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Home Blog Beyond Red Roses: Valentine’s Day Gift Guide
January 27th 2020

Beyond Red Roses: Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

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During the weeks and months we spent organizing, writing, and taking photos for our new book, A Year in Flowers, we knew a key factor in sharing its message about seasonal flowers was timing. So right from the start, we intentionally set our schedule for a release date just before Valentine’s Day.

It’s one of the most flower-focused giving holidays of the year, but the reality is that few U.S. flower farms have blooms this time of year unless they have heated greenhouses. Most are just starting to sow seeds for the season ahead.

Urn arrangementA quick Google search for “Valentine’s Day imported flowers” tells the story of where most holiday bouquets (some reports say 90%) come from. During the month before Valentine’s, the number of weekly cargo jets arriving in Miami from flower farms in Colombia and Ecuador climbs to the hundreds.

From Miami, millions of red roses and other flowers are shipped to warehouses across the country. In every truck and plane, from the time they leave South American farms, the flowers must be kept in refrigeration, which takes even more fuel.

There are other concerns, including the heavy use of plastic packaging. But we have to face the fact that the shipping alone, for this one holiday, creates a huge carbon footprint. The Environmental Protection Agency names transportation as the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

We need an alternative to the tradition of red roses.
Spring flowers arrangementOur hearts go out to florists across the country, who struggle with this complicated situation, and we want to help. We believe that only the exposure to the beautiful alternative of local, seasonal flowers will change consumer taste and shift this industry for the better.

A Year in Flowers shows what’s possible using local flowers in season. My goal for this book has been to promote the seasonal flower movement far and wide, and that means encouraging people to think outside the box when it comes to gift-giving for this winter holiday.

For Valentine’s Day, we offer some of our favorite gift ideas that support the shift to local, seasonal flowers.

Inside pages A Year in FlowersA Year in Flowers
Copies that are pre-ordered come with a bonus: a special 2-part video series, with a printable ingredient and supply list. In the videos, I take you into Floret’s fields to harvest flowers and then demonstrate how to make a beautiful hand-tied gift bouquet.

Even more importantly, your pre-order signals the significance of the seasonal flower movement. If this book becomes a bestseller, it will send a powerful message to the media, booksellers, and consumers that local flowers and the people who grow them matter.

There are many great bookseller options, including IndieBound.org, Barnes & Noble, and others. Please consider pre-ordering from booksellers beyond Amazon. You can think of your order as a gift to flower lovers everywhere.

Two books flatlayOf course, if the flower lover in your life doesn’t already have a copy of our first book, Cut Flower Garden, that’s a great place to start. It’s a guide that provides everything you need to grow, harvest, and arrange seasonal blooms.

Local flowers (in season)
Shower someone you love with locally grown blooms by supporting a local flower farm. To find flower farms in your region, check out Floret’s Farmer-Florist Collective. Many flower farms offer bouquet subscriptions, classes, and gift certificates. Some may have dried flowers, their earliest ranunculus, or in-season crops such as pussy willow for Valentine’s Day.

Sweet peas and seed packetsSeed collections
Make a gift of future flowers with seeds. Floret’s seed collections are selected for color and form, and once the flowers bloom, they are guaranteed to produce abundant material for bouquets all season long. Each collection is packed in a lovely gift tin. You can also keep it simple by combining individual seed packets with other gifts or tucking them into your Valentine’s Day cards with notes.

Sweet peas can be sown indoors right around Valentine’s Day for later planting in the garden. And you can’t go wrong with a packet of cosmos, which can be direct-sown in the garden when the weather warms up to produce armloads of flowers all summer.

Tool belts different colorsTool belts
Floret’s handmade leather tool belts were custom-designed for us by Wheeler Munroe of Wheeler Munroe Leather Co. in North Carolina. They come in several colors and both right- and left-handed versions.

These keepsake-quality belts have been a game-changer for us, keeping essential tools within reach without adding any extra weight or strain on the back. They have room for heavy-duty pruners and flower snips or scissors, a cell phone, a pen and pencil, and a rose stripper or hand towel.

Floret paper goodsPaper goods
A few of my favorite paper goods we’ve created with our publisher are the Cut Flower Garden Notebook Collection, the Garden Journal, and our Postcard Set. If you’re looking for a beautiful place to land your garden sketches, or you want to send a lovely flower greeting, these are a great place to start.

Seasonal vase arrangementI would love to hear your ideas for locally inspired Valentine’s Day gifts. What do you plan to give the flower lover in your life for this off-season holiday? Are there products you’d like to see offered that would support the shift toward seasonal flowers?

Please note: If you submit a comment and it doesn’t show up right away, sit tight; we have a spam filter that requires we approve most comments before they are published.

Lastly, if you find this information helpful, I would love it if you would share it with your friends.


