Bloom basics

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, sending flowers is pretty much a fail-proof approach to wooing your sweetie. So, why mess with tradition? We had a chance to talk to the folks at Strange’s to get some advice on picking the perfect arrangement for your sweetie.

Full disclosure: Strange’s is a sponsor of RVANews. However, as usual, we wouldn’t feature them if we didn’t like what they do.

Sure, it’s a bit expected, but when it comes to Valentine’s Day, sending flowers is pretty much a fail-proof approach to wooing your sweetie. So, why mess with tradition?

But once you make the decision to go with flowers, what do you choose? What if you end up sending an arrangement that has some underlying, hostile message that will ruin your chances forever? What if your love is so special it can’t be expressed with standard blooms?

Or the more likely scenario: What if you’re broke like everyone else?

We had a chance to sit down with Brandy Drahms, sales manager of Strange’s Florist, Greenhouse and Garden Center, to get some tips on how to choose the perfect arrangement for this Valentine’s Day, no matter your situation.

For those of you not familiar with Strange’s, they represent the kind of business that Richmond loves: family-owned, in the game for over 70 years (now with four locations), and dedicated to providing top-notch customer service.

They also take their Valentine’s Day preparation very seriously.

“It’s almost like going to war, believe it or not, “ says Drahms, laughing. “The preparation of it, the planning – it usually takes us a good two solid months to prepare.”

That makes sense, considering Strange’s sees such a huge increase in business around Valentine’s Day that they require help from local police officers to direct customer traffic. They also take on temporary staff and run their full- and part-time employees to the extreme to handle the influx of orders.

“We get here at around 7 [in the morning] and just stay until it’s done,” Drahms adds.

And even with the economy struggling as much as it is, Drahms explains, “Valentine’s Day is still Valentine’s Day. It’s the most dependable holiday for us.”


Drahms confirms that the red rose is still the most popular choice come February 14, thanks to the message of “love” and “passion” it conveys. But should you choose to branch out from the classic red, pay close attention what sentiments other roses traditionally send. Depending on who you ask, each rose color can have a variety of connotations, but here’s what Drahms says the colors typically represent (with some suggestions from us as to who should get them):

Pink: Appreciation
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to just be about your significant other. Show Mom and Grandma some love, too!

Yellow: Friendship, joy
These are perfect for a gal pal who has proven to be particularly wonderful and supportive.

Lavender: Love at first sight
Ready to bite the bullet and put yourself out there? Send the object of your affection a bouquet of these babies and you’re all set.

Coral or orange: Desire
A dozen of these would be hard to ignore. Talk about a bold statement!

White: Purity, secrecy
The ideal choice if you’re in a new relationship and taking things slow… or if you’ve found yourself in the role of “Secret Admirer.” (I also wonder how many dads are *really* hoping their daughters get a bouquet of these come the 14th instead of, say, orange.)

Black: End of a romance
Tread carefully with these. While popular due to their dramatic appearance, they traditionally signify that things are about to fizzle out.

Drahms points out, however, that when it comes sending roses, it’s most important to note your loved one’s preferences.

When in doubt, “It’s always best to go with a favorite color, if you know what it is. It shows that you’ve been paying attention,” she says.

Of course, there’s no denying that some ladies are just over roses, particularly by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around. If that’s the case, Drahms suggests trying daisies (said to represent innocence), gardenias (a passionate secret), tulips (joy and new beginnings), or hibiscus blooms (an exotic love). A dish garden packed with ferns and exotic flowers also makes a great statement and helps you stand out from the pack.

If longevity is what you’re going for, Drahms is a big advocate of investing a little.

“I think the orchids are awesome. Anything that’s tropical is a bigger bang for your buck. Yes, a bird of paradise is more expensive, but it will last longer for her.”


Potted plants (including those featuring tulip and daffodil bulbs) are also a great choice. “She enjoys the flowers when she gets them, repots or replants them, and can enjoy them next year,” says Drahms.

Now to the inevitable question: What if you can’t afford to send the traditional dozen roses or an exotic bloom?

Drahms suggests going for a signature arrangement that reflects your relationship.

“We see a lot people sending a number [of flowers] based on the years they’ve been married or the number of children — one pink, two blue…”

As far as specific price points available, Strange’s offers several options ranging from around $10 to well over $100. A simple bud vase is under $9, while a wrapped bouquet (available with a variety of flowers) usually falls in the ballpark of $15 to $20. Their standard dozen roses runs at $57.50, with the two dozen version costing you just over $100. You can see their current Valentine’s floral selection on the Strange’s website. Or if you’re still uncertain about what you want to send, don’t hesitate to call for a little guidance. After all, it’s what they do.

As Drahms puts it, “We like to say that we help spread the love to the Richmond area.”

For more information on Strange’s products and pricing, stop by their website at or call Drahms and her team at 804-321-2200. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter. For flowers to be delivered on Valentine’s Day, make sure you place your order by the morning of February 14 at the latest!

  • error

    Report an error

Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

There are 3 reader comments. Read them.