As the 14th of February gallops toward us, florists everywhere are gearing up for their busiest day of the year.
The single most popular bloom for lovers is the red rose with a whopping 250 million of them grown globally for St. Valentine’s Day alone. They might signify love, passion and romance, but they are also most expensive at this time of the year.
I have a confession to make: red roses are not my favourite bloom and can be a bit obvious. Instead, I encourage clients to branch out a bit, indulge their floral passion and let me create something fabulous, perfectly suited to their partner. Flowers are often an expensive luxury item, so buying them should be an absolute joy: find a florist who will spend time with you, guide you, and ensure you leave the shop feeling wonderful. A good artisan florist is worth their weight in gold.
So, let’s get back to the good bit – the bit where someone else buys the flowers and you’ve been presented with a show-stopper bouquet, that’s left your jaw on the floor and your heart pounding with passion. How do you make those blooms last longer than your New Year’s Resolution Zumba Classes?
Three Golden Rules: Snip, Strip & Soak
Snip: as soon as you receive your flowers remove all the packaging and snip an inch off the bottom of the stems. Flowers immediately start to ‘heal’ after they’ve been cut and are out of water, so you need to re-cut them at home to ensure they get a good drink.
Cutting at an angle creates a greater area for them to take in water and it also stops the stem pressing against the bottom of the vase and blocking the water source.
Strip: make sure there are no leaves or foliage below the water line – if there are, cut them off. It keeps the water fresh, stops the stems from going slimy and smelly and makes the blooms last longer.
Cellophane too is terribly bad for flowers – it speeds up the production of ethylene gas which rots the flowers – so if there’s any there, get rid! If possible, choose blooms with eco-friendly packaging. Simple kraft paper and tissue looks far classier. Or some gorgeous re-usable hessian wrap.
Soak: get your blooms in water as soon as possible. If you are gripped in the throes of passion and fear that whipping out a pair of secateurs and grappling with red bows and tissue could spoil the moment, then bung them into the champagne bucket until you have time to tend to them.
Lastly, if there is flower food there, then use it. Do not store it in your kitchen drawer of doom, it is carefully formulated to make your flowers last as long as possible. Trust me, I’m a florist.
Now, if your other half didn’t quite get to the florist on time and was forced to grab a bunch of dodgy-looking carnations from the garage along with a meal deal and a tank full of fuel, please don’t be too hard on them: carnations represent love, fascination and devotion. Incidentally, if they are presenting the forecourt meal deal as part of the tete-a-tete celebrations then you have more than flowers to worry about.
But all is not lost. The same rules applies for prepping as with luxury blooms: snip, strip and soak. Rather than putting them in one large vase though, single stem carnations in a collection of bud vases will give even the sorriest looking blooms a new lease of life.
Buy Me Flowers
I am often asked by clients how they can encourage their other half to buy them flowers. I’m tempted to let them read ‘Wuthering Heights’ – where Cathy dies in the arms of her lover Heathcliff, smelling the heather one last time, whilst her foppish husband Edgar is racing about the moors not knowing the difference between a heather and a hellebore. The moral is the hero of the story knows the currency of a decent flower. Admittedly this may be a little extreme for most, and I should add I have a highly developed sense of drama.
Alternatively, use social media. Like, share and tag your other half in posts by your favourite florist. Or drop it into casual conversation, ‘Oh those flowers are glorious… flowers really make me happy….I’d like a bouquet of flowers please!’ If you find a method that works, please let me know.
A recent (gender neutral) survey showed that one in three people said they’d be more likely to have sex with their partners after receiving flowers, so you could leave that lying around – although that still leaves two thirds not prompted into passion and this could be a can of worms you do not want to open.
And if you are on your own on St. Valentine’s Day, treat yourself to some gorgeous blooms – go on, you deserve it. Whatever the occasion, nothing brightens up your day, and your indoor space, like some fabulous florals.