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Ask the Florist: Is Love Really (Like) a Red Rose?

Valentines Flowers

I confess every year I get swept along on a wave of Valentine’s Day marketing hype. Even after all these years it’s still important to make the effort – maybe even more so. Failure to make some acknowledgement feels a touch bah-humbug. So I try to do something mildly prosaic, be it popping a cork on a bottle of pink fizz or buying that Valentine inspired meal deal for a tenner at M & S. Even the most resistant of our menfolk can be induced to go all soppy in a moment of romantic Tom foolery. I love it; I always have done, so count me in and cue the cheese.

If, like me, you go in for the full Valentine schmooze, it is highly likely you will be giving or receiving one, two or even three of the following:

A) Card

B) Chocolates

C) Red rose(s)

You probably think as a florist, I’m going to sway you in in favour of the red roses. Wrong.

Valentines flowers not roses

If I had to choose I’d skip the cheesy card and take the chocolate over the red roses every time! I fell out of love with the ubiquitous red rose at Valentine’s Day some years ago. The way I see it, whilst most women would probably love to receive flowers given the choice, I am equally confident that most would not choose a red rose.

Here’s the rub: they are (massively) overpriced, of variable quality and (most importantly) completely out of season.

Those red roses somehow look considerably less plump and luscious in real life than they appeared in the marketing hype. Those that do look huge and voluptuous will cost the earth – and either way, within a few days regardless of size and quality, many end up looking decidedly limp and lack-lustre.

Most red roses destined for February 14th will have been grown in Ecuador, Columbia or Kenya and then flown halfway around the world for our Valentines Day celebrations. That’s all well and good (as a florist I buy roses year round for my clients) but factor in the huge demand and you’ll see prices are driven up astronomically. Roses are cut and stored in fridge-like warehouses up to six weeks in advance in order to supply the ever growing demand. It’s small wonder the poor little blooms barely manage a week in a vase in your centrally heated home before calling it a day and drooping.

Alternative Valentines flowers

Like poet Robert Burns himself, my personal preference for red roses is as the poem says, when “newly sprung” and as nature intended in the month of June and definitely not February.

So how about an alternative bouquet of spring flowers? Tulips, anemones and ranunculi would be my top three blooms for February. All come in ubiquitous red for the traditionalists out there but also a myriad of other colours. They last really well and best of all, many are grown under glass or poly tunnel here in the UK.

Valentine bouquet no roses

So this Valentine’s day dare to be different, don’t break the bank on unseasonal red roses. Be bold and you’ll most likely get more bang for your buck if you choose flowers in season. Best of all, you’ll score some serious brownie points in the romance department for originality!

Valentines tulips

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15 Comments

  • Reply Alison February 9, 2016 at 9:42 am

    Brilliant post! I bought some roses last week and was so disappointed by how long they lasted. Now I know why. Going to buy some tulips today…

    • Reply Lindsey February 9, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Honestly, I promise you will not be disappointed, they just keep on giving and growing and then some. Be sure to cut the stems every few days and refresh the water. Tulips literally grow at least a centimetre a day. Lindsey

  • Reply Alice February 9, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Those spring blooms are just divine, gorgeous!! I’m not really a fan of the red rose either, my preference is white roses in the summer (after peonies, of course, I am a blogger after all 😉

    • Reply Lindsey February 9, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      Thanks Alice, may I suggest you get some ranunculus in your life?! These little beauties are in my humble opinion, the spring version of the peony – super frilly with layer upon layer of tissue like petal action, what’s not to love? (they also come in white, just saying) x

      • Reply Adele @ Beautiful Tribe February 9, 2016 at 9:52 pm

        Ooh I grew pink ranunculus this year and fell in love!

        • Reply Lindsey Kitchin February 10, 2016 at 11:44 am

          Good choice Adele, they are SO pretty but can be temperamental to grow I understand. There’s a gorgeous photo of one I posted on my I.G feed, eight days in a vase, they gently open up into the frilliest of flower heads.

  • Reply Slummy single mummy February 9, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    I agree that a rose is overrated. I’d much rather have something seasonal, that was in its prime.

  • Reply Mel Wiggins February 9, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    I love ranunculus – so beautiful. Never been much of a red roses girl, but have some beautiful yellow, peach and pink ones that appear in our garden and I adore them. Going seasonal is definitely the best! X

  • Reply Pamela | Life With Munchers February 9, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    Tulips are my favourite! We had them at our wedding in April. They’re such happy flowers x

  • Reply Adele @ Beautiful Tribe February 9, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    I’ve never really gone in for roses either. And I’d never really thought about them being imported from far-flung places in February though it’s obvious! I love the thought of some tulips instead.

  • Reply Polly February 10, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    I love tulips right now… perfectly pretty and spring like 🙂

    • Reply Lindsey Kitchin February 10, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      I with you Polly, I love their seasonality, right now I cannot get enough of them! It’s a bit like buying in-season vegetables – they taste so much better! Look out for the British flag, many tulips are grown here in the UK.

  • Reply Katie Albury February 10, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Fab post (will casually forward this onto the Hubster!) you are so right, tradition makes men think that they have to spend an absolute fortune on boring red roses when there are so many beautiful buds to choose from and ones that last longer and are more cheerier! x

    • Reply Lindsey Kitchin February 10, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      Thanks Katie, and your so right blokes assume we all want red roses. Truth is, we want them to show that they’ve actually put some thought into giving something we would really appreciate. I know from customer feed back and repeat business my advice to think outside the box paid off!

  • Reply Kathryn February 10, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Yes! Couldn’t agree more. I’ve never particularly liked red roses anyway and would much prefer the seasonal bouquet you suggested. It’s about the effort and the sentiment not the flower itself anyway.

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