Although I’ll often say that winter is my favourite season, I have to admit that spring, with its consistent parade of changing plant-states and explosions of colour, is also quite appealing.
In honour of springtime then, and also inspired by a recent conversation in which I whined to The Boy that he never buys me flowers (to which he fairly retorted that he brought me back 4 dozen tulip bulbs from Holland, woman, what am I talking about?), I’ve decided to draw on my vast 4-month experience working in a flower store, and put together a list to aid men in their task of wooing.
Oh yes, I used to work in a flower store. You didn’t know that? It’s true. In the April right before I finished up my undergrad degree, I panicked, called up Workplace and told them I wouldn’t be ready to start work until September. Why? Fear of commitment. I was deathly afraid of entering the corporate world, because it seemed so big and inescapable. So naturally, I put it off for four months, and worked retail in a flower shop instead.
Actually, as my only retail experience (ever), it was insanely positive. I have many, many happy memories, and a goodly number of nifty skills that I picked up that summer.
But I digress.
None of this wandering down memory lane is going to get you the help you’re looking for any faster, so let’s get cracking. Boys: this is for you. It’s not that girls don’t like roses (they do). It’s just that they’re a) overkill oftentimes, and b) kind of boring, dude.
I must at this point stick in the standard caveat that some girls like the classic, boring rose (my sister being one of them) and that’s fine. For those girls, you’ve got your flower-shopping cut out for you. (Although please, mix it up on occasion and buy her a peach or yellow one. Roses don’t only come in red!)
For any girl that you don’t know well enough to know which way she swings rose-wise, don’t buy her a rose as your first flower offering. Start slow. I present my…
Top 8 (Cheaper) Cut Flowers To Buy A Girl:
8 – Dahlia. These flowers are bright, pretty big, and still slightly unusual-looking. They’re okay on their own, but better in a bouquet.
7 – Carnation. Unfortunately, this hardy little flower has the reputation of being cheap working against it, but they are cute, very tough (if you’ve got a long car or bus ride ahead of you, the carnation is your friend), smell nice, and last quite awhile in the vase. They’re also available in essentially any colour you can imagine. They’re awesome!
6 – Tulips. These flowers are on the high end of “cheap”, but they’re so clean and fresh-looking, they pretty much embody spring. Clean, bright, happy, pure, they’re an excellent daytime flower (i.e. going for a picnic). Since florists usually sell these more closed, they should be alright for about a week in a vase while they open.
5 – Calla lily. I have hesitation with this one, since the big classic white ones are a little overdone (and also remind me of funerals), but the smaller more colourful ones make very clean, elegant bouquets (i.e. opera!). So if you’re thinking calla, don’t dismiss the small ones — size isn’t everything!
4 – (Gerbera) Daisies. It takes a specific type of girl to appreciate a flock of normal daisies; for most gals, it’s safest to go with a smaller number (or single) Gerbera daisy. These come in the bright candy colours, and look the way a cartoon flower does. Their deep colour makes them good for night or day, and the thick stem makes it easy to just tie a ribbon around for simple gifting.
If your girl is likely to appreciate the posey of daisies, or something close, try eccinachea (or black-eyed susans) instead to mix it up a little. (Sometimes white+yellow gets a little old, you know?)
3 – Peony. These ones have a pretty short window of availability but they’re bigger, gorgeous globes of soft, pretty petals. They do tend to shed all over the place as they get older, so as vase-keeping goes, they’re probably only good for 4 days or so. Still, they’re impressive without being showy, and isn’t that what every first date is about?
2 -Sunflowers. Not the big-ass kind (again, unless you know she likes them), but the smaller ones are fantastic. Buy a single one, or a cluster of three. The smaller ones manage to look happy and sincere without being campy. Dress it up with a satin ribbon, and again, you have a flower that works even in a semi-formal occasion.
1 – Alstroemeria. For under $10 you can buy two stems (different colours), ask them to throw in a mess of greenery, and have a pretty good-sized bouquet going on. The ’emeria is colourful enough that it’s fine for a daytime event, but the flowers are speckled and complicated-looking enough to also be appropriate for evenings.
I love alstroemeria, and couldn’t believe I’d existed as long as I had (pre-flower store) without knowing about them. Quite simply, they’re gorgeous.
Two runners-up that I think are beautiful in their own way, but make poor “date” flowers: snapdragons and gladioli. These are long spears of colourful blooms, pretty if you’ve got a tall vase to fill, but difficult to give someone before heading off on a night out.
I’d recommend these two for a hostess gift if you want a dramatic and long-lasting flower to offer.
So that’s it. Spring is here! Go out and enjoy nature by hacking down its pretty bits as a sign of your love! (And don’t forget to call your mom tomorrow — she loves you!)