Our lives are filled to the brim with love: enduring love for our family, sweet love for our friends and mushy-gushy love for our main squeeze. So why is it that we secretly loathe Valentine’s Day, yet feel obliged to perform the dozen-red-roses song and dance each year? Perhaps it’s not the holiday that wreaks of contrivance, but rather our creativity.
I say we take the cookie-cutter Valentine’s Day that Hallmark has shoved down our throats and refashion it into an extraordinary occasion, worthy of those with whom we share our lives. Be gone mass-produced box of chocolates! And take your boring under-the-lid map with you.
Of course, plants and flowers should be a part of our new day-of-love celebration. They go hand in hand. But think outside of the grocery-store box. Why not arrange a bouquet of botanical treasures from your own yard--or that of your nice neighbor’s? Spring-blooming bulbs, like snowdrops, daffodils, and hyacinth are up and begging to become part of your master plan. Don’t forget dried flower heads and seed pods, too. They add excellent contrast and structure.
Nothing speaks of love and longevity more than gifting a tree. Plant a tree, in a pot or in the earth, for your honey and you’ll be saying more than words can ever say--even with the help of your “Poetry For Dummies” handbook. Choose a tree that produces juicy fruit, like a peach or fig tree, and you’ll earn extra points. That’s sexy.
I think the best gifts include a bit of anticipation. And where does mother nature stash her anticipation? In her seeds, of course. A packet of flower seeds drips with both romance and anticipation--a gift-giving home run. (In fact, the use of the modern-day heart shape and its representation of love derived from the heart-shaped seeds of the Silphium plant. Long extinct now, the Egyptians used this plant, among other things, as a contraceptive, and eventually its seed became a standard symbol of sexuality and romantic love.)
And, if receiving a gift of seeds isn’t sweet enough, many flowers’ names double as love notes, like California poppy “Rosa Romantica’, poppy ‘Falling in Love’, amaranth ‘Love-lies-bleeding’, Love-in-a-puff (her black seeds sport tiny white hearts), primrose ‘Viennese Waltz’, kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate, bleeding heart, sweet peas and forget-me-not. Consider, even, creating a love garden where love-themed plants are added each year.
Remember, presentation is everything. So, if you find gifting your loved one with a selection of seeds or naked tree is underwhelming, a companion gift will fill the gap. Include a lovely vase or plant pot. Or, look for a representation of your plant from vintage seed catalogs. Etsy.com is teaming with finds like these and, if you act quickly, could mail it to you in time for the big day.
Geez, all this talk about love and romance has gotten me in the mood.
To garden, that is.
About this column: Like dirt? So does Toni Senory. After years of digging in gardens, she still marvels at nature. She shares her experiences and insights with us every week.