Melanie McDonagh

It’s not all roses: 6 alternative Valentine’s Day gifts

Save roses until they're in season – and try these options instead

  • From Spectator Life
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We can blame Robbie Burns. That line about my love being like a red, red rose didn’t actually specify Valentine’s Day, but it has meant that 14 February is forever associated with roses at a time of year when they’re not in bloom. Not here anyway, which means that all the red roses around are from far-flung places. Plus they’re not really scented. No. Hold the red roses. Keep them for June and send them for midsummer or something.

Here are six suggestions for Valentine’s gifts that don’t entail actual roses. And on the whole, let’s steer clear of pink, shall we? The usual line up of pink items for Valentine’s, from bears with hearts on their paws to hear-shaped chocolates, can be a bit yuck. And since we’re all struggling to make ends meet, I’m including thrifty options. But if you add a bottle of champagne to any of these, so much the better.

  • Flowers that Do Not Include Roses. The obvious option at this time of year is of course bulb flowers – tulips, narcissi, daffs, hyacinths – which are simply lovely, or flowering shrubs and hellebores. They’re far prettier than long-stem roses and practically every supermarket has a mixed bunch. May I just say that for most women, having a bouquet delivered to your place of work is terrifically gratifying. Two options: M&S Springtime February Fabulous Flower Bouquet – a bit of a mouthful for a very pretty (all right, pink) selection of hyacinths, tulips and stocks, £25. Or the Real Flower Company does a lovely bouquet of narcissi, tulips, anemones and herbs, from £56 for a posy.
  • Chocolates (obviously). My joint favourite chocolatier (with Paul A. Young) is William Curley, whose caramels and truffles are heavenly. For Valentine’s, you could go for his new heart-shaped passionfruit caramels, or simply a heart-shaped

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