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Valentine’s bouquet can fit any budget

February 8, 2010  By By Dean Fosdick The Associated Press

Feb. 8, 2010 — There may be cheaper
ways to declare your love on Valentine’s Day than by saying it with flowers,
but that doesn’t mean having to forgo a bouquet.

Feb. 8, 2010 — There may be cheaper
ways to declare your love on Valentine’s Day than by saying it with flowers,
but that doesn’t mean having to forgo a bouquet.


Just put more thought into the

Sometimes less is more, such as
attaching a caring note to a single long-stemmed rose rather than ordering a
pricey dozen. Or mix a few stellar roses with a big selection of lower-priced
blooms to make a statement. Sprinkling a layer of rose petals on pillows or
floating them on a candlelit bubble bath has been known to warm a Valentine’s

Be creative about showcasing
whatever you can afford. “Flowers are a luxury, a discretionary purchase, but
they’re an affordable luxury,’’ said Jennifer Sparks, vice-president of
marketing for the Society of American Florists in Alexandria, Va. “A lot of
people may be going away for the (Valentine’s) weekend, but with the economy
the way it is, many more will be staying home and having dinner in. Flowers
accent that and create a little romance at the same time.’’

Here are some ways to prune your
Valentine’s Day floral costs even further:

• Shopping ahead of time can earn
you some incentives. “There’s a better chance you can get free delivery, better
selection or an early-bird discount,’’ Sparks said. “It certainly should
guarantee they’ll arrive on time since Valentine’s Day this year falls on a
Sunday when there’s no mail or express delivery.’’

• Buy a small but extravagant
assortment of lesser-known cut flowers. “Red roses are probably the most
popular gift, but there are so many other options and price ranges,’’ Sparks
said. “Carnations and tulips are great alternatives. There also are some
fragrant new hybrids out there that are a great value. Don’t be afraid to ask
florists for suggestions.’’

• Stretch things out. Put a potted
plant here; place a mixed bouquet there. Present her with a corsage before
leaving for that special dinner.

• Craft your own arrangement. Dig
around for a whimsical pot or unusual vase. Design something suggesting a
shared experience or a memorable trip together. Drop some golf balls or
seashells beneath the blooms or stick a couple of theatre tickets and several
colourful postcards into a hand-tied mix.

Still another way to boost flower
power is by coaxing your blooms to stay fresh longer than the usual four to
seven days. Re-cut the stems with a sharp knife as soon as you get them home so
they can “sip’’ whatever water they need. Remove any leaves below the waterline
to avoid unsightly bacterial growth and decay.

Keep flowers in a cool place
overnight (18 to 22 C); steer clear of drafts, heating and cooling vents, and
long periods of direct sunlight.

And who says real men don’t like
flowers? “When it comes to receiving flowers, men and women are on the same
playing field,’’ said Jeanette Haviland-Jones, a Rutgers University psychology
professor, in a behavioural study reinforcing the idea that flowers have a
positive impact on emotional health.

Ignore feminine frills, however. Go bold, said Sally Ferguson, a
spokeswoman for the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Centre. “Generally, men
go for more vibrant colours – reds and yellows and purples, while women like
softer shades,’’ Ferguson said. “Presentation is the point of Valentine’s Day.
That’s where the individuality comes in.’’

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