Valentine's Day at a Calgary florist

Photographer Ose Irete spent an afternoon with a florist in Calgary on one of their busiest days of the year, Valentine's Day.

Some last-minute shoppers are disappointed, but some leave happy

The emotion typically associated with Valentine's Day is love, but for florists on one of their busiest days of the year, the feeling was mixed.

"It has been interesting but exciting at the same time," said Selmitah, who is with Kensington Florist in Calgary. 

She says staff have been working long shifts for the past three days to meet "close to 750" orders that went out for delivery on Monday morning.

The ongoing blockade at the Coutts border crossing and a reduced workforce in pandemic-stricken Ecuador — one of the worlds largest flower producers — have affected the availability of roses, according to Selmitah. 

Below, a staff member assists a last-minute shopper in picking out a bouquet at Kensington Florist on Feb. 14. 

Last-minute shoppers may be disappointed in the assortment this year due to these constraints. 

"Roses are the symbol for love," said Selmitah. However, some people who are unable to get the flowers they want are aggressive and threatening toward staff, she says. 

However, not everyone is disappointed. John, pictured below, poses for a photo with the bouquet he purchased for his girlfriend. 

He did not order ahead of time but was able to get these roses by walking in on Valentine's Day.