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:
C) Red rose(s)
You probably think as a florist, I’m going to sway you in in favour of the red roses. Wrong.
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.
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.
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!