Valentines Day is just around the corner and if I was a betting man (which I am not), I would wager that the vast majority of men will stagger into their local flower retailer and order up some roses for their sweetheart. Why am I so confident? A few years in the flower business taught me a thing or two. As sure as the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, men will not take the risk of buying their sweetheart anything but a sure thing come Valentine’s Day.
Roses are safe.
When it comes to the annual celebration of love and commitment, we men like to place our bets on sure things. Or, the nearest to a sure thing that exists. Lingerie is a risk (especially if it is too large). Chocolates are a risk (there is a reason why your sweetie has a great looking figure: she doesn’t eat these things). Jewellery – well jewellery isn’t so much a risk as it is just downright expensive. Which is fine if you really need to impress, but if you are merely maintaining, well, you don’t need to knock her over on her heels now do you?
I am here to tread delicately into the genre of relationship building. What would your life partner or ‘girl friend’ be impressed with that does not smell as sweet as a rose, nor will it look quite like you just took the easy, risk free alternative to being thoughtful and creative. I am here to help. My top 5 list of ‘alternatives to cut roses’ for Valentines:
1. Something that grows. Like your love for this person you wish to impress on February 14th. There are green plants that NASA (the Space agency in the States) have determined clean the air and produce oxygen more efficiently than most. Look for Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), spider plant, umbrella tree (schefflera), aloe vera, English ivy and Boston fern. All are easily available. And while I am on the subject of giving plants for Valentines Day, why not a tree that will mark this special occasion: the anniversary of (you fill in the blank). Just pick up a gift card from a quality retailer and provide a note indicating that you will accompany her on a trip to the nursery this spring to pick out something appropriate.
2. You. Assuming that she likes to spend time in the garden, perhaps there are some things that she does not really like about the experience of gardening. Like weeding, watering, pruning, grass cutting… you get the idea. Provide a promise to help her out this spring more than you have in the past, perhaps in ways that you have not before. You will figure it out.
3. Travel. A trip to an amazing garden could mean a journey to the U.K. to visit Kew Gardens or Trebah (see my column of Jan. 9 at link). You will plan on joining her, of course. But if that just does not make sense, how bout a day trip to the Toronto Music Garden http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/venues/torontomusicgarden/ (my favourite in the city) with a prepared hamper lunch acquired from a high end caterer? Or a trip to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington https://www.rbg.ca/ and dinner at a nearby restaurant?
4. Other flowering plants. We get hung up on fresh cut, long stem roses the same way that we become overly committed to so many ‘traditions’. We repeat the sound and joy of the season because… well, we always have. How bout an azalea (exotic, fabulous flowers, permanent plant), cyclamen (new colours that will knock your gardening socks off) or an orchid (once considered rare and hard to keep, not so anymore). Anything but a mum. You can give your Mom a mum but not your sweetheart. Trust me.
5. More you. How bout a package deal, where you provide her with two tickets to Canada Blooms (the largest garden/flower festival on the continent), which conveniently occurs March 11 to 20 at the Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place. Tickets are $20 each and you can buy them on line now at www.canadablooms.com. Put a couple of them in an envelope with a thoughtful card. Add a gift card from a nice restaurant, the business card of a limousine service and hand her the works combined with some fresh cut roses (yes, I will be giving roses too). Now you are talking romance!
And what is romance anyway? It is the moment when your thoughtfulness surpasses her expectations.
You can do it.
And if you still don’t like the idea of taking a risk with a formula that has worked for you in the past, put a copy of this article in with your card.