Roses are red, violets are blue and this year Valentine’s will be dearer for you.
While the price of roses always spikes in the run-up to Valentine's Day as every link in the supply chain from sub-Saharan Africa to Ireland via the flower powerhouses of Amsterdam stretch to breaking point, this year the increases are even more dramatic.
Brexit, supply chain issues as well as spiralling energy costs all over the world has meant that the wholesale cost of red roses is now more double what it normally is at this time of year, according to Laois florist Catherine Dollard.
The owner of Cat’s Gifts and Flowers said as well as a huge increase in prices, she also had to contend with Brexit which has meant products which would normally form part of Valentine’s Day bundles, such as cards and balloons, had to be either replaced or dispensed with.
“I used to source a lot of stuff from the UK and because of Brexit all that has become a lot more expensive but the real issue is that flower prices are sky rocketing because of higher energy prices and reduced supply,” she said.
“I have been trying to steer people away from red roses because they are two-and-a-half times dearer than they have been in the past,” she told The Irish Times.
“The reality is that this year for anything red the value isn’t there. Our wild flowers are so much nicer and we have loads of them,” she continued.
However, she said when she pointed people to better value she has got “a better reaction from women but that men are harder to convince.”
Ms Dollard said she had decided to absorb the cost rather than pass it on to her customers.
“I didn’t want to pass on the costs to my customers who have been so loyal to me and Valentine’s is only one day in the year so I am going to take the hit and after that my profit margins will be back to normal.”
The cost of a dozen red roses in the run-up to St Valentine’s Day 2022 can range from less than €30 in some supermarkets to close to €100 in dedicated florists.
However, while a rose by any other name may smell as sweet, some of the roses selling at the lower end of the price scale have almost no fragrance at all while the shelf - or vase - life of some bouquets can be little more than a few days with others likely to last in excess of a week.
“I’m not sure how the supermarkets can sell some of the roses at the prices they are selling them for,” Ms Dollard said.
Ruth Monahan from Appassionata Flowers In Cornelscourt in Dublin said her business was also having to absorb dramatically higher costs for roses and had struggled to get some of the elements of a Valentine's Day present.
“The same volume has not been released by the Dutch as normal and all the prices have gone up this year,” she said.
“We couldn’t pass the increases on to our customers because that would not have been fair. The dozen red roses is always popular, particularly amongst men – and almost all our customers over Valentine’s Day are men.”
She said that as a result of Brexit as well as supply issues in Amsterdam, the business has had to be “much more organised with orders and placing them much earlier in the day.”
She noted that “certain things have got stuck in transit. All our red envelopes for instance were held up in Customs so we have to sort out a different supplier. We thought the original supplier was Irish but they just had an .ie website and were actually based in the UK.”
Appassionato is donating 3 per cent of its turnover over the course of the weekend leading up to Valentine’s Day to Aware. “It can be a really isolating time for people,” she noted.
Ms Monahan said the business had been flat out since Friday but predicted that by 4pm on Valentine’s Day things would ease off. “That is when we will see the really scared faces saying ‘just give me anything’.”