On the Job: Roses are red

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The countdown is on to one of the most romantic holidays of the year: Valentine’s Day. This day of love is also a day of spending. Lovebirds are expected to shell out more than $20 billion to show how much they care.

Nearly $2 billion of that will go to one classic Valentine’s Day gift. That’s flowers. So I set out to discover just what we're putting our local florists through.

Wanda Pugh is kind of an expert. She's been at this for quite a while.

"I did it after school on a Saturday. I started there when I was about 15,” she said. “So I've been doing it probably about 55 years now."

I asked her if she ever imagined she’d still be doing floral arrangements more than five decades.

"No, I didn't,” she laughed, “but I've enjoyed it."

Now, she works at Al's Garden & Gift. A steady job, but it all culminates on Feb. 14.

"That means one day of hard work because it has to be done in one day with all the designing and delivering,” Pugh explained. “So it's a one-day-hard-day's work."

They're expecting to deliver anywhere from 300 to 500 roses. All the flowers will go out in one day. Pugh says there will be even more deliveries this year, since Valentine's Day falls on a weekday. (What good are flowers if you can’t show them off?!)

I decided I needed a tutorial in what it takes to put together a single bouquet. The process starts with water in the vase and a grid to help keep everything evenly spaced. Greenery goes first.

"Start in the center,” Pugh directed. “Go all the way around to the outside."

From there?

"Well, you just start filling in,” she explained. “Now, start putting roses and we can add more greenery in a minute."

We were pretty proud of our finished product. If you’d like to try your hand (green thumb included) to do your own bouquet, Pugh said the best practice is to pick your own flowers and get to work.

I couldn’t get each of you your own bouquet, but Happy Valentine’s Day!