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Bouquets of tulips, roses and rannuculus in a wire basket

Valentine’s Day Flower Alternatives

Small Vases of Bouquets in a Wire BasketMy favorite gift to give on Valentine’s Day is flowers.  I like the idea of a hint of spring arriving at a loved one’s door just when it seems that winter will never pass.  It’s a wonderful reminder that sunshine and blue skies are on their way!

Whether your sweetheart has a brown thumb or loves to get their hands in the soil you can’t go wrong with flowers.  Although red roses are the classic Valentine’s Day flower, there are so many choices available it’s easy to be creative.  Here are some ideas for you to consider.

Basketful of Bouquets
Flowers are a wonderful way to say I love you.  To make the statement even more personal, why not put together the arrangement yourself.  Here’s a simple gift idea I featured in Woman’s Day that I still use.  It’s a whole basketful of blooms.  The beauty of this present is that the vases can be removed from the basket and put wherever the recipient wants fresh flowers.

  1. Wire Basket of VasesGather enough juice glasses or small vases (2 to 3 inches high) to fit snugly into a basket.
  2. Head out to your local florist and choose your combination of flowers.  Or try my selections of 10 stems each of white and pink mini carnations, pink and red sweet heart roses, red tulips and pink ranunculus.
  3. Make each bouquet by gathering a bunch of the same flowers in one hand just below the blossoms and then trimming the stems to 4 inches.  Wrap a rubber band around the stems to hold them securely together, then push the band up the stems just beneath the base of the flowers.
  4. Drop the bundle into a water-filled vase.  Trim more from the stems if necessary.  Repeat this process for each vase.  Add a ribbon gift card and you’re ready to deliver your one-of-a-kind gift.

Flowering Houseplants, Hot House Shrubs and Forced Bulbs
Solitaire Azalea I feel safe in saying that by February most of us are tired of winter.  Even with the daring blooms of early daffodils, winter honeysuckle and quince, it can be a pretty dismal month.  I suppose that’s why flowers are such a nice gift on Valentine’s Day.  If your special someone has a green thumb, consider giving them a flowering houseplant, hot house shrub or forced spring bulbs.  The blooms will last for weeks and with proper care the houseplants will bloom again and the shrubs can be planted out in the garden.  Here are a few to consider:

  • African Violets
  • Primroses
  • Orchids
  • Cyclamen
  • Bromeliads
  • Miniature Roses
  • Peace Lily
  • Gardenia
  • Azalea
  • Hydrangea
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Paperwhites
  • Amaryllis
  • Hyacinths
  • Tulips
  • Mixed Bulb Gardens
  • Muscari

Rose Bushes
New Dawn Rose Surronding a Window Give the special gardener in your life more than just a single bouquet, a rose bush will provide fresh flowers year after year.  And now is the time to order roses.  Just be sure to be around when it comes time to plant!  Here is a list of some of my favorites:

  • New Dawn
  • Collette
  • Old Blush
  • Russell’s Cottage
  • Sarah van Fleet
  • LaMarque
  • The Fairy
  • White Meidiland

Good to Know
Make sure the message you send is the right one!  Here are meanings to some popular flowers.
Azalea = First Love
Camellia = Gratitude
Carnation = Fascination
Chrysanthemum = Friendship
Crocus = Cheerfulness, Dedicated to St. Valentine
Daffodil = Chivalry
Daisy = Innocence
Forget-Me-Not = Memories
Gardenia = Grace
Hyacinth = Sincerity
Ivy = Fidelity
Lilac = First Love
Casablanca Lily = Celebration
Orchid = Rare Beauty
Peony = Good Health
Rose, Pink = Friendship
Rose, Red = Passionate Love
Rose, Red and white = Unity
Rose, Rhite = Youthful Innocence
Sweetpea = Lasting Pleasure
Tulip, Red = Declaration of Love
Violet = Faithfulness
Zinnia = Thoughts of Friends

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Three Ways to Prolong Valentine’s Day Roses

Did you receive roses for Valentine’s Day? Lucky you! Prolong the love with these three ideas.

When Your Roses Arrive
If your roses came prearranged, simply place the vase in a spot out of direct sun and away from heat sources.

For unarranged roses fill a vase with lukewarm water and add a floral preservative along with one teaspoon of bleach to keep the water clean. Remove any leaves from the stems below water line. Under running water, re-cut the ends of the stems at a slight angle. Place the flowers immediately into the vase.

Every few days replace with water and recut the ends of the stems.

Giving Your Roses a Second Life
Pull the freshest flowers from the bouquet and reuse them in a new arrangement. Buy flowers from a local florist or market to complement the colors of your roses. For red roses try purple, orange, and golden yellow flowers. If you receive salmon roses, add chartreuse, blue, and cream. Pink roses look great with burgundy, lavender, and cream blooms.

Cut the rose and flower stems to about 8 inches long. Grab the entire bouquet as close to the base of the blooms as possible. Wrap a rubber band around the stems to hold the arrangement together tightly. Place the bouquet in a low vase filled with fresh water, floral preservative and a few drops of bleach.

Preserve your Memory
As your roses fade, remove the petals and place them in an open weave basket to dry. Purchase other ingredients from hobby or craft stores to create your own personalized potpourri. I start with a base of pre-packaged dried flowers or potpourri to create a colorful mixture. With an eyedropper add some rose oil to the potpourri and toss gently to refresh the fragrance of the flowers. Place the mixture a bowl or basket where the aroma can be enjoyed.