Green Fingers…The Alan Titchmarsh Column - February/March 24
He’s a magnificent broadcaster, gifted gardener, brilliant author and all-round horticultural visionary. This month, Alan Titchmarsh talks about the best flowers – other than roses – for Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is a celebration decorated by crimson petals and sweet scents, often symbolised by the ever-present rose.
Yet, when it comes to our gardens, there is so much more out there that can raise the thoughts of romance. So while many folk end up starting and finishing with a rose, hopefully this year I can show you some other ideas.
First, let us pay homage to the tulip, a bloom that, in its elegance, speaks of perfect love. From purest whites through to deepest purples it really is quite beautiful. The Victorians knew well the majesty of this flower – a sign of undying love that exceeded the value of a humble rose many times over!
Elsewhere, many regard the orchid as a bloom of exotic beauty, mystique and delicacy… certainly the latter is true, and there probably isn’t one of us who hasn’t at some point panicked as this lithe, flimsy plant sways about in the footwell of the car on the way back from the garden centre!
Ultimately though, the orchid is a symbol of love, luxury and, believe it or not, strength. Its delicate appearance belies its resilience.
Let’s also not overlook the allure of the peony, with its lush, full-bodied blooms. It embodies romance and prosperity and is believed to bring good fortune and a happy marriage. A bouquet of peonies suggests a promise for abundant joy in the years to come.
And finally, for those with a fondness for tradition with a twist, the ranunculus (or buttercup as it is often better known) is an enchanting choice. With rose-like blossoms, ranunculuses are all about charisma and allure – a fine way to celebrate a day dedicated to affection.
The answer to what you should give to a loved one on Valentine’s Day though is, ultimately, anything! Even a sprig of lavender says that you thought of someone, made the effort, and offered a sincere token of appreciation.
A humble yet heart-warming daisy, or a solitary bluebell, does the same thing. The beauty of our gardens is such that they offer such variety and depth.
Ultimately, this Valentine’s Day, let your love show beyond the rose. Let the flower you choose be just the first step to a commitment every bit as great as the gardens and allotments and window boxes we tend to.
Look after your partner, look after your garden – and they will love you back!