by Julie Christensen
Whatever your message –“Happy Valentine’s Day,” “Sorry I screwed up,” or simply, “I love you,” flowers have long been the way to a girl’s heart. When it comes to flowers for your girlfriend, roses top the list as the most common. They’re a safe choice, sure to be appreciated.
But, if you’d like to send something a bit different, consider more unusual flower choices like lilacs, peonies or poppies. Seasonal flowers, or even wild flowers, make charming arrangements. And don’t forget the language of flowers. During the Victorian period, each flower had a special meaning, providing conservative, tongue-tied Victorians a means to discreetly express their deepest feelings.
Sending flowers doesn’t have to be an expensive, complicated affair. Nothing’s more charming than a loosely gathered bunch of flowers harvested from your yard or a nearby field. And don’t wait until Valentine’s Day or a special occasion to send flowers. Bring flowers just because. Below are a few ideas:
Daisies. Remember the scene in the movie, “You’ve Got Mail,” when Tom Hanks woos Meg Ryan with a bouquet of daisies? Daisies, pictured at the top of the page, with their simple charm, don’t connote romance, but they did the trick. Why? Because Meg Ryan’s character loved them. Find out what your girlfriend’s favorite flowers are and send them—often. You can’t go wrong.
Forced branches. In the dead of winter, nothing says spring like an arrangement of cherry blossoms or forsythia. Trick Mother Nature by bringing branches of flowering shrubs indoors. Place the branches in water and watch them bloom before your eyes. Arrange the flowering branches in a rustic basket or bucket for an early spring gift sure to please your girlfriend.
Lavender. Here’s a little secret: most women love the smell of lavender and find it the perfect antidote to stress. Has your girlfriend been harried lately by work and life? Try sending a lavender bouquet, potpourri basket or eye mask. Better yet, offer to give her a massage with lavender oil. She’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and reward you in kind.
Orchids. In recent years, orchids have become immensely popular. Their simple, elegant design makes an ideal flower choice for your modern girl. Try an artful arrangement with a decidedly Asian feeling, such as one that contains black Manzanita branches and green cymbidian orchids.
Peonies. Old-fashioned peonies call to mind white picket fences and slower times. They’re beautiful in spring bouquets and fill the house with their subtle, sweet fragrance.
Poppies. Poppies mean “pleasure,” and they do have an intoxicating reputation. Try a simple bouquet of bright, red poppies in the spring.
Sunflowers. Sunflowers evoke images of old tractors, late summer days and red barns–perhaps not the traditional symbols of passion, but any nature-loving, country girl will appreciate these cheerful blooms. Keep in mind that most garden varieties drop a lot of pollen. Grow or buy florist-grade sunflowers, which are pollen-free.
Sweet Peas. Sweet peas mean “blissful happiness” in the Victorian language of flowers, but your girlfriend will appreciate them for their delicate beauty and disarming scent. Send a simple nosegay or arrangement for a gift sure to please.
Wild Flowers. A casual bouquet of wild flowers tied with a ribbon is just as beguiling as the most expensive bouquet. Or make a simple, rustic vase by gluing twigs to a coffee can. Gather wild flowers from a field or garden. Flowers picked from outdoors often harbor insect pests so place them in a sheltered location outdoors for a few hours before bringing them inside. Cut flowers early in the morning and remove any thorns.
Winter Flowers. Your choices are more limited in the dead of winter, but consider the materials naturally available. How about a simple arrangement of dried berries, candles and pine cones or a wreath for her door? Amaryllis blooms are a traditional winter flower, as are forced paper whites.
When it comes to choosing flowers for your girlfriend, you can’t go wrong. Sending flowers is a gesture of generosity and thoughtfulness, and what’s more romantic than that?
When she’s not writing about gardening, food and canning, Julie Christensen enjoys spending time in her garden, which includes perennials, vegetables and fruit trees. She’s written hundreds of gardening articles for the Gardening Channel, Garden Guides and San Francisco Gate, as well as several e-books.