Roanoke Florist's Controversial Message Draws National Attention - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Roanoke Florist's Controversial Message Draws National Attention

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If you have driven past George's Flowers on Franklin Road in Roanoke you may have seen a scrolling sign that says, "We support local families, businesses and government employees impacted by the shutdown."

But a message scrolling from last Friday through this Monday - "Teabags filled with manure only make good fertilizer, not good House and Senate members" - is causing controversy.

"My message was to be political humor with a gardening twist since we deal in plants and horticulture. It has obviously started a great amount of discussion both positive and negative," said George Clements, the president and founder of the flower shop. "I feel very strongly when I found out the newly reopened Peaks of Otter Lodge was going to be laying off 80-plus employees. It saddened me. I feel that the Peaks is a gem for us. There's nothing better for me in October or November getting to ride up on my motorcycle up there, hike to the top and get rewarded with that wonderful buffet afterwards." 

Clements says the message was directed at the Tea Party.

"I think our members found it somewhat offensive and somewhat hurtful," said Chip Tarbutton, the president of the Roanoke Tea Party, who says he believes in free speech but not the florist's message.

Clements says he's gotten phone calls from around the country in support of and against the message.

"I would prefer not to have impacted my business with having to deal with the additional strain and stress the message has produced for the business," Clements said.

"The Roanoke Tea Party is really about individual liberty and our members I think need to know this individual doesn't think much of their ideas and they can make a decision on their own of what to do," Tarbutton said.