I know, I know, even the most well organised amongst us can find ourselves stumped…
We might be rushed off our feet on Valentine’s Day, but we always want to help you buy the most beautiful blooms for your loved ones. Read on for handy gems independent florists love to pass on every 14 February…
1 Order Valentine’s Day flowers early!
You can leave it until 14 February to scoop up whatever we have left, but order early for the best choice – especially if you’re after something specific. Never fear, we’ll be fully stocked on the day with lots of bouquets ready to grab and go, too.
2 Exactly why to avoid supermarket flowers
Supermarket flowers have done huge damage to independent florists, but there are other reasons not to pop blooms in your trolley. They may work out slightly cheaper, but they’re a fraction of the quality of the flowers we sell. At the supermarket you lose out on fragrance, and also longevity – chances are, they were cut weeks ago and have sat in cold storage since. It’ll also be obvious you’ve given the same amount of thought to your partner as you have about which baked beans to buy!
3 If in doubt, go simple
Some people think they have to impress with bouquets laden with trimmings, wrappings and trinkets – and obviously we’ll sell you whatever you want (if we have it). But we also love it when Valentine’s Day flowers can speak for themselves, with no filler – they’re often gorgeous and elegant enough on their own.
4 Prepare your love letter first
Think up what you’d like to say on your card before you speak to us. We won’t be embarrassed if you have to rack your brains for the right romantic message on the spot, but you might. And do spell out any tricky or unusual names or exact punctuation if necessary – we’re experts in flowers, not always grammar (although we’ll do our best!)
5 Think practically if sending flowers to work
Receiving a huge bouquet at work? Wonderful. Struggling home with it on busy public transport? Less so. Let us know a bit of context and we’ll make sure the flowers are easy to carry in a long-handled bag, and are packed to prevent getting bashed when travelling home that evening. The Pozzy is another stylish (and eco) way to carry flowers.
6 Go on, cheat on red roses
Even though red roses are the most popular Valentine’s Day flowers, you needn’t stay faithful to these tried and tested – if unimaginative – blooms. Some florists (not us of course!) actually hold some back in refrigerators to be whipped out for the big day – so when they’re sold they have little life left. Guarantee fresher – and more unique – with spring flowers in lovely pale pinks, or a bunch of simple tulips.
7 Flowers are more expensive (but it’s not our fault!)
It’s true that flowers cost more around Valentine’s Day, but please don’t blame us florists. People want certain flowers at this time of year (hello again, red roses), which creates a larger demand and is reflected in extra costs at every stage of the growing and buying cycle.
8 Blooms have different meanings
Flowers have a language of their own, so you can choose your blooms depending on what you want to say. Red roses symbolise romance, and tulips symbolise perfect love, but some believe there are also flowers to avoid if you’re superstitious: marigolds, which stand for greed and selfishness; single daffodils, which can mean misfortune; and sweet peas, apparently a way of saying goodbye.
9 We’ll try to prevent sneezing and streaming
Some flowers that are heavy with pollen, like lilies, can be a disaster for allergy-prone Valentines, as can strong-scented blooms like hyacinths. Let us know if you’re ordering for someone who tends to sneeze and we’ll point you to safer choices like tulips, gerbera or a gorgeous orchid.
10 Ordering out of area? Deal with a florist direct
If you’re buying for someone who doesn’t live nearby, call a florist local to them – or order through their own website. If you use a ‘florist relay’ (a service that passes on orders to local florists), they’ll take a cut of your fee and leave the actual florist less to spend on your beautiful bouquet.
11 Squeeze some roses
Buy Valentine’s Day flowers from our florist shop in Greenwich, South London, and we’ll be happy to show you the best way to check roses are fresh. The firmer the part where the petals meet the top of the stem, the fresher the rose. If that bit feels soft and tender, that’s a sign of an older flower, so steer clear.
12 Stems hate scissors
Whether we’re working on floral arrangements for launches and events, weddings or parties or preparing flowers for the shop, there’s a golden rule to follow. Blunt scissors risk crushing the flower stem, which means it’s harder for them to absorb water. It’s better to use a sharp, non-serrated knife or a pair of very sharp floristry scissors, slicing an inch off the bottom. Cut at a 45-degree angle so the maximum amount of water rises up to the head of the flower, then put the blooms straight into water.
13 Would you drink from your flower vase?
If not, it’s not ready for flowers. For the longest-lasting bouquet, wash the vase in hot, soapy water and make sure it’s rinsed thoroughly. Displaying flowers in a sparkling clean vase you’d be happy to drink out of prevents microorganisms that can make water turn slimy and limit their lifespan.
14 Use the little packets we give you
The packets of floral preservatives we include with your flowers really do help keep them fresher for longer. In fact, if you need a few extra packets to use each time you change the water, we’ll probably give you some. After all, we want the flowers you’ve chosen to be as fabulous as possible.
If you’re anywhere in the area, pop along to Karen Woolven Flowers at Greenwich in South London to say hello. We have gorgeous blooms every day of the year, not just Valentine’s Day. And we’ll always pass on flower tips, no matter how busy we are…