Whether you have spent Valentine’s day with your significant other, friends, your dog, or yourself, you have probably been swept up in the annual storm of pink and red. For the lucky few who have received presents – chocolates, roses, jewelry etc. – and laid down on the couch to watch Love Actually (or is that a Christmas movie? Who cares, it’s romance!), I can say you have a very happy life indeed.


But enough about you. Time to talk about me (I know how much you love that)! How did I spend my special day? By working in a flower shop. If working in a flower shop sounds romantic to you then you clearly have never worked in one. Imagine being surrounded, suffocated, by hundreds, and thousands of roses, and salal and pink crepe paper. You grab a rose by the head like a samurai unsheathing his katana, jab it into a halo of salal, stuff it with filler and try to shimmy that monstrosity into a cellophane triangle. Easy, right? Now make two hundred more.


If the above paragraph has bored you sufficiently, let’s cut to the chase.


A guide to flowers (by a novice florist)

If you are ordering custom flowers, order a week or two before Valentine’s. You can also attempt to make your own. Picking up a pre-made one is probably the best.


Flowers: Tulips, gerberas, and ranunculus are popular, but roses are, of course, king. The regular varieties are rather cliché. Fluffy garden roses are harder to find but more unique. Callas, lilies, and carnations can also be found.


Filler: Please, no baby’s breaths. There is a huge variety of filler plants, ranging from tiny to enormous. Waxflowers, berries, freesias, and hydrangeas are a few. Please mind that the size of fillers depend on the size of your bouquet. You cannot add a huge hydrangea to a three-rose bouquet.


Foliage: Eucalyptus is fragrant and chalky. Salal is stiff and supports the bouquet’s shape. Ferns are, well, ferns. Beargrass is long, elegant, and razor-sharp.


Wrapping: Clear cellophane is the standard, but you can add tissue paper. Some prefer to wrap bouquets in brown kraft paper. Some don’t wrap their flowers at all.


Type of bouquet: Posy bouquets are round in shape and very neat. They are usually wrapped tightly with ribbon for weddings. Others are much looser and organic in shape. You can also give your significant other a corsage or boutonniere, which are much smaller floral arrangements.


Nah: If bouquets confuse you, buy potted plants! They are less flashy, but they will last longer and generate less waste. Also, flower shops often do not raise the price of potted plants like they do with cut flowers.