Valentine’s Day is traditionally a day of flowers and chocolates. Lovers shower loved ones with these staples of the season, but everything has been turned on its head this year. Many of us are working from home, depending on your situation finances might be tight, parents are trying to work and teach their children, and we all have struggled to carve out a space of our own within the walls of our homes.
Maybe this is the year to think outside the box on Valentine’s Day. While I love receiving fresh flowers, their beauty is fleeting and let’s face it, their production is often not the best for our environment.
Here are a couple of ideas for you, all available with contactless shopping and delivery right to your door (arranged from $ to $$$):
Floral jigsaw puzzles. If your Valentines is into puzzles, there is a plethora of beautiful puzzles in a range of challenges and some won’t take up the entire dining room table. I was particularly drawn to the double-sided 500 piece puzzle featuring the beautiful flowers from family-run Floret’s Farm in Washington’s Skagit Valley. You’ll earn extra points putting together the puzzle together. Available from Amazon, Etsy, Serious Puzzles, White Flower Farm and Zazza. ($)
Forced Flower Branches. For generations gardeners have cut branches from spring-flowering shrubs and trees to bring indoors to bloom gradually over several days. Branches are being used in all floral arrangements these days; it’s trendy and classy, adding height and contrast, but they can stand on their own as well. If your decor has a modern or oriental vibe, this is a novel, modern alternative to fresh flowers. Available from Oregon Coastal Flowers and White Flower Farm. ($-$$) If you have some flowering shrubs in your yard and the budget is tight, cut your own after reading this guide How to Force Spring Flowering of Trees and Shrubs (thespruce.com). ($)
House Plants. Who doesn’t like houseplants, or the fun of watching them grow? You choose the size that fits your budget and you also choose the container. A cute idea is to include a plant stake with a greeting. Some plants that are easy care include Peperomia, Philodendron, Snake Plant, Succulents, and ZZ Plant. Unless your love is a houseplant guru, stay away from Ficus, Fiddleleaf Fig, Maidenhair Ferns, or Orchids; don’t even think about growing a rose indoors. If you have pets that chew plants, check to make sure the one you choose is non-toxic. Available from Bloomscape, Lulu’s Garden, Plants.com, and The Sill. There is a wide range of pricing between these companies so shop around $-$$$. If you want the choices to made for you and have the bucks, order the “Three Months of Easy-Care Houseplants” from White Flower Farm ($$$).
Arrangements or wreaths made with dried plant materials. Designed and arranged using natural and preserved dried flowers. Floral arrangements and wreaths are intended for interior decoration, although there are some that are suitable for outdoor use. They add a special touch to a home, bringing warmth and color, and sometime fragrance. Most are attractive, affordable, have styles/colors to suit every decorating theme, and can last for years if kept out of direct sunlight and away from moisture. Available from Amazon, Balsam Hill, Etsy, Wayside, White Flower Farm and Wreath Depot. ($$-$$$)
Flowering Shrubs and Perennials to be planted in the garden. This is for the special person who is practical and loves to garden (offering to dig the hole goes a long way to happiness with this gift). Before shopping for plants, look at the garden to see if there are any holes and measure the area to be sure you are purchasing a plant that will not become a monster. Some suggestions include (dwarf varieties) of Buddleia and Oak Leaf Hydrangeas, Roses (yes, I think it’s time to bring roses back into the garden!), Snowball Viburnum, and anything grown as a standard (tree form) in a beautiful container for the patio ($$-$$$). Perennials are available in smaller containers and are less expensive; some that I would recommend as gifts are Dahlias, Hibiscus, Lilies, Peonies, or any other favorite flower of your love ($-$$). Of course, there are always Sedum dishes or containers of mixed flowers and plants which are always a nice gift to receive ($-$$). Sources should be local and delivered; give them a call, tell them what you want and trust the designer. Nurseries I like that include this service include Calloways, Covingtons, and NorthHaven Gardens
Bonsai. Bonsai is a Japanese tradition that dates back over a thousand years. It is an art form that through specialized trimming produces small trees that mimic full size trees in shape and scale. Prices can range from under $100 to thousands/millions for a well-trained, aged masterpiece. Keeping bonsai looking their best requires specific pruning and care (which may be considered a worthy challenge for an experienced gardener) but if your home décor even has a whiff of an oriental theme, the bonsai would be the centerpiece of a room. A nice accompaniment would be a book on care. Do a little research before you buy Growing and caring for a Bonsai tree - Bonsai Empire. Available from Brussels Bonsai, Eastern Leaf, and Plants.com; a local source is Sunshine Miniature Trees. ($$-$$$+)
Of course, if your love has been extra good this year, you have my permission to go all out and enroll her/him in a club and receive beautiful bouquets or plants every month (or every other month). Sources include Flower of the Month Club, Harry and David, ProFlowers, and White Flower Farm. I’m sure your local florist would gladly accommodate you as well. ($$$)
I hope I gave you some ideas for gifts for the special people in your life. Enjoy your Valentines Day!