Summerside - - A lot of things have changed in the last couple of hundred years but handing out red roses as a symbol of love is not one of them.
And far be it for the people (mostly men) of Prince County, Prince Edward Island, to break tradition.
Red roses have been flying off the shelves of local florists for the last couple of days as people make preparations for Valentine's Day.
According to the florists who spoke with The Journal Pioneer, the traditional dozen red roses is still the staple gift on Feb. 14.
"It's been around so long it's been bred into their minds," laughed Nancy Praught, owner of Friends and Flowers in Kensington.
Very few costumers will come in and ask for something different, she said, though it does happen on occasion.
It's the same story in Summerside at Prestige Floral Studio.
"They come in and it's sort of like an obligation (to buy red roses,)" said Michael Jackson, general manager.
They try to make a point of asking if the recipient would like something else, he added, and every once in a while a customer will leave with something they weren't looking for.
Some women really love roses, said Jackson, so that's what they want. But a lot of girls want something new and fun, so he tries his best to find contemporary pairings.
Over at Kelly's Flower Shoppe, florist Elise Arsenault said she usually has to do a mini interview with customers who want something a little different.
"Some walk to the counter and want their dozen red roses. No if, buts, or ands about it," said Arsenault.
But for those who do want something a little different, she tries to find out something about the recipient before she recommends a flower.
Lilies are a good alternative to roses, she said, as are colourful daises and orchids.
The relationship between the two people can also make a difference in terms of what she recommends, she added.
Red roses have a pretty strong message of love. But different flowers, and even different colours of flowers can have meaning.
"A lot can be said with flowers. Very few words required," she said.
"A large percentage of people really connect a lot of healing and strength and hope to flowers. When you're stuck for words that's one thing that people run to really quick," she said.
She also sees a lot of panicky people show up on Valentine's Day wanting roses, or at that point anything they can get.
Their clientele is mostly men on Valentine's Day, she said, and for some reason it's older men who tend to call ahead and pre-order their bouquets. It's younger men that tend to wait to the last minute.
"They're just not thinking about tomorrow, they're just thinking about today. Whereas the husbands who want happy wives - they're thinking about tomorrow," she said.