  1. Petra Matthew on

    Gosh, you are so inspiring! After buying your first book I had the courage to put myself on a waitinglist for an allotment. Receiving in your newletter a while ago, you had some video’s with instructions for different things. And then….they disappeared! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we, your followers, could look on your site again and again and see your little video’s? We can learn so much from them. Thanks for being such an inspiration and good luck with the valentine’s book!
    Groetjes from Petra from Holland.

  2. Makiko Goto-Widerman on

    I used to live Sammamish over 25 years before. I was working for a year-bloom cutting garden. I took floral arrangement lessons at Dutch Master Florists’ flower school in Tokyo. I learned a British garden through translation of Royal Horticultural Society’s newsletters, and trips to England, Chelsea Flower Show. My young gardener told me not to use chemical pestisides. Instead, he recommended to bring in ladybirds to the garden. At that time nobody knows sustainability, or organic gardens. Spray chemical base pesticides was a common practice.

    I was simply happy to work as a dried flower arrangement designer at a tiny garden themed high-end gift shop, Grassroots at the Gilman Village in Issaquah.

    I moved to Southern California for a sunshine, and kept on improving my dried flower arrangements and Ikebana, a Japanese flower arrangement. I learned and enjoy growing Mediterranean native flowers in California, which bloom in winter. I made a cheerful spring color dried wreaths for Valentine’s Day arrangements with flowers, which bloom in the garden from January to February.

    Now I am missing Japanese delicate flowers. Cherry blossom and majority of Japanese flowers never grow in Southern California. Our family moved to SF Bay, and we are so lucky to find a current small cottage house, an original homestead by the creek. A run down old garden has oa heirloom applrs and pear trees. I observed wildflowers for last three years here in SF Bay area, and it inspired another good gift for a Valentine’s Day with fresh wildflowers.

    I wish to talk to you. My passion is ready to move forward.

    Makiko Floral Design Garden Club
    [email protected]

  3. Alicia on

    For well over a decade, all I ask for in the place of a bouquet of flowers, is a plant from my local hometown nursery to add to my garden. It’s a gift that keeps on giving! When I took the Floret online workshop, I insisted that my husband buy me flowers from a well established local flower farm who happened to be enrolled in the course with me.

  4. Amber on

    A hellebores plant would make me fall in love all over again with my valentine!

  5. Zoe on

    This year I gave myself a beautiful Hellebore- Pink Frost- sold at my local VA nursery from a propagator in PA. I have always asked for plants, bulbs or seeds as gifts for occasions when local flowers are seasonally scarce. This blooming beauty will grace my sitting porch until it’s time to plant outside.

  6. Sarah on

    Give the gift of a Flower CSA subscription for the coming season. Supports a local farmer and promises seasonal flowers to come! A win win!

  7. Eastern River Farm on

    Thank you, Erin, for all your hard work. You are paving the way to change on a global level, and we are just in our second year of flower farming in Maine, following the path you’ve laid before us.

  8. Lucy on

    Well, I have both your books on order and have already looked through the first one from our local library… it was inspiring and started me thinking more about flowering trees and foliage, not just flowers for interesting bouquets!
    I’m in the Southern Hemisphere and so have a garden blooming with roses in our summer which I’ll pick for Valentines Day… nothing like having your own garden 🌿
    I’ve also just received a parcel of seeds from you which I ordered and am excited about seeing the garden enriched with lovely blooms and colours 🌷🌼
    Your post is most interesting and I hope it moves others away from red roses grown in forced conditions… 🌿

  9. Anne on

    A basket of locally grown assorted primroses is the perfect Valentine here in WA.

  10. Alexandra on

    I just read this wonderful and thought provoking ‘Valentine’s Day blog’ ! I moved here from Australia with my Trinidadian husband and our almost 3 and 1 year old children to the USA (PA), found you on IG a few months ago and have been obsessively (in the non-scary way) following you since! I even purchased your book not long after which my daughter also reads most days! You’ve inspired me to start my own flower garden even though I have no idea what I’m doing! Ha! But your confidence in giving us beginners the knowledge to start has been soo inspiring! Soo thank you so much and keep up your wonderful work for all the world to enjoy! I can’t wait to put in my first Floret (of many I’m sure) seed order! Xx

  11. Danica on

    I asked my husband to order me bare root rose bushes instead of buying me flowers. That way I can enjoy roses from him for years to come

  12. Kaaren Poole on

    As far as products I’d love to see, that would be collage and/or scrapbook papers with you gorgeous flower photographs, and also a second selection of the notebooks with colors like the ones you’ve featured in this post. I just love the pastels!

    And thanks for the info about roses. I don’t often buy them, but now I definitely wouldn’t do it again!

