Petal power: West London florists prepare for Valentine’s Day

How did flowers become such a universal symbol of love? Our Patch asked some of Hammersmith’s busiest creative florists what Valentine’s Day means to them.

Approximately 198 million roses are sold worldwide at this time each year and florists across the borough are working around the clock in the run-up to February 14th to ensure that West London residents feel extra loved this Valentine’s Day.

Saint Valentine was often depicted with a wreath of flowers around his head, which could be why flowers are the most popular choice for lovers. Lynfa Jenkin and Alicia Tennant of Little Lake Flowers, Hammersmith, are passionate about all kinds of blooms and are keen to encourage customers not to shun other varieties and colours in favour of the most popular choice:

“Flowers are just beautiful to be around,” says Lynfa “They’re constantly surprising. I’m not a massive red rose fan. Valentine’s Day is on the same day all over the world and demand goes up. This means the price goes up about five times for us… I’d rather have something different, where more thought has been put into it. Our alternative bouquet is made up of beautiful dusty pink roses in foliage.”

Red roses continue to be the most traditional offering, and their popularity dates back to the Victorian era, where they were viewed as a symbol of passion. White roses celebrated innocence, orange roses desire, and peach roses gratitude.

Whilst florists are happy to embrace the challenges that come with Valentine’s Day each year, they admit there is a lot of hard graft and guess work involved, which can leave them feeling less than romantic, themselves, by the time it’s all over.

Andrea Periera of Rushes, King Street, stocks 150 different types of flower in her shop.

“I don’t know any florist who goes home on Valentine’s Day looking forward to anything romantic; you’re too tired. You get bombarded and you have to take a guess on everything you need – you never know how many orders you’re going to get.”

Florists are also quick to emphasise that floral Valentine’s gestures don’t always have to be grand. Less can sometimes be more. Traditionally, a single red rose means ‘you are the one’, but 15 or more in a bouquet could raise suspicion and indicate that you have something to feel guilty about.

To read the full article in Our Patch, click here.