Eighty-eight percent of the nations cut flowers come in through Miami International Airport. Babys breath from Ecuador, roses from Colombia, asters from Costa Rican, and orchids from Thailand will all be deposited, inspected, and if need be -- fumigated in a warehouse right off of our airports busy tarmac. Youd imagine that today, four days before Valentines Day, the scene there would be colorful chaos, right? Wrong. Actually a lot of the flowers will already be in flower shops by then. All the action is in January. Most of the flowers come into the country two to three weeks ahead of time, says Amy Stewart, the brilliant horticultural writer and author of Flower Confidential. Stewarts book gives a dramatic overview of the centuries-old trade, illustrating the life of industry flora from growth to sale. Stewart has brilliant advice for those seeking Valentines Day blossoms. Make sure you order well ahead of time! And instead of red roses, go for some of the glorious multicolored hybrids. They are just breathtaking. Or consider an alternative flower. I think tulips are just fabulous, she gushes. However, this year the author is holding out for Chinese hydrangeas. Stewart will be reading, signing autographs, and handing out flowers today.
Sat., Feb. 10, 4 p.m.