Gardening: Playing Valentine’s Day roulette

Some helpful tips on the best type of flowers for the big day

I have decided that my fellow man has suffered enough and deserves some sort of guidance in regards to the annual trial of love called Valentine’s Day.

Specifically, it is inhumane to expect any man to choose the perfect bouquet given his partner’s deliberately vague expectations (yet another test) and the proliferation of every available flower at florists, corner stores, supermarkets and garden centres.

Then there are those psychic sales assistants who seem to know exactly what you’re your wife or girlfriend wants, even though you don’t even have a clue.

Of course, going home empty handed is not an option. Then again, bringing back the wrong flowers may result in a week-long Kraft dinner buffet.

So here are some helpful tips meant to take the gambling out of your annual floral purchase, and although there are no guarantees that you will find that perfect bouquet, at least you know that you are not alone on this most desperate of days.

Size matters – those pre-made mixed bouquets are a trap, and although they are impeccably arranged, when you take them out of their bulky packaging, there is really only a handful of flowers.

In fact, it takes two or three of them to make an impressive arrangement, so if you decide to go this route have them repackaged into one so it looks like you bought the expensive large bouquet right off the bat.

A ‘few’ roses – if she asks you for a few roses this Valentine’s Day, don’t be stupid enough to buy her two to three stems and expect to get away with it.

A ‘few’ is simply code for a dozen, and she is just waiting to see if you value her enough to pay the price.

In fact, I would even throw in some baby’s breath and greens in order to convince her that you are not a ‘few’ roses sort of guy.

Red means red – of course it would be an affront to capitalism if the much coveted red rose wasn’t a little more expensive than the other colours on Valentine’s Day, or if they didn’t sell out quicker.

The problem being that when she says red, she means red.

Saving a few bucks on a different colour or admitting to her that you went to buy her flowers too late in the day are one-way tickets to sleeping on the couch that night.

The other problem, unbeknownst to you, is that flower colours have a specific meaning, with red being love, yellow friendship, pink gratitude and white innocence – with the latter being something you may want to avoid on what is supposed to be a passionate night.

If she asks for an orchid, give her an orchid – this should be a no-brainer, but some men think it is a clever appeal for something else, which it is not.

That said, you should start this negotiation by asking her, what’s an orchid? That way you  lower her expectations and then come home with the biggest Cattleya or phalaenopsis you can get your hands on in order to collect maximum bonus points, which should last you through hockey season.

The day after doesn’t count – I feel genuine empathy for those few men I see shopping for flowers the day after Valentine’s Day, because no matter how big a bouquet they buy, it will never be large enough. My final piece of advice is that if you want to play roulette on Feb. 14, put everything on Red 12, roses that is.

Mike Lascelle is a local nursery manager and gardening author (hebe_acer@hotmail.com).

 

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