Be a bold ro­man­tic

Roses are red, vi­o­lets are blue, but take the time to come up with some­thing dif­fer­ent to give your Valen­tine this year and they’re sure to love you

Irish Sunday Mirror - - GARDENING CLUB - with DAVID DOMONEY

How about do­ing some­thing a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent this Valen­tine’s Day? I know red roses and choco­lates are lovely, but they can also get a bit tired year af­ter year.

And with plenty of beau­ti­ful – and very ro­man­tic – plants out there with which to show your af­fec­tion, a lit­tle orig­i­nal­ity can go a long way.

In fact, roses are a rel­a­tively re­cent tra­di­tion. At one time, sin­gle women would place a bay leaf at each corner of their pil­low on the eve of Valen­tine’s Day, and one in the mid­dle to bring dreams of fu­ture hus­bands.

Th­ese days, bay leaves might not be ro­man­tic enough – so try some of my other sug­ges­tions…

In Den­mark, the Valen­tine’s Day tra­di­tion is to give snow­drops rather than roses.

Loved ones press the flow­ers and ex­change them in notes or cards along with an anony­mous mes­sage or rhyme. Snow­drops are abun­dant in Ire­land at this time of year so why not give it a go?

Sun­flow­ers are a sure­fire way to bring a smile to any­one’s face.

Yel­low sym­bol­ises warmth and hap­pi­ness, so th­ese can make a great al­ter­na­tive if you want some­thing bright and cheer­ing – buy them ei­ther as a bou­quet, or in a pot for the win­dow sill.

If you’re look­ing for some­thing a lit­tle more ex­otic, or­chids are an­other win­ner, and have be­come a pop­u­lar plant to give for Valen­tine’s.

They are stun­ning to look at, and make great house­plants that will last for ages on a bright win­dow sill. Just be care­ful not to over-wa­ter them.

Peonies are also a mar­vel­lous op­tion… and they en­joy that same clas­sic feel as a rose. They come in a wide range of colours and have al­ways been one of my favourites.

The species Ra­nun­cu­lus is per­fect for Valen­tine’s – shaped a bit like a rose, it is won­der­fully intricate.

For el­e­gance, calla lilies look great in a mixed bou­quet and re­ally stand out from the crowd.

If you’re look­ing for im­pact, give th­ese to your loved one on Valen­tine’s, as the bold, trum­pet­like blooms are truly eye-catch­ing and come in vi­brant colours.

A more tra­di­tional flower that gets over­looked on Valen­tine’s is the beau­ti­ful tulip – and who doesn’t love those? They are one of the world’s most pop­u­lar flow­ers for a rea­son. You can buy tulips in deep pur­ples and reds that are sim­ply per­fect as a pledge of love. They still

A more tra­di­tional flower of­ten ig­nored is the beau­ti­ful tulip

have the same im­pact and beauty as roses, but aren’t such an ob­vi­ous choice – which makes them a lit­tle spe­cial, to my mind at least.

If your phi­los­o­phy is “go big or go home”, here’s the big ges­ture – buy a tree you can plant to­gether to watch grow over the years as a sym­bol of your love. A cherry tree is a per­fect choice.

They are fa­mous for their stun­ning spring blos­som, bring­ing ro­mance and beauty to your gar­den ev­ery year. You don’t need acres of space or lots of gar­den­ing know-how, ei­ther. Lots of trees come in bush or dwarf sizes, so you can even grow them in con­tain­ers on your pa­tio or bal­cony.

There’s some­thing won­der­fully per­ma­nent about plant­ing a tree – it’s a lovely thing to do to com­mem­o­rate any spe­cial oc­ca­sion.

The cherry tree va­ri­ety “Sun­burst” will also bring a glut of deep pur­ple sweet cher­ries which you and your loved one can en­joy in­dulging in through­out the sum­mer.

It is a self-fer­tile va­ri­ety, so you won’t need to worry about cross-pol­li­nat­ing with an­other tree. Sim­ply pop in a sunny spot in your gar­den, and en­joy watch­ing it grow with your part­ner for decades to come.

What­ever op­tion you go for this Valen­tine’s Day, think out­side the box and your loved one is sure to ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­fort – leav­ing you to sit back and watch your love bloom. Lit­er­ally.

DANE SUPREME Snow­drops are a Den­mark tra­di­tion

LABOUR OF LOVE Grow your own rose

RAYS A SMILE Bright yel­low sun­flower is sure to de­light LOVE BLOS­SOMS Plant a cheery tree

PEONIES ENVY

It’s like a rose, but bet­ter

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