. They often fell in love and married.
Around 270AD Rome was facing civil uprising. Men were not keen to join the army and the emperor, believing they did not want to leave their loved ones, cancelled all marriages and engagements. Two priests, Valentine and Marius, secretly performed marriage ceremonies.
Valentine was caught on February 14 and dragged to jail where he was beheaded. It is said he had fallen in love with the jailer's daughter before execution and signed his final note to her, "From your Valentine".
The fertility festival ended after 496AD and was replaced with a similar celebration and moved the day to the date of St Valentine's death.