The Botany of Desire

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and flower shops across the country are gearing up for the annual mad scramble of Casanovas looking to land a bouquet of red roses. But why not play it smart this year, gents, and get your gal a gift that’s a little more thoughtful and a lot less cliché?

Say It With Flowers

Roses aren’t the only bouquet you can give to a woman to demonstrate your love. Floriography is a Victorian-era language of flowers, attaching meaning to nearly every bloom and bud under the sun. For instance, forget-me-nots symbolize true love, while an orange lilly stands for desire. And a lime blossom? Well, a lime blossom means you are looking to, ahem, get a little action tonight.

Figure out what you want to say to your beloved, and then do a little research. Not only will your gift be an improvement on the standard rose, but you’ll also have a backstory to give her. She’ll be sure to thank you for your thoughtfulness, maybe even with a lime blossom in return.

Fruit Trees

A bouquet of cut flowers is certainly a romantic gesture, but it will wither and die in a matter of days. If you really want to prove that your love is enduring, why not purchase a tree that will bear fruit for years to come? In warmer parts of the county, mid-February is fine time to plant an apple tree. Even if you live in a chillier region, you can keep a potted sapling going in the house or garage until the final frost has passed in the spring.

If you’re too impatient to plant a sapling and wait a few years for it to bear fruit, go with an indoor citrus tree. Sometimes these miniature versions of full-sized lemon, orange and lime trees come with fruit already on the branches. And if you treat the tree right, giving it ample light and plenty of water, it will produce fruit for years to come.

The Birds and the Bees

Since Valentine’s Day is really all about the birds and the bees, why not give her birds and bees?

For instance, you can purchase a handsome handmade birdhouse or birdbath from Etsy, an online shop that allows artisans to hawk their wares. Not only will you be giving a one-of-a-kind gift, but you’ll be buying directly from a budding entrepreneur, which is a great way to help out a small business in this tough economy.

To lure the bees to your doorstep, give the gift of seeds or potted flowers, which will long outlast any bouquet. Do a little digging around (or maybe just ask her mother) to find out which are her favorites.

Whatever you get for her, the key is to be creative and show that you put some thought into the gift. And if you end up saving a little money by skipping those overpriced roses, all the better for you.