Stuff that matters

Twelve red roses for a paramour on Valentine’s Day; a sunny bunch of “get well soon” flowers in a vase on a hospital bedside table; birthday bouquets; an apology orchid in a handcrafted pot. I love, love, love receiving flowers. But perhaps even more than those examples, I love receiving flowers apropos of absolutely nothing. No occasion. Just an out-of-the-blue gift of appreciation.

I like to do this with friends of mine – send flowers when I find myself thinking of them. Just to thank them for being in my life and making it better. I enjoy browsing online to find the right arrangements in the same way one might spend far too long scrolling through clothes websites.

Mostly I will order by phone, but if the message I want to send is a particular in-joke, semi-embarrassing out of context, I will order online to avoid the shame of dictating it to the florist. Occasionally, if I think a friend will understand the flowers are from me, I won’t leave a message. One time a bunch arrived for a friend with a card that had been mistakenly handwritten with: “No message.” Not long after, I received a bunch back, and she had specifically asked for the same to be written. It still makes us laugh.

There is something about having flowers in one’s home that lifts the spirits. The glorious, naturally fresh scent that aerosols could never compete with. Watching them flourish into their most beautiful selves. And all the while their presence reminds one of the sender.

For me, brighter is better. I love splashes of colour (in everything), which means fuchsia dahlias; peach peonies; purple tulips. Unnaturally produced as they may be, I will happily host a bunch of rainbow roses for Pride. Many people, I know, prefer muted, more mature, autumnal tones, but I’m afraid I think of that as a wasted opportunity.

I know the skill and craft it takes to be a florist, because I have a friend who is one. And I adore luxury flowers from the likes of Scarlet & Violet and the Flower Stand Chelsea. But I am equally likely to pick up a £5 bunch in a supermarket. They won’t last long, of course, and they always look as if they’ve had a brutal, stressful life, but better any flowers than no flowers.

So, any friends reading this – you know what to do. Otherwise, Ms Parkinson is saying she will buy the flowers herself.