Flowers or chocolates?

Rosa 'Munstead Wood' (2)This week marks the start of flower-buying season, with Valentine’s, followed by Mother’s Day.

I find it difficult to decide which I love more in life, flowers or chocolate.

Dark chocolate is my weakness.  Currently I am favouring Green & Black’s Maya Gold, but I’m open to suggestions. Stephen and I are sharing a Hotel Chocolate subscription, so every month we get this:

Note there are two of each, so perfect for sharing, if you love someone enough.  If not, by all means hide them somewhere safe and enjoy them alone, in your pyjamas, with a glass of wine.

Flowers give more lasting pleasure, and are the more virtuous choice.

This is a little plea from me, to buy local flowers this Valentine’s and Mother’s Day.  In the UK we notch up a hideous number of air-miles from importing flowers that could (and are) grown locally.  Support our local growers!

My advice to any romantics out there is to ditch the obvious.  Don’t buy a dozen red roses this year.  They generally have stunted blooms, without scent, and if I’m being harsh, are utterly without charm.  That’s because they’ve been bred to travel well, rather than for beauty.  They are picked too young, and so the buds rarely open fully, and are over before the week is out.

Instead, check out locally grown blooms.  You will find something that is altogether more sensual and scented, has a looser, devil-may-care attitude, and will impress with its unique natural beauty.

Your local florist might be able to help you, or go to this website to search your locally-grown flower suppliers:

I would be inclined to choose tulips. I love parrot tulips and Rembrandt tulips especially.

For something longer-lasting, go for a potted hyacinth, or iris reticulata.  Or daffodils from These are all ideal for Mothers’ Day.

Even longer lasting, why not buy the plants themselves?

It is not too late to buy a bare-root rose or peony!

My romantic choice would be the David Austin English roses ‘Munstead Wood’ (deepest crimson-plum, pictured below).

Rosa 'Munstead Wood' buds unfurling

For peonies, you can’t beat the deliciously fragrant ‘Duchess de Nemours’ (white with a hint of lime, pictured below).  This is a tough old peony: it will live for fifty years in less-than-ideal conditions.  Pretty good going for a long-term commitment. For something more whimsical, try ‘Gay Paree’, which is cream with swirls of pink.

Peony 'Duchess de Nemours'

Or try buying wildflower plugs, and plant a love-meadow!

Let your carefully manicured lawn grow wild and shaggy!  Open up to the sensory delights of lying in a wildflower meadow, gazing up at a blue sky whilst bees buzz and flowers waver around your ears. By letting your lawn grow, you will increase biodiversity and beneficial insects in your garden.  I would then add plug plants (which is less faff than preparing a seed-bed for an annual meadow).  Plant yellow rattle to weaken the grass, along with a mix of native wildflower species.  You can choose your own selection at either of these sites:

I would go for field scabious, knapweed, meadow cranesbill, selfheal, meadowsweet and ox-eye daisy in a sunny spot.  For semi-shaded areas, try primroses, foxgloves, creeping jenny, wild strawberries and germander speedwell.  For moist areas, plant snowdrops, cowslips, purple loosestrife and ragged robin.

Or buy seeds, and let love grow.

Annuals can be grown in a large container, raised bed, or in-and-amongst in the flower border. They just need sun.

My choices would be Cosmos ‘Purity’ or ‘Double Click Cranberries’, Nicotiana ‘Lime Green’, Lathyrus odoratus (sweet pea) ‘Blue Velvet’, ‘Edward of York’ or ‘Painted Lady’ (pictured below), and maybe some Bells of Ireland thrown in.  These are all perfect for beginners, and this selection would blend beautifully in a bed, container or vase.

Lathyrus odoratus 'Edward of York'

I would love to know your thoughts on buying flowers or plants as gifts.  If you have a particular person, occasion or situation in mind, do drop me a line in the comments box, and I am happy to wrack my brain to try to come up with a unique gift for a loved one!

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Winnie says:

    I always give my mom and mother-in-law plants with flowers in them on Valentine’s day. They appreciate it more. And if you will ask me, I would like to have a bouquet of roses and chocolates on Valentine’s day. I know the bouquet is not practical but it’s only once in a year that I expect it 😊.


  2. Ali says:

    That sounds lovely, and you deserve your bouquet! Xxx


  3. Wonderful post, and so much information for us to take away with us.. Love the chocolates. ( I am trying to be good after Christmas excess lol ) But if I had this box of chocolates, they wouldn’t last long 🙂

    As for gifts for flowers, I like to give those which will last a while.. And Enjoy giving bulbs such as Hyacinths and miniature daffodils in pots. My Son usually gifts me some potted plants which still thrive year after year.

    Have a wonderful Valentines Day Ali And Mothers Day to come March. 🙂


    1. Ali says:

      Thanks so much, Sue! Bulbs are the best gift, aren’t they? Clever son. Xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 They are, My own bulbs are just beginning to poke their heads up now.. Though we awoke to having had a sprinkle of snow again today.. The weather is very up and down right now.. And can not wait for Spring to see colour back in the garden..
        We planted some shallots in pots and seeds of cabbages and Broccoli in trays to germinate in the green house.. But the ground is solid in the allotments.. 😀
        I hope you have got used to me commenting via my main blog logo.. As you followed my Gardening blog, but I do not get updates of replies if I use it as its my secondary blog.. So if ever you want my garden blog its on my main blog ride side bar and click the photo of me in the garden.. 😀 Sorry for any confusion.. 🙂


  4. annpappas says:

    I love chocolates but if I had to choose between chocolates and plants, I would choose plants, not including bouquets – I’d rather have something more permanent. Supermarkets sell the most beautiful potted orchids these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ali says:

      We are building a little collection of orchids. Every window seems to have one!


  5. bcparkison says:

    Flowers are always “just the thing”


  6. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and good advice here!


  7. Ali says:

    It’s my pleasure, Shelly. X


  8. Jill Kuhn says:

    Your flower photos are a delight to my senses!! 💕❤️ I enjoyed seeing all these beauties and hearing which ones you like best – and I love the names of some of these flowers. My hubby ususally buys me a local bouquet of flowers with lots of color which I so love! You know how much I love color! 🌈💕 I’d love to draw and paint some of your flowers some time if you give me permission. 🌹


    1. Ali says:

      Thank you, I am delighted you liked the post. I love flower names too – there’s a post brewing about that, I think! Yes, I would be honoured for you to paint my flowers! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jill Kuhn says:

        Thanks so much!! I will tell others about your lovely blog when I do! ❤️🌸🌹


  9. Nichola says:

    I have to say since getting into gardening I’ve always requested that I’m gifted an actual plant or to just get me a gardening voucher. Giving it roses etc is lovely but I’d rather a lovely bunch of countryside inspired flowers although I’m quite partial to a bit of dark chocolate too 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love chocolate, and I love flowers. But, a gift certificate to my local plant nursery would really hit the spot. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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