Our local florist’s had all the girls in today to deal with the rush for Valentine’s Day bouquets. I’ve never seen so many flowers in such a small space, with dozens of bunches ready for collection, the floor ankle-deep in leaves and trimmings and the shop crammed with big, tough men queuing up for their two dozen red roses.

As 14th February is the florists’ busiest day, you’d think that St Valentine would be their patron saint, but he’s not. He’s the patron of love and happy marriage of course, but also of beekeepers, the mentally ill, plague, and epilepsy.

The patron saint of florists is Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face (1873 – 1897), popularly known as the Little Flower of Jesus. She was sanctified only in 1925, so the poor, hard-working florists only got themselves a patron a hundred years ago.

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