Flowers a Valentine challenge

HOW are you going to express your love this Valentines Day?

To help solve this dilemma, stores everywhere are gearing up with easy gift ideas and ways for lovers to embrace the special event.

Red roses are one of the most popular ways to show affection on Valentine's Day but for those who find themselves clueless when it comes to flowers, determining the best buy can be a challenge.

Director and part-owner of Pearsons Florist Barbara Pollak said buying from a professional florist, someone who was trained and passionate about flowers, was the best way to ensure a quality product.

Ms Pollak said a top rose should have a good-sized bloom, a high petal count and should be quite firm.

She compared picking out the perfect rose bud to selecting an avocado.

“With an avocado, if you get them really hard you never know if they will ripen properly. If they (roses) are picked too soon the buds will never open,” Ms Pollak explained.

She said when it came to roses, other things to be on the lookout for were bruising and, with the recent floods and humidity, mould.

“You get what you pay for. A quality florist or flower seller should have already done the hard work for you and picked out what is best.”

She said buying roses didn't need to be extravagant either.

“You're better off buying one high-quality, beautifully gift wrapped rose for $15 or $20 than a smaller, cheap bunch of roses,” Ms Pollack said.

Chocolates are another favourite expression of affection and this Valentine's Day, Australian-owned confectionery company Darrell Lea is going one step further to help spread the love, launching a new initiative.

Aussie cupids can visit the Darrell Lea website, and use the free online service to send a romantic e-card and anonymous message of love to surprise a lover or someone they secretly fancy.

For those who prefer to send a personalised message, cards are a great way to convey your feelings.

Hallmark senior brand manager Sarah Flint said a lot of research was done into how people celebrated Valentine's Day in order to generate a wide range of cards for the special occasion.

“We discovered that depending on the relationship stage, they (people) seek higher or lower levels of emotional connection in a Valentine's Day card,” Ms Flint said.

“For example, new lovers won't put pressure on their relationship with words like ‘I Love You', but long-term committed relationships will be comfortable using ‘forever' and ‘soul mate' and can get away with more humour.

“Hallmark's Valentine's Day range includes light to deep sentiments, serious and funny designs and even blanks for those who know exactly what to say.””

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