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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pink and orange elbow into Valentine bouquets

By Annie Calovich
The Wichita Eagle

Don’t get Susan McKnight wrong. After 31 years in the floral business, she can attest to the fact that red roses still rule the choice of flowers to give on Valentine’s Day.

It’s nice when some things never change. There’s a security of meaning in red roses. And they take the energy-sapping guesswork out of the equation.

But for personalities that want to step outside the heart-shaped box, the Colors of the Year for 2011 and 2012 are making their way into Valentine bouquets right alongside red.

Hot pink and orange paired with red “are hot advancing colors that just scream joy and happiness,” says Susan, owner of Susan’s flower shop at Douglas and Oliver.

Tangerine Tango orange is the color of 2012, and Honeysuckle pink was last year’s color of the year as decided by Pantone.

While those tones are loud, you can go, of course, with quieter hues of pink and orange.

“Pink and red are hot,” Susan said. “They’re light and dark. I think it goes back to Romeo and Juliet.”

The addition of white provides a punch to a pink and red bouquet that somehow changes the equation. Susan pointed out something I hadn’t noticed before: The white will draw the eye in such a combination, and the other colors will become shadows. I’m sure this also is true in the garden.

Another intriguing option for bouquets that Susan likes is combining red tones such as those of hypericum berries, Gerbera daisies and roses, which can range from an almost black velvet to a bright red.

Susan’s shop was heavy with the intoxicating spring fragrance of hyacinths earlier this week as snow fell gently outside. The perfume also made me think of flowering bulbs such as hyacinths and tulips for gift-giving, and flowering plants at garden centers such as cyclamen, which look smashing in red, pink and white.

These color combinations may be fun to talk about and design, but men often don’t know what to choose. Susan tries to have lots of options already made up so they can just pick what they like without having to wonder why.

Susan said prices of her red roses are not higher than those for other colors of roses. She buys according to quality, not color. But as you shop around you may see reds marked up at other flower outlets. That’s another arena where non-red colors might make a claim on customers.

The price for a dozen red roses at Susan’s has stayed the same for four years — $95. That comes with some nice greenery. For $125, the florist will take it over the top.

“Romance comes in all colors,” Susan said.

But the red rose “is just a flower that says love.”

Visit me at the Women’s Fair

I’ll be at the Women’s Fair from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday at Century II. Come by The Eagle’s booth and say hi.

Reach Annie Calovich at or 316-268-6596.

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