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Experts advise different gifts for Valentine's Day
Lillies, tulips and fresh flowers and plants can last longer than cut red roses
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A gift package at Occasions Florist in downtown Gainesville includes an Anthurium, left, and a Bromeliad plant.

Occasions Florist

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: 100 Washington St., Gainesville

More info: www.occasionsbyjohnandtroy.com; 678-943-8776

Corner Cottage

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Main Street Market, 118 Main St. SW, Gainesville

More info: www.embroideryshopgainesvillega.com; 678-897-4594

Habitat for Humanity

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Where: 2285 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville

More info: www.habitathallcounty.org/the-restore; 770-718-1070

Flowers are among the most popular gift choices for Valentine’s Day each year. Roses fill vases and ribbons are tied, but the beauty of these plants lasts only a few weeks at best.

However, many other gift options featuring flowers or including decorations are available. Plus, they would last for months or even years as they adorn yards and walls.

For a special someone who doesn’t enjoy roses or prefers a flower that will weather time, orchids can be a good bouquet option.

“They last three to four months, which is great given that they are a fresh, live plant,” said Carol Slaughter, co-owner of Occasions Florist in Gainesville.

Flowers don’t always have to go in a vase to be a great gift, though. Vibrant red and pink blooms can be gifted in a pot or planted as a memorable addition to any garden.

“For outside, you could give pink azalea plants, pots of red or pink tulips or hydrangea plants,” Slaughter said.

In fact, tulips have been one of the most popular flower choices this Valentine’s Day. They are as easy to transfer from a pot to the soil as they are to put in a vase.

Other trendy flowers for the occasion include stargazer lilies, red gerber daisies and pink hyacinth. Mixed vases are also big sellers for the florist.

Helen Loggins of Corner Cottage in the Main Street Market mentioned a lasting plant is more valuable to her.

“I would want flowers to plant, something that would last,” she said. “I like Lenten roses. They’re even blooming right now.”

Loggins also mentioned a variety of new decor items that can double as displays for flower arrangements, such as lanterns or birdcages. But those items can also contain other gifts.

“The birdcage is the new gift basket,” she said. “It (can have) a lotion or a candle in it, and you can use it out in the yard in the summer.”

Corner Cottage also sells embroidered items, wreaths, table runners, picture frames and other home decor pieces, which can be special Valentine’s Day gifts. Monograms are especially popular this year.

“The big metal letters are always a big seller,” Loggins said. “We also have votive lanterns that can hang outdoors.”

For those who prefer a thriftier option, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore has an array of Valentine’s-themed items along with crystal glasses, cookbooks with chocolate recipes and other furnishings.

“We have things like a personal coffeemaker, heart-shaped vases or champagne glasses,” Habitat for Humanity President Ann Nixon said. “We want to encourage people to come see what we have. If you don’t eat it or wear it, we probably sell it.”

Nixon noted finding home and garden gifts from ReStore gives both to someone special and to the organization.

“We take what we have and make the most of it, and we will make something out of every donation,” she said. “There are things here that people may not consider for a gift because of the cost, but they’re more affordable here.”

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