Florists ran short, or out, of roses

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UPDATED: With huge demand for roses from grieving Norwegians, flower shops have been doing brisk business and some ran out of stock after memorials were held all over the country on Monday. Demand was heaviest in Oslo, where several hundred thousand roses have since found their way onto the streets and even into local neighborhoods.

Residents of this Oslo neighbourhood assembled their roses in a bucket from a paint store, appropriately called "Fargerike," or "rich in colour." Flowers used in local memorials have since been spread around the streets of a city in mourning. PHOTO: Views and News

The largest public gathering ever in Norway involved what can only be described as flower power – an estimated 200,000 people standing quietly together, each holding a rose. That sparked a sudden and massive demand for flowers, preferably roses.

“We chose roses because it’s a symbol both of sorrow and of the Labour Party,” Ina Tin of Amnesty International, one of the organizers of Monday’s event, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). The Labour Party was the main target of a lone bomber and gunman who attacked government headquarters and the Labour Party’s youth organization AUF last Friday. At least 76 persons were killed in the attacks.

The organizers managed to acquire 15,000 roses to give away to those attending the event. Many private persons also bought bouquets and handed them out.

The organizers hadn’t expected that an estimated 200,000 persons would turn out for the memorial. Mester Grønn, one of Norway’s largest florist chains, told DN they sold more than 140,000 roses on Monday, 100,000 more than on a normal day. The Mester Grønn shop at Oslo’s Central Station was among those that ran out. The chain later announced it would donate most of its earnings on the roses to funds earmarked to help victims.

Other florists also ran out of roses and eventually other flowers as well, and resorted to clipping flowers off potted plants to meet demand for bouquets.

When Monday’s grassroots memorial on the plaza known as Rådhusplassen was over, people started leaving their roses all over town in a spontaneous attempt to spread some cheer and beauty in a city in mourning. The roses were fastened to streetlights and fences, especially the barriers set up around the bombed-out government quarters. Even the statue of a tiger in front of the train station had flowers in its mouth and at its feet. There’s been a proposal to rename the plaza“Rosenes plass” after the rose memorial.

Many of the roses were wilting by Wednesday but city officials say they’ll let the flowers and makeshift shrines stand for a while before collecting it all. Flowers laid in front of the Oslo Cathedral have grown into a mountain, forcing closure of the street that runs in front of the cathedral.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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