passion & petals
V-Day is when petal power reigns in Hong Kong. Courtship game rules dictate that the relationship is wilting like a week-old bouquet or worse if your intended does not receive a bunch of blooms on February 14.
Florist Tiffany Yiu says: 'It is a day when flowers are absolutely essential in expressing your feelings.
'Office girls, particularly, like to show off their beau's affections with the flowers they receive on that day in the office, and there is always lots of envy.'
Ms Yiu, owner of Tiffany Flowers in SoHo, says the size of the bouquet is not all that counts. The flowers must also be the pick of the crop - as fresh as love's first kiss.
'Be careful what you choose,' cautions Ms Yiu, advising love-struck suitors in a budding relationship to play it safe. 'Presenting two dozen bright red roses to your new friend might scare her off as the shade symbolises passion,' she says. 'Since she is just getting to know you, it might be seen as too aggressive.'
Instead, Ms Yiu proposes roses in pastel shades or cheerful flowers like lilies, carnations, baby roses and daisies, with sprigs of tiny baby's breath.
The early bird catches the freshest blooms, too. 'Book early,' suggests Ms Yiu. 'Last-minute orders may cost you more, and the presentation can be hasty and less attractive.'
Tiffany Flowers will deliver bouquets worth more than HK$300. The shop is at G/F, 71 Peel Street, tel: 8203 5010.
The demand for flowers on Valentine's Day can lead to steep prices for some blooms. Roses that normally cost HK$6 to HK$8 per stalk have been known to soar to HK$20. You can opt for other flowers, but if your loved one is a diehard rose fan, then be prepared to pay ransom prices.
'It is the only day that flower wholesalers know business will be brisk and there will be a great demand for blooms,' explains Ms Yiu. 'Since demand dictates prices, people will find flowers more expensive on that day.'
Lovers who want to say it with flowers without the 'ouch' of painful prices should go early to their regular florists, or buy from established floral shops that have clout with wholesalers and can hold down prices.
Crystal Flower in Quarry Bay (Pan Hoi Street, tel: 2189 7266) says prices for bouquets will remain the same if bookings are made a week before Valentine's Day.
For those who care less about price than making an impression there is Armani Fiori in Central (Chater House, tel: 2532 7766). The florist arm of the new Giorgio Armani flagship store has created four bouquets for the romantic season that live up to the legendary designer's eye for refined elegance.
Each bouquet, featuring a selection of roses, calla lilies, tulips and hyacinth, will express your love for HK$1,200.
Another specialised floral store is Fiori Di Berge (Basement, Great Food Hall, Seibu, Pacific Place, tel: 2918 1812).
Slim wallets will find good Valentine's pickings among the flower vendors in the city's wet markets. Roses will probably still be more expensive than usual, but other flowers may be cheaper.
On Hong Kong Island, a favourite stall is in the wet market at the junction of Cochrane Street and Graham Street. The chatty owner is eager to improve his English and is always willing to throw in an extra stalk or two if you can convince him that you are coming back. There are several more flower stalls in Cochrane Street, Peel Street and Lan Kwai Fong.
If you are on the Kowloon side, head straight for the flower market in Prince Edward. The whole street is lined with wholesalers dealing in fresh blooms at attractive prices. The market is open from 7am to 7pm.