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With Valentine's Day only two days away, some cash-conscious romantics may be wondering whether they should shell out $50 or more for thetraditional dozen long-stemmed roses.

Aurora Florist on Crain Highway has some ideas for lovers who are long on romance but short on cash.

For two-thirds the cost of a dozen roses, Aurora customers can buy "Romeo Roses," a combination of carnations and roses, said manager Phil Bendt.

"It's the same effect, the same look," said Bendt, butthe less expensive carnations keep the cost down. "Romeo Roses" -- six carnations and six roses -- run $35, compared to $50 for a dozen roses.

The other benefit, he said, is that carnations last longer than roses. So as those roses start to droop and fade, toss them out. You still can enjoy your carnations for another week.

Bendt, who expects to fill 200 to 300 flower orders this Thursday and Friday, said other cost-saving ideas include picking up flowers instead of having them delivered and buying a bunch of cut flowers instead of an arrangement.

Delivery charges within Glen Burnie are $3.50 and outsideof Glen Burnie, $4 -- a charge that can be saved by stopping by the shop. Cut flowers, which generally cost less than arrangements because less labor is involved, also can be picked up at the shop.

Aurora has cut flower bouquets starting at $5 and running up to $50. Flower arrangements run from $15 to $100, Bendt said.

If you're going to buy flowers, it's worth calling around because prices vary from shop to shop. For example, a dozen red roses can range in price from $45to $60.

And Glen Burnians have no shortage of shops to chose from. The local phone book lists 25 florists in the Glen Burnie area alone.

Linda Gettier, manager of Floral Design on Furnace Branch Road,said her shop is charging less for a dozen red roses this year because of the recession -- $45 for a dozen long-stemmed compared with $55to $60 for a dozen last year.

"We're trying to go with what people want. People aren't going to go for it this year," she said, referring to the high cost of roses.

Although she expects rose orders will pick up by Friday, her shop is taking more orders for less expensive flowers this year.

Stephen Formwalt, owner of Flowers Extraordinaire by Stephen on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard, said some customers may be concerned about spending money, but he doesn't think the recession will hurt his business too much this year.

"Most women still expect to get some flowers on Valentine's Day," he said, and most of their sweethearts comply. "It's still the No. 1 busiest day of the year for us."

The one cost-cutting move he's noticed is that some customers who ordinarily might order flowers for a few people are scaling back to just one order.

"Some people who might ordinarily send to their sweetheart and mom may send to just one this year," he said, adding that in these cases, the sweethearts generally win out.

Some customers, however, are going all out, recession or no, sending flowers, balloons and candy all from the same shop. Formwalt said he offers these combination packages for $30 to $50.

He also offers cut flower bouquets, which run from $6.95 to $15, and flower arrangements, which generally run from $18.50 to $45. A dozen red roses runs $55 at his shop.

And for those on a really tight budget, there's always the classic stand-by -- a single red rose. One rose costs $4 at Floral Design and $5.50 at Flowers Extraordinaire.

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