Fresh-cut flowers are an age-old gift for many occasions. Simple, elegant, and beautiful, flowers and floral arrangements express love, friendship, congratulations, sympathy, and thanks.
Here are some ideas of where to go to purchase flowers as gifts with meaning.
Best for: The cost-conscious, last-minute shopper
Supermarkets, variety stores, and some pharmacies have limited selections of flowers, usually near the front of the store. This makes it easy to pick up a nice gift as you’re doing your weekly shopping or on the way to a party.
While the most exotic flowers usually aren’t available in supermarkets, fine collections of sturdy, common varieties are. Sometimes there is a specialist in the floral department to help customers create bouquets; other stores leave it to you to select the flower(s) you would like; still others offer pre-gathered, well-balanced bouquets for on-the-go shoppers. Bouquets come wrapped in cellophane or paper, and often you can request such a wrapping, and even a ribbon, if you are putting together your own arrangement.
Tips and tricks:
Look for flowers that look fresh or even those that are still in bud form. This will mean that the recipient can enjoy them for the longest amount of time.
Choose a variety of colors (consider the season and the recipient’s favourites); textures; and sizes of flowers for an interesting bouquet. Most supermarkets have a choice of leafy branches or small yellow or white flowers. These make great flowers to fill out your arrangement.
Getting an odd number of large flowers generally makes a more visually appealing arrangement.
Best for: High quality, personalized bouquets
For special occasions, and for a treat for your senses, visit a florist shop in your town. You’ll get personalized and expert help from trained florists to choose from among a large selection of flowers and presentation options. Florists can also give you instructions for care of the flowers to make sure they last as long as possible, including packets of nutrients to add to the flowers’ water. You’ll pay a bit more for the quality and service you’ll get at a florist shop compared to the supermarket.
You can also order with a local florist by phone or online if you can’t make it into the shop. Most florists have local delivery options the same-day or within a few days, including gift cards and special delivery instructions.
Tips and tricks:
If there is a specific flower you’re looking for, call at least 24 hours to make sure they will have it for you.
You can give the florist parameters to work within, including a price range or limit, general size of bouquet, color palate, occasion, etc. Florists love a challenge to let their artistry and expertise shine.
If you are ordering flowers for someone who doesn’t live in your town, find a florist local to them and order through them.
Best for: Eco-conscious, flexible style
Farmers markets may not come to mind immediately when shopping for flowers, but they are gems for finding wholesome, local, seasonal flowers. Many farmers who bring fruits and vegetables to market supplement their incomes by selling flowers, too. Their flowers get the same eco-friendly care that their other produce do, including limited chemicals and travel miles. Farmers will often grow native plants, which benefit native wildlife, air, water, and soil!
If you’re already a regular farmers market shopper, keep your eyes out for farms that have flowers available. If you aren’t, find a weekly farmers market near you and check it out when you’d like to give flowers in the coming couple of days. If you end up loving farmers market flowers, ask around to find farmers who do regular deliveries of flowers on a subscription basis (often called “Community-Supported Agriculture,” or CSA.) You could have fresh flowers every week!
Tips and tricks:
Inquire with the farmers about edible flowers that could be included in your bouquet.
Get to know the farmers at the market and indicate your interest in flowers. They can give you a hint of what’s coming next in the season.
Best for: Green thumbs, DIY
If you need another reason to garden at home, or to expand one you already have, consider planting a flower garden so you always (or, at least, most of the year) have DIY floral bouquets at your fingertips. Growing your own flowers takes more time and effort than going to a shop, but the benefits are many.
To get started, you’ll need to assess the amount of sun you get in your yard and choose flowers accordingly. Then you’ll make a choice about growing from seeds, seedlings, or full plants. You can grow flowers in pots or directly in the soil. If you’re just starting out, a good nursery or garden shop can advise you on all these choices and give you the tools and materials you’ll need.
Tips and tricks:
Native flowers (that is, flowers that grow naturally in your region) are best for native wildlife and the health of your local, natural area. They will also be healthiest; require less watering and nutrients; and will be more resistant to bugs and other pests.
To make bouquets from your home-grown flowers, you can use plain brown paper or wrapping paper with ribbon that you already have at home. If you have an extra vase, arrange your flowers in that and gift it with the flowers.
Wherever you go to find flowers as gifts, the most important thing is to select flowers with intention and care - and with your recipient in mind.