BALTIMORE, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- A Baltimore florist said she hopes her store's refusal to sell roses will encourage customers to buy locally grown flowers for Valentine's Day.
Libby Francis-Baxter, owner of The Modest Florist, said she doesn't carry roses at her store because most of the flowers are imported from South and Central America and the already-expensive average price of 35 cents per stem rises significantly around Valentine's Day, the Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday.
"Starting now and through Valentine's Day, those prices will increase three to five times," she said. "Now we're just getting into gouging. That's offensive."
Francis-Baxter said she encourages customers looking for roses to instead buy their loved ones locally grown flowers including tulips, primroses and calla lilies.
"My prices are competitive," she said.
Francis-Baxter said she helps customers who insist on roses to find a competing shop with the right flowers.
The owner said she hopes the policy will help her "to make local flowers more accessible" on Valentine's Day.
"It's a made-up holiday anyway, so why don't we make it what we want it to be?" she said.