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 Now, there is a question. Are flowers really relevant to the American lifestyle? Are they relevant right here in Auburn? What is their value?

This past weekend, Anne Marie and I were in Hershey, Pa. to see our granddaughter, Sydney, skate in the Hershey Synchronized Ice Skating Invitational tournament. Some 500 young ladies competed in the full day event.  Sydney’s team, 15 skaters from 11 to 14 years old, took a first in her group. We presented her with a beautiful bouquet of roses.

 If you ever wonder whether flowers are really relevant, just look into the eyes of a 12-year-old as she receives a bouquet. Look at the smile.

Many of the girls received flowers that day, some did not. When you look at the faces of those who didn’t, you will realize that flowers are relevant. We realized it even more as Sydney took three roses from her bouquet and gave them to team members who did not receive any.  

Let’s move over to Brighton, Colo. for a moment. Ernesto, a rose grower at a large greenhouse operation I was consulting with, asked me to dinner with his family. But first, we had to go to his daughter’s baseball game.

It was the bottom of the last inning with two outs already gone; his daughter’s team was one down and she desperately needed a hit. First pitch, a strike. Then, a foul ball. The pressure was on and she struck at the third. Game over.

She dropped her bat and walked dejectedly toward her dad, head hung low in shame, hurt, eyes to the ground. She had disappointed not only her dad and his friend. As she got to us, her dad’s hand came from behind. It held one beautiful long-stemmed yellow rose.

That was about eight years ago, and I still remember and will probably never forget the beautiful broad smile. A flower was very relevant on that playing field.

While we Americans seem to use a lot of flowers, we are nowhere near the per capita usage in countries around the world.

Pity the poor Dutch husband who might arrive home on Friday evening without a few flowers from the kiosk at the tram stop. A Frenchman, invited to dinner, would never arrive without a few flowers for the hostess.

 I remember being in Italy on March 8, the International Day of the Woman. At 8 a.m., I opened the door to a knock and the owner of the inn presented Anne with a little bouquet of three carnations and his good wishes for a wonderful day. I wondered what that was about. Then we went grocery shopping and as we exited the market, a robust older gentleman handed Anne a little bouquet of acacia flowers and told her to have a wonderful day. She got the same treatment at lunch and at dinner. Wow! Flowers are very relevant for nearly any occasion in Europe and in Asia.

Flowers are relevant here, too. They are relevant to the mother who has just gone through the pain of delivery.

What better than some flowers to say “thank you” from hubby or the grandparents. Want to see a beautiful smile? Just take a few flowers to your grandma in a nursing home. She never gets enough attention, and those few flowers will brighten her day for weeks on end, long after they are gone. Flowers are relevant to her.  

Flowers are relevant, very relevant, to the family greeting friends at a funeral home. They are comforting. Flowers are not for the dead, they’re for the living. They are very relevant.

Carmen Cosentino operates Cosentino’s Florist with his wife, Anne Marie, and daughter, Jessica. He was elected to the National Floriculture Hall of Fame in 1998, and in 2008, received the Tommy Bright award for lifetime achievements in floral education. He can be reached at