Say it with flowers

 Doves, apples, hearts, and linked chains are traditional symbols of love worldwide. Here in Cayman practical sailors returning from foreign shores brought perfume for their sweethearts, but probably nothing shouts love and passion more in a gift than red roses.

The red rose has long associations with love.

It all started, as it usually does, with the Greeks. In Greek mythology, the red rose was created from a mixture of the tears of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and the blood of her lover Adonis. One of the greatest lovers in history, Cleopatra knew how to make a first impression. She had her living quarters filled with the petals of roses on her first meeting with Marc Antony, knowing he would be overwhelmed with the image of her amongst thousands of petals and reminded of her every time he smelt a rose.

It is a scene probably played out countless times in bedrooms around the world, though perhaps not matching the extravagance a Cleopatra could muster. Roses apparently can also play a part if you are trying to choose between lovers. If you take two rose leaves, write the names of your lovers upon them and then throw them up in the air, the last leaf to reach the ground is the name of the one you should marry.

You also have to be careful who you give red roses to. Because they signify love, passion and desire, be sure that is what you mean and want.

Top bouquets

Karina Briguera at Celebrations says that the twelve Ruby Red roses arranged in a vase is still the most popular choice for a Valentine’s Day bouquet. One gentleman visitor last year almost equalled Cleopatra when he ordered 144 red roses to be sent to his girlfriend’s hotel room. It took two men to deliver the bouquet.

Down among the flowers

One of the big changes in bouquets has probably been the gift package. Nowadays you don’t just get the flowers; you can add champagne, chocolates balloons, in fact anything you think your loved one will desire. Some customers come in with their own gifts which they want as part of the floral display. Karen says last year a gentleman came in with a pair of designer shoes and wanted them as part of a display.

“One of our designers then created a custom display with the designer shoes suspended in a tall martini glass and arranged an exquisite floral arrangement around it.”

The lucky girl was of course blown away by the design and the shoes.

Sharon Kirkman, manager of the floral department at Every Bloomin’ Thing, also sees requests for gifts to be added to displays – things like pants and tickling sticks.

Floral designers are willing to add to designs but remember they are the experts and there are some beautiful choices out there

Celebrations’ One Love, One Heart Valentines gift collection includes Turn the Lights Down Low, an elegant arrangement of 18 long-stemmed red roses with graceful white Calla lilies, anthuriums, orchids, a bottle of champagne with champagne flutes and a box of chocolates… all arranged in a large chic Champagne saucer shaped vase. For a more Caribbean touch there is the One Love, One Heart collection containing A Bob Marley CD, peanuts, dominoes, distinctive lucky bamboos, a red rose and a couple of golden yellow Calla lilies and a 6-pack of Red Stripe. What more could any girl or man wish for!

Flowers for men

And what about men – is it ok to send them flowers?

“Ten years ago or even 5 years ago,” Karina says, “it would have been relatively unheard of to send flowers to men.” Today she says “it’s not uncommon to see men going to spa for facial or a manicure. Next to these kinds of things, flowers for men seem downright quaint.”

But if there is a pack of dominoes and Red Stripe in there it’s OK guys, it’s manly.

Sharon also says girls should buy flowers for their men. She started arrangements for men last year after realising there was not so much choice for them and their bamboo and Appleton design and fish design proved a big hit. In the flower world roses symbolise love, whether there is a Cayman equivalent no one knows. Sharon says that she notices the boys at Every Bloomin’ Thing will bring in Plumeria for girls they like, but whether it has any cultural significance or is just a very pretty flower, she is not sure.

Numbers count

Remember, numbers count. One red rose signifies devotion and love

One dozen is a declaration of love and appreciation.

Two dozen says ‘I belong to you’ or ‘thinking of you 24 hours a day’, three dozen says ‘Head over heels in love’ or ‘I cherish our relationship’. Above that number means you have loads of disposable income.

Roses by another colour

* Yellow roses indicate friendship and freedom –so don’t send them if you’re intentions are romantic unless they are Texan.

* Pink roses connote grace and gratitude.

* Deep pink roses say thank you.

* Lilac roses indicate the sender has fallen in love at first sight and is enchanted.

* White roses symbolise truth and innocence.

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