Saturday, February 13, 2010

Enter Roses..

Every year, we at Victoria looked forward with great relish to the February issue. We just had so much fun finding stories as delicious as Valentine candy. And our pages were filled with roses, roses. Kim Freeman, who compiled many of our favorite things section, was given the assignment year after year to introduce readers to roses in yet another way. One of my last February issues, ironically enough, featured first roses in the Favorite Things section. Brides and babies were among the topics.

The other day I stopped at Dahlia flower market in Grand Central Station in New York and bought the whitest white roses I think I'd ever seen. The comments I got as I walked along with them brimming proudly out of my bag led me to believe that I wasn't the only one seduced by their unique beauty.

But Valentine's Day calls for red roses, doesn't it? The most spectacular ones I ever received had to do with Victoria being named Adweek's Magazine of the Year in 1990 (for 1989). They were long-stemmed and the bouquet so grand that I had trouble cradling it in my arms. (Well, I was a bit weak just coming off a bout of pneumonia. Getting the magazine to that point, only two years after our introduction, did take a bit of work and maybe I overdid it somewhat.) Just think: In 1989, Victoria not only went monthly, but we became the first magazine in the world to be done completely on computer. Just how brave were we?

Bryan McCay, our art director, was the guiding genius behind taking Victoria into the computer age. Bryan had been in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam and I don't think he thought there was a task he, and we, couldn't tackle. You have to understand that this was not like going to buy a new stereo. Every single aspect of the process had to be customized to our operation--and there was no precedent. Looking back, I think Bryan should have been hugging those roses, and I smile when I think of our Bryan, a burly type with Scottish blood, in such a pose.

Interestingly, I just read somewhere that women prefer roses other than red ones--but men have consistently stuck to the notion that they indeed are the true expression of romance. In keeping with what "the guys" think, here is a bouquet for you--rendered by the artist Leon Belsky. He is represented by The Catto Gallery in London, and while I only rarely buy a painting from them, they send me the most marvelous catalogs of all their exhibitions. I have saved this one for an occasion like this: Happy Valentine's Day.


  1. Thank you, Linda, for these lovely roses and a special thank you for the comment back to me about the peacock. I enjoyed the update. :)

    I hope your Valentine's Day is as special as you are.


  2. Love, love, love roses! I actually put a slide show of roses on my blog yesterday. Yellow roses were in my wedding bouquet many years ago and my preference in the yard are all shades of pink.

    Happy Valentine's Day to you.


  3. Hello Nancy. Happy Valentine's Day to you. The roses are lovely. My favorite color in roses is pink but I would never refuse any other color! Ha! Sincerely, Susan from

  4. Thank you for the lovely bouquet. I can almost smell their heady scent.
    My wonderful husband always does red roses, though I have hinted that I prefer white (how I would have loved to have seen your bouquet) and that I don't need them on Valentine's Day. Such a thing to complain about, I know and should be ashamed.

    Happy Valentine's Day to you as well.

  5. Nancy I just found a Costco reciept for roses in the trash. Not too carefully crumpled husband forgot that I am a found object artist. Hmmm I wonder what color they will be when he gives them to me in the morning? I will let you know....
    Thank you for the beauty you bring to our lives.....

  6. Hi Nancy...I guess I'm losing it...I addressed you as Linda instead of Nancy. I am so sorry. I hope you'll forgive me. :) I'm so embarrassed.
    Too much stress I suppose...


  7. Nancy, I have always loved roses. One of my favorites is the "Peace" hybrid tea rose, which is light cream/yellow with pink tinged edges. But my favorite rose color has to be coral. I have one in my own rose garden called "Tropicana". It is the most brilliant coral color I have ever seen. In photos it looks orange, but in person it is a brilliant coral. I have only received roses from my hubby a couple of times and never for Valentine's Day. He has never been much of a proponent of what he calls "greeting card holidays". However, he tells me he loves me most everyday and shows me in so many ways on a daily basis. I am very blessed in that. So, I don't mind so much that he doesn't love the traditional holidays.


  8. Update: they are pink, a dozen, accented with alstroemeria, and tied with a lovely pink bow. They are perfect and fitting and still an extravagance in our economic crunch, but appreciated by me.

  9. Happy Valentines Day to all!--

    Dear Nancy, today is also our 13th Wedding Anniversary! How I love this special day.We were married at a resort in Jamaicia- & had the most beautiful Red & White Roses Theme.-I wore them attatched to a comb in my hair,on my wedding Bouquet,and our cake/wedding table.

    I planned my Wedding Roses theme & even my wedding gown was inspired by the pages of a Victoria!- To my delight,at the Sandals Resort-There was a current copy of Victoria magazine-February, {1997} in our Wedding suite. This was done for all the Valentines Day weddings held there! It just amazed me to see that a very far away country would also see the beauty in your magazine enough to place them in the resorts rooms for all Valentines Brides to enjoy.--

    My Husband & I love all Roses, but my very favorite Rose color is a scarlett Red and bright White ones also- I have never seen such brightly colored white Roses as in Jamaicia-the ones you mention here that you bought sound just like the ones we had!

    Speaking of Beautiful and very special Roses- there is a new trendy kind here in Reno,Nevada to purchase that I am absolutely enchanted by the way they really are real, & do grow that way by a top secret scentific growth process in Holland only - They are called "Happy Rainbow Roses",& are such bright and unusual colors {a separate color for each petal}- they get them in stock here only a couple times a year- & have had much delight in sharing them and their Petals I dry & send to a dear friend,who I coincidentally met because of your magazine too!

    I wish there was a way we could post pictures on here, so much to share!{like these Rainbow Roses- hard to explain what they look like}...

    We are leaving now to the Ski resort at Lake Tahoe, for a nice dinner & Gondola ride!---Love,Valery

  10. I love the Feb issues of Victoria because of the bouquets of roses it brought me in the depths of a frigid Rochester winter, so seeing these is a treat. The image of you, howled over by blooms, is a gem. Please keep on bringing us these wonderful backstage glimpses of the magazine we still love so much!
    Hugs, Karen Marline

  11. I must confess that my love of roses as an adult can be credited to my darling husband and the pages of Victoria. Now even my perfume is scented by roses.

    I can recall fondly the peach and yellow rose bushes with white gravel underneath that lined the pathway to an older neighbor's front door. I do like red roses but prefer anything fragrant first and foremost.

  12. White roses are my absolute favorite! I wish I could have seen yours. I agree with what you read somewhere that red roses are not women's preferred bouquet. I received an all white bouquet for Valentines Day two years ago and I know they were terribly expensive but I will never forget how beautiful they were.
    The bounty of roses in all my February Victorias are a delightful prelude to the ones that will be blooming in my garden come April.
    Thanks to you (and Kim Freeman!) for all those rosy issues!

  13. The original Victoria magazine and red roses are inextricably linked for me. My first dozen red roses came around the time I really began to devour the magazine. While I have always been a tulip fan and a lilac lover, I have come to appreciate roses. Today I received a topiary-like arrangement in a fluted pink bowl from a dear friend who new I needed cheering up. What a wonderful gift!