When the prospect of romance blooms, one surefire message tells your date you want to see them again.
Say it with flowers.
True, people have been expressing their feelings for centuries by offering flowers. And while Janet Gotoweicz of Toronto’s Tidy’s Flowers allows that it’s the thought that counts, she does concede that if you want to make a good impression, certain blooms are more significant than others.
“Roses and orchids still have a certain amount of cachet,” says Gotoweicz, a 30-year floral veteran. “I think people still see them as special and more expensive flowers than daisies or carnations.”
And although the rose remains the flower of choice when it comes to Valentine’s Day delivery, other varieties are fast growing in popularity.
“There’s been a real movement towards flowers like orchids, things with scent, like hyacinth, and that sort of thing,” says Gotoweicz. “Also flowers from Holland because of the time of year. So you’re looking at Gerber daisies, tulips, irises, and freesia. In the middle of winter, people get those and go, ‘Wow, this is awesome.’”
Scent, as long as it’s not overpowering, is brilliant because every time your intended gets a waft of the aroma, he/she will be reminded of you and — hopefully — get all weak-kneed.
But beware: you might want to check on what kind of flower you’re sending to the object of your affection.
The art of floriography – the “language” of flowers – warns that sending the wrong blossom can send a devastating message to your beneficiary.
Highly popular during the Victorian Era (from 1837 to 1901) floriography was such an essential element of social life that people meticulously expressed themselves through floral arrangements. But the presentation of a bouquet — or lack thereof — could speak volumes about their intentions, romantic or otherwise.
Even the colors of the flora represented different moods and meanings.
For example, each hue of the carnation offers a kaleidoscope of interpretation.
According to victorianbazaar.com the carnation itself is generally construed to represent “fascination” or “devoted love.” A red carnation tells your recipient that your heart is aching for them or that you admire them.
Offer them pink, and it symbolizes that you’ll never forget them. White equals innocence.
But send them a yellow or a striped carnation and be prepared for hell to break loose: it’s a sign of rejection.
In fact, when you contemplate the entire color wheel, yellow seems to be the universal troublemaker: a yellow chrysanthemum symbolizes slighted love; a yellow hyacinth, jealousy.
Other troublesome colors are germane to specific genus: A scarlet geranium represents melancholy; a purple hyacinth asks for forgiveness; and the orange lily is a definite no-no — it expresses hatred or dislike.
So, if a bouquet of orange lilies shows up at the office, there’s a good chance it’s game over.
Think maybe a plant is a good idea? Think again. Gotoweicz frowns on sending plants. “Somebody may be thinking, ‘I don’t like sending flowers because they die, so maybe I can send a plant and it would last longer.’ In my head, I’m saying, ‘OK buddy, the idea is not how long this thing lasts. The idea is, ‘I know these flowers are really perishable but you’re worth it.’
“That tells me that maybe you just don’t get it,” says warns.
Flowers are great gifts for a number of reasons: they’re pretty, they smell nice, they brighten up a room and they don’t break the bank, although Gotoweicz admits that men — who typically buy more flowers as a romantic gesture than women — aren’t usually budget-conscious when it involves flora.
Even in trying economic times such as these, she says flowers seem to be the recession-proof way of gifting from one’s admirers.
“When economic times are great, it’s a very spur-of-the-moment — people come in to buy a dozen roses, and they may look at this big huge vase with four dozen in it and go, ‘Oh, I’m going to take that,’” she explains.
“In a bad economy, flowers, which people buy with their disposable income, are hit hard at first. But the longer the economic downturn lasts, it’s almost a reverse effect, because it’s something that people can afford.
“Maybe they can’t afford a car to buy as a birthday gift, but they can afford to buy a nice bouquet of flowers. They become a relatively affordable luxury and then people start spending more on them again.”
Make no mistake, the blooms and buds can get very costly. Four dozen long stemmed red roses with local delivery on Valentine’s Day will run you about $400. Though you can get a dozen nice looking ones for around $60. Other types of reasonably sized bouquets with fresh cut flowers etc. will cost you between $60 and $100.
But the beauty of sending flowers (or handing them over in person) is that you can imaginatively dress up your bouquet with a pound of chocolate, a cute teddy bear, a bunch of balloons or a special card. Or you can keep it really simple. And you don’t have to give a dozen.
“Sometimes,” offers Gotoweicz, “one rose says as much as 50.”
Of course, if things didn’t go so well during a date, there’s a remedy for that too.
Go to The Payback.com and you can express your displeasure with a $19.99 (U.S.) order of a half-dozen dead wilted roses.
If you want to be really cruel, you can spend your $19.99 and order just the stems. Or if you want to be really, really cruel, you can spend your $19.99 and send your ex-date…. wait for it…. “1 Dead Smelly Fish.”