Roses are red, violets are blue. Valentine’s Day is coming, and flowers say “I love you.”
Bouquets filled with fresh, delicate flowers will fill homes and offices with the enchanting aroma of love Tuesday, Feb. 14, with help from neighborhood florists.
Bellingham is home to several florists. In the heart of the Fairhaven district, two neighbors work together to provide customers beautiful blooms.
Rebecca’s Flower Shoppe and A Lot of Flowers are located a few doors down from each other on Harris Avenue. Both essentially offer the same product, yet each adds their own flare to offer customers a special product.
“Everything we do we try to make really unique and customized to the recipient,” owner of Rebecca’s Flower Shoppe, Rebecca Wiswell said.
Valentine’s Day is notoriously the busiest day of the year for those in the floral industry, but the day of the week plays a factor, Wiswell said. When the holiday falls on a weekend, flower sales fall. This is most likely due to couples sending flowers to each other’s workplace, Wiswell said. She believes there is some competition at play among coworkers.
Competition is not a factor between the florists, as both shops reported neighborly relationships with each other. The main concern of the florists is customer satisfaction. Both shops work hard to make sure the vision of buyer is carried out.
“We’re friends with all the other flower shops in town. If we don’t have something that a customer wants, we’ll send them next door,” said Penny Ferguson, owner of A Lot of Flowers.
The most popular request on Valentine’s Day, aside from roses, ranges from lilies, tulips and gerbera daisies, to freesia, spray roses and alstroemeria. Both Wiswell and Ferguson do not offer set Valentine’s Day arrangements in order to preserve originality among the orders. They offer red rose arrangements, but encourage customers to look beyond that staple gift.
“We love what we do, and we hope that it reflects in our work.”
“We try to let people know that we [carry flowers] that are a bit more interesting that they might not have considered, and the recipient might love,” Wiswell said. “Some of the more tropical and more unusual things that are well received, but not often considered.”
There is an alternative to the typical bouquet ordering process. Customers can make their own bouquets at home and deliver the beautiful blooms in person. Starting with a fresh, quality flower is the first step, Wiswell said. After that, it’s a matter of putting the stems together.
A lot of Flowers is a market style florist, and encourages customers to come in and put together their own customized bouquets.
“We have lots of walk-in customers that like to make their own bouquets and do the whole thing on their own.We just wrap it for them,” Ferguson said. “Some people want a little help, so we will go back and help them choose stems that work well together.”
Despite the mix of arrangements offered, some customers will stick to the standard red roses. Rebecca’s Flower Shoppe has been open for nearly 17 years, and Wiswell’s largest order was made entirely up of roses. Sixty stems to be exact.
“It was pretty monstrous, pretty heavy and pretty awkward to deliver, but it was spectacular,” Wiswell said.
Aside from Wiswell’s mass rose order, weather has had a memorable impact on her and Ferguson. Behind the scenes, Valentine’s Day is a production for those in the floral industry and it’s not all rosy when the snow threatens delivery.
“We hope that this is the end of the snow,” Wiswell said. “We don’t want to see [a snow storm] happening then.”
No matter what route the customer chooses, the passion that these florists have is evident.
“We love what we do, and we hope that it reflects in our work,” Wiswell said.