Though the local season for growing roses is long past, dozens of the blooms, in nearly every shape, size and color imaginable, will be decorating the lobby of the Essentia Health St. Mary's Clinic as well as DL Floral and Bergen’s Greenhouses in Detroit Lakes next week.

Those are the three chosen venues for the Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary Club’s 2019 Roses from Rotary fundraiser, set to take place Wednesday, Nov. 6 through Friday, Nov. 8.

“It’s our 27th annual rose sale,” said Breakfast Rotarian Kathy Michaelson, who is one of the organizers for this year’s event.

While the club holds a variety of fundraisers throughout the year, Roses from Rotary is undoubtedly its biggest, she added: "If we sell out, our net (profit) is right around $7,500."

While local residents can pre-purchase tickets for the rose sale from any Breakfast Rotarian, about half of all sales come from walk-ins, Michaelson said. One advantage of pre-purchasing the tickets, however, is this: “Everyone who has a ticket is guaranteed to get their roses." Otherwise, the sale is strictly first come, first served.

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Those who have pre-purchased tickets can bring them into any of the three designated locations during scheduled sale hours: Rotary volunteers will be selling the roses on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 6-7, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Bergen’s; from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at DL Floral in the Washington Square Mall; and new this year, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m in the lobby of the Essentia Health St. Mary's Clinic. The sale could possibly continue on Friday morning — but only if there are still roses left.

“For the past few years we’ve sold out by Friday morning,” Michaelson said, despite the fact that they typically order upwards of 650 dozen roses, in colors ranging from the ever-popular red to rarer, harder-to-find hues like lavender and antique white.

"About half of what we buy is red," she said, as it is still the most popular color, though the "lollipop" bunches, which feature a dozen roses in a half dozen different colors, now account for about a quarter of their overall sales.

“The earlier you come, the better selection you will get,” she added. “We have roses in almost every color you can possibly imagine.”

Despite the fact that the sale has been going on for more than a quarter century now, the club has been able to maintain the cost of the roses at an affordable $20 per dozen, which makes it easy for local residents to embrace the the idea of purchasing the brightly-colored blooms for their friends and loved ones as a means of supporting Rotary’s various causes.

Some of those causes, past and present, include: The recently completed building project at the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes; the project to build a new Becker County Museum, which is set to begin construction next summer; adding public restrooms at Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge; the project to build a new helipad at Essentia Health St. Mary's, which was completed last year; and donations to the Detroit Lakes and Frazee elementary school reading programs, the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center, Becker County Food Pantry, the United Way Food 4 Thought Backpack Program, the local Boy and Girl Scouts troops and various senior citizen initiatives throughout the lakes area.

And that’s not all: For the past few years, Rotary volunteers have been separating a few dozen of the roses into single blooms, to be hand-delivered by students at Laker Prep Preschool in Detroit Lakes to the nursing home residents of Oak Crossing; by the God Squad at Trinity Lutheran Church to the residents of Ecumen-Emmanuel Nursing Home, and the Sunday school students at Augustana Lutheran Church to the residents of Sunnyside Nursing Home in Lake Park.

Those single roses are donated by the club, Michaelson said.

Besides the ever-popular red roses and lollipop bunches, some of the colors available during the rose sale include light pink, hot pink, autumn orange, lime green, lavender, and some two-tone roses, where the edges are a slightly different color than the rest of the bloom. Not sure which to choose? Here is a little guide to help you decide…

Red roses, which are the ultimate symbol of true love, remain the most popular color sold during the Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary's annual Roses from Rotary fundraiser, which is set for Nov. 6-8 this year. (File photo)
Red roses, which are the ultimate symbol of true love, remain the most popular color sold during the Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary's annual Roses from Rotary fundraiser, which is set for Nov. 6-8 this year. (File photo)

The language of roses

“My love is like a red, red rose,” as poet Robert Burns might say, but what exactly does a rose’s color represent when gifted to a friend, partner, mentor or loved one? Well… its meaning could be multi-faceted, as this list from Passion Growers illustrates:

  • Red: Red roses are the traditional symbol for love, romance, and will always be a way to say "I love you." The red rose has also reflected beauty and perfection. Deep or dark red roses can reveal an unconscious beauty.
  • Pink: Words like admiration, gentleness, grace, gladness, joy and sweetness are just a few ways to describe the meaning behind the pink rose. A pink rose can also convey happiness, gracefulness and admiration.
  • Yellow: Bright, cheerful and joyful are what come to mind when thinking of a yellow rose. Yellow roses create warm feelings and provide happiness. Giving yellow roses can tell someone the joy they bring you and the friendship you share.
  • White: White roses, the purist of colors, represent innocence, purity and charm. White roses are traditionally used in weddings and can represent new beginnings. White roses can also express remembrance and innocence.
  • Orange: Orange roses evoke energy, and can indicate enthusiasm, desire and excitement. Giving orange roses can symbolize your passionate romance and share your excitement of the relationship with your loved one.
  • Salmon: A slightly pinker shade of orange, the meaning behind salmon-colored roses evoke the same message as orange roses. Salmon roses can indicate enthusiasm, desire and excitement. Give salmon roses as a way to share your desire for someone; and they'll know how you truly feel.
  • Peach: Are you grateful for someone or just want to show your appreciation? Then consider giving a peach-colored rose. A bouquet of peach roses shows your deep appreciation and gratitude or is just an elegant way to say "Thank You!"
  • Lavender/purple: These roses represent love at first sight, enchantment or attraction. Lavender roses can also offer a daily reminder of your love and eagerness to grow your relationship.
  • Cream: Cream roses are indicative of charm and thoughtfulness. They go well with pink "thank you" roses which allow you to send two messages in one bunch!
  • Green: Green is the color of life, abundant growth, and constant renewal of life and energy. The green rose signifies the constant rejuvenation of spirit, and is therefore a messenger of cheerfulness.

Sometimes it's not just the color, but the number of roses that provide added context:

  • A single rose of any color depicts the utmost devotion or a way to say "thank you."
  • Two roses entwined together communicate "marry me."
  • A red and white rose entwined signify unity.
  • Six roses signify a need to be loved or cherished.
  • Eleven roses assure the recipient they are truly and deeply loved.
  • Thirteen roses indicate a secret admirer.