If you're looking to give your loved one flowers this Valentine's, take a look at this list of ideas beyond the average red rose.
We’ve become used to the arrival of pink and red heart shaped paraphernalia to the shops in the run up to Valentine’s Day. Red roses are an iconic symbol of the day and thousands are sold each year, but the air miles and growing practices that facilitate their availability makes these unseasonal bouquets less appealing. When buying flowers, it is worth remembering that there are lots of seasonal British flowers available, all of which would make a lovely Valentine's gift. Here, with the help of Charlie Ryrie from the Real Cut Flower Garden, we’ve put together a list of alternative ideas to help you buy a more thoughtful gift for your loved one this Valentine’s Day.
When buying flowers, Charlie Ryrie of the Real Cut Flower Garden says "Keep it real this Valentine’s Day and treat your beloved to something utterly British – look for suppliers who provide wonderful home grown flowers who at this time of year should have tulips, anemones, ranunculus, wonderful scented narcissi, sprigs of interesting willows and garden treasures. Pots of crocus or snowdrops look beautiful on a windowsill for weeks. You could even buy a few little succulents – pop them in an unusual pot and you have a lasting and thoughtful present."
The Real Cut Flower Garden provide special Valentine’s bouquets and arrangements with real garden flowers – hellebores, narcissi, mahonia, anemones, viburnums, witchhazel, alder and hazel catkins and diverse shrubs with natural beauty and scent. They only provide for collection or local delivery but there are plenty of online suppliers, such as saltboxandco.co.uk who supply beautiful bouquets by mail order.
If big cut-flower bouquets and dainty spring bulbs aren’t your thing, Grace and Thorn have a range of house plants available on their website. Choose Ceropegia woodii or chain of hearts for a house plant with true Valentine’s style.
Why not gather a collection of seeds and bulbs with romance-themed cultivar names and create an assortment box of plants for your loved one to sow, grow and enjoy for the whole season? It's almost time to grow sweet peas and Chiltern Seeds have a good selection - you could include Lathyrus odoratus Modern Grandiflora Sweet Peas 'Romeo' and Lathyrus odoratus Modern Grandiflora Sweet Peas 'Juliet' and have them grow together, or simply Lathyrus odoratus Old-Fashioned Sweet Peas 'Cupid' Mixed.
If you’re feeling particularly creative in the run up to Valentine’s Day, make a heart-shaped wreath. Pinterest is full of inspiring ideas using a wealth of natural materials including woven willow, moss, succulents and foliage. Here is a link to a Gardens Illustrated Pinterest board to get you started.
If you don’t feel like splashing the cash or don’t have time to make a gift, simply take your Valentine for stroll around one of these romantic gardens and enjoy spending some quality time together.
Charlie Ryrie will be speaking at the Gardens Illustrated Festival, 25-26 March. Her talk ‘An accidental flower grower’ follows the development of The Real Cut Flower Garden from initial idea to a flourishing business that has been providing home-grown flowers for over 13 years. To find out more about the festival and to buy tickets for Charlie’s talk, visit gardensfestival.com.