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A rose by any other name... can be better

WHEN you hand your lady flowers on Valentine’s Day this year, she’ll be swooningly happy. But if you have been insufficiently creative, a little part of her will roll her eyes – roses are nice, but perhaps just a little bit too clichéd. Frankly, you can do better. Therefore we got florist to the stars, Rob Van Helden (the Beckhams, Elton John and Pierce Brosnan are customers), to give us five of his favourite romantic flowers – all of which are a little out of the ordinary, and all the more lovely for that.

1. BLACK BACCARAT ROSE
“If you’re looking for mystery and drama this Valentine’s Day there’s no better place to start than the Black Baccarat rose. It’s a truly luscious and opulent flower. With its delicate, silky petals and striking crimson and black tones, it’s the very definition of smouldering romance and mystery. If it’s unabashed luxury you’re looking for you cannot go wrong with this astonishing flower. Buy at least a dozen, and add bursts of green foliage sparingly to set them off.”

2. LILY OF THE VALLEY
“I have always thought of the Lily of the Valley as the caviar of flowers. Much more refined and subtle than many of the popular Valentine’s Day choices, Lily of the Valley is typified by its delicacy and purity of form and size. This flower could be the perfect place to start if you’re after exclusivity and pure quality.”

3. PAPERWHITES
“This flower should be commended for its subtlety and simplicity of shape. The fragrance that they will produce over the course of many days is utterly intoxicating. The white flowers spring to life in bunches at the top of each stem, making a very playful and joyous form. If you’re tired of the doom and gloom, the snow and wind, the cold and rain, gather a very large bunch of these together in a vase and you will instantly be reminded of the freshness and warmth of the forthcoming Spring. Add flowers with a bold colour – red, orange or purple perhaps - for a more adventurous look.”

4. AN ABUNDANCE OF TULIPS
“I feel that the tulip is one of the most under-rated flowers in the UK. This might be partly due to the fact that they are still a relatively affordable flower. But surely this is a good thing? In fact, I struggle to think of an alternative that offers the same value for money. It’s fascinating to watch them continue to grow and change shape in the vase. They seem to have a mind of their own, and this freedom of spirit is one of the things I like best about them. Parrot tulips also make for an interesting alternative to the standard form. Whichever you choose, just make sure you buy an abundance!”

5. HYACINTHS
“Named after a beautiful youth loved by the god Apollo, there is almost a sense of dramatic tragedy about this most elegant flower. But don’t let that put you off using it for Valentine’s Day, because the fragrance produced by this vibrant beauty is enough to lift even the most sorry of spirits. It’s available in an almost endless range of colours, from a shocking deep purple through to gentler pastel tones, but it’s the aroma that makes this flower an ideal romantic choice.”

Rob Van Helden is an artisan for BOKKS London – luxury gifting service. For more information go to BOKKS.com or visit the store at 29 Davies Street, W1K 4LW.