Brighten up her day with the right bouquet

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 May, 2007, 12:00am

Flowers are very much a part of Mother's Day. They look nice, smell nice and add life to the home. Chief florist of The Peninsula Hong Kong, Ellie Kam, offers some tips on choosing blooms that will make the day extra special.

Which flowers are most popular? Carnations are the traditional choice, but now some people want alternatives that are more prestigious. Peonies are in season and, for the Chinese, they symbolise prosperity. Orchids are also popular - either cymbidium or phalaenopsis.

Some choose phalaenopsis because they are potted and available all year round, whereas potted cymbidium is only available during Lunar New Year.

Amaryllis is popular because the flowers are big and they last for a week. Roses are popular because they are feminine and mix well with lilies and orchids.

What makes up a nice bouquet? The most important thing to consider is what the recipient wants. Some might want carnations because that is the festive theme. If the person ordering does not really know what his or her mother prefers I would ask what kind of clothes the mother likes to wear, whether she wears subtle colours, or if she is a suit person. That is usually a good indicator.

What would you choose for mothers who defy age, want to turn heads and be seductive? Exotic and tropical flowers, something untraditional. It could be pincushion flowers [teasel], or red ginger flowers [alpinia purpurata, also called ostrich plume or pink cone ginger], which have a strong character and are not for everyone. But they are exotic and impressive.

What would be the choice for the mother who is classic, elegant and always poised? Calla lilies or peonies mixed with cream roses. I would go for more pastel colours.

How about the understated homemaker who is always giving? Carnations, because they are traditional, with some roses and lilies. Carnations and lilies are lasting flowers. There are carnations from Japan, which are sharper in colour and have bigger blooms. They are much more expensive, but the difference is very noticeable.