  13. Carly on

    As someone who typically receives flowers, and is not a huge fan of the roses you can acquire at a flower shop, it always bothers me that Valentine’s Day is all about roses. Maybe it is just my experience, but it’s almost more difficult to convince our small town florist to provide something other than roses when ordering a bouquet this time of year, simply because it isn’t their norm? I think this year I might try to convince my husband to go trek into all the abandoned lots in our town and pick the daffodils that are starting to spring up here in Louisiana instead.

  14. Andrea Pearson on

    Camellias, why are they not offered this time year, especially here in Southeast? I gather from my own bushes all winter. Reds, pinks whites and some bicolor red and white, single and double flowers. Also, hellebores. The few I have are beautiful right now and I am exploring more varieties. Any suggestions?

  15. Ojai Flowers on

    Looking forward to reading your book! I’m in the Southern California area and our season for growing is really year around. So I feel that statement that the season doesn’t start that’s only for part of the country. I love our year round grow season here at @OjaiFlowers 🌞

  16. Alice Siebecker on

    I winter over my geraniums in my house and in mid January I fertilize them with a liquid fertilizer with higher phosphate. My pots of geraniums are 2-3 years old and its said that older geraniums tend to produce colossal blossoms and I would agree. They take up space though, but by mid February I have beautiful blossoms with long stems that I cut and arrange with evergreen foliage or houseplant foliage. The low light of winter makes the stems exceptionally long, and they last awhile in the vase. Love everybody’s comments.

  17. Christine Crighton on

    Truly, I feel there is a place for red roses from South America and carnations and alstromeria, and all the other imported flowers. Those people need to make a living same as we do. I also feel we seasonal flower growers at some point will begin exporting our flowers. It is like food. We all eat and we all need nourishment for our body, and for our ‘self.’ Flowers do things to us and for us and we really need them. We should use them more and encourage that. Can you envision ordering a bouquet with your meal at Burger King?

  18. Helene Carter on

    Forced flowering branches or bulbs could be done almost anywhere if planned ahead. Also, a visit to a local greenhouse should give lots of options for a live flowering plant that can be enjoyed right away, and as a house plant or planted out for continued enjoyment.

  19. Lynn Galloway, Mariposa Flower Farm on

    We are taking some of our remaining everlasting flowers (dried in 2019 in darkness, to preserve their color) and making “wreath-grams” to give to loved ones. Our Grams includes a mini wreath, valentine’s card – with your personal sentiments inside and it is all enclosed in a pretty red box.

  20. Deanna Petit-gas on

    I can’t wait to get my hands on your new book! My husband has already been tipped off that it’s the only ‘flowers’ I want this Valentine’s day.

  21. Krista on

    Janice, that’s my favorite thing to do too!

  22. Noreen Anderson on

    What do you use the D-ring for that’s located on the front of the tool belt?

  23. Erin Ehlers on

    The best local flower Valentine’ gift: pre-buying a local flower CSA! We start selling our farm’s flower subscription in early February. While the actual flowers are not even sown yet, the gift of 10 weeks of summer blooms is something dreamy to think about in the depth of winter.

  24. Janice on

    When I go our for my morning walk I often take a small pair of scissors and snip bits & pieces of greenery, twigs, even weeds, then when I get home I can make a lovely winter arrangement for on my table. Even when it’s cold and snowy outside mother nature provides so much beauty if we just look for it.

  25. Melissa Stewart on

    Thank you for this fantastic post! Not only is the carbon footprint of a dozen imported red roses incredibly expensive, when you put them next to a bouquet of locally grown, in season summer blooms—for me, there really is no comparison. The beauty, community, the intentionality of locally grown blooms far outweighs the convenience of getting those roses in time for the valentine holiday. I’m going to be reaching out to floral designer and flower loving friends and spreading the message. Thank you!

  26. Cathy Streett on

    So so true – give me seeds for future flowers and save the carbon footprint of non-seasonal, non- local flowers!

  27. Kirstin Kropilak on

    What a thoughtful, kind and informative article, to inspire us all to consider other flowers than red roses. Thank you! I’ve shared to Facebook. I’ve also ordered your new book and can’t wait to receive it. I loved helping the cause by posting picts on social media with #ayearinflowers.

  28. Kathleen Koehrsen on

    Love these ideas – for sweet peas can I grow them and leave them in pots?

  29. Dorothy Drake on

    I will often do forsythia branches as well as starting red amaryllis bulbs to bloom at Valentine’s Day. (In western ny)…

  30. Lexi on

    Wow, I never even thought about Valentine’s Day flowers not being local. Thank you for showing me something I should have thought more about. I love learning new things! Great food for thought (and change)

  31. Sarah Daken on

    I’ve been waiting for your message of seasonality and the environmental costs of imports to hit the airwaves. We can’t change this industry without education first. Your reach is expansive and influential so I hope you continue to shout out about local flowers again and again! Thank you!


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