It is well documented these days that cut-flowers cause environmental harm when brought in from far flung places. Sourcing local flowers is a more sustainable option, but in the midst of winter it may be hard to find that eye-popping, kaleidoscopic, I love you so much, bunch you are after. Who would think that Plant Curator would endorse a flowerless Valentine’s Day, but bypassing floral bouquets does not mean a plant free Valentine’s. Below we list our top 5 alternative Valentine’s Day gifts. Plant or plant products star in each.
1. A commemorative bench
It is traditional to commemorate a special person with a bench after they have passed. How lovely to receive a wooden, hand crafted, sustainably sourced one whilst still alive! Then you and your partner can actually sit on it together and enjoy the view (which hopefully involves plants). You just have to decide what to put on the plaque – remember typos don’t make people feel good. But a loving statement that includes your name and theirs just might. Raw Garden, produces such benches from sustainable forests.
2. An original plant-related artwork
The Dutch still life flower painters of the 17th Century produced this style of artwork so their clients could have a permanent display of natural beauty on their walls all year round. Flowers flown in from Kenya were just not an option back then. A gift of a well-chosen original artwork is quite something, especially if you know your partner’s taste. For someone that loves plants, a plant focused subject may lower the risk of getting it wrong. Here is an example acrylic work from the online art seller Artfinder.com that Plant Curator likes.
Copyright Zena Cameron care of PlantFinder.com
3. Plants with loving names
A good idea would be to buy a garden plant with the same name as your lover. That really is a very thoughtful, romantic gift. However, women are much better represented in this area than men. With Iris, Laurel, Holly, Ivy and Rose to name but a few. Less plant genera are named after men, in fact, Plant Curator is hard pressed to think of one…. Alder? You do have a chance of finding cultivars which match. Just try using the online RHS Plant Finder as a search tool. For example, the plants Allium ‘Cristophii’ or Camellia x ‘Williamsii’ may be a good purchase for some. Another potentially successful search option is partner pet names, with ‘Big Daddy’ or Sweet Pea probably available at many a garden centre. Alternatively, you can find a plant name that outlines your feelings for your partner. Here are a few possibles below:
Or if you are thinking it’s all moving too fast….
Or if all else fails….
4. Snowdrop sculptures
Plant Curator recently saw these ironwork sculptures by artist Colleen du Pon in the garden of Mapperton House in Dorset. If she is willing to take further commissions, we think presenting one will make a striking and bold statement to someone you love. Any bunch of flowers will look rather humdrum in comparison. In addition, Snowdrops are definitely in season.
5. A bottle of Gin
For those of you who didn’t know, gin gets its flavour from Juniper berries, the female seed cone produced by the various species of Junipers. It is not a true berry but a cone with unusually fleshy and merged scales, which give it a berry-like appearance. Gin, is debatably, the best drink ever invented, and as a corollary, makes the best cocktail ever invented – a Martini. And if you want the best Valentine ever invented, have two of them with your partner. If you are going to give a bottle make sure it’s a good one. How do you know it’s a good one? Well first it has to cost more than £19.99 a litre. Fifty Pounds, London Dry Gin has a certain pedigree as is outline by the retailer Fortnum and Mason below:
“Fifty pounds gin is a grain spirit distilled four times is taken as the base, this means it is neutral, the botanicals are steeped in this alcohol for at least two days, after which time it will be distilled slowly in a hundred-year-old John Dore still (known as the Rolls Royce of stills). The master distiller subsequently throws away the ‘heads’ and ‘tails’ and saves just the ‘heart'; after this, the fundamental step of letting the liquid rest for at least three weeks takes place in order that the result combines together properly.”
Thirsty? Roll on friday.