How To Say It With Flowers This Mother’s Day – The Florists’ Guide
Consider this a timely reminder: Mother’s Day (in the US, at least) falls this Sunday, 9 May, and if you haven’t made arrangements already, there’s no time like the present. Speaking of presents, is there any better way of showing your affection than with flowers?
While buying a bouquet for this special occasion has certainly been done before, the appeal of a beautiful bunch of blooms is just as fresh as it ever was. In fact, the past few years have seen floristry flourish as sustainability has become a more prominent focus, and a wave of new, innovative and independent brands have freshened up the industry. Combined, this means there are more stylish and planet-friendly options out there to choose from and make your mom smile. Plus, when you put your heart and soul into picking a bouquet that she’ll really love, a bunch of flowers is one of the most thoughtful and personal gifts that you can buy.
However, if you’re feeling a little clueless on how to pick out a bouquet that ticks all the boxes, don’t worry. Just consider this your fool’s guide to buying the perfect flowers for a mother like no other. We’ve enlisted the expertise of florists from all corners of the industry – including an eco-friendly collective and celebrity floral stylist – to arm you with an easy checklist to get it right.
Top tips include checking what’s in season, avoiding cheap filler flowers, always using your local florist and remembering to tell them what your mom is like – you’ll get the best service if they know more about her, so don’t be shy.
Dodge dated blooms and pick something contemporary
“It can be easy to just go for what you already know, but nothing says I love you like a unique gift, and there’s an easy way to do that with flowers,” says Ms Rosie Conroy, florist and founder of Lavender and Rose. “Instead of plumping up your bouquet with obvious choices or cheap filler foliage, go for something more unusual. Show your mom you’ve taken the time to think about trends by picking something up-and-coming in the style stakes.
“While there’s nothing wrong with good old roses, I’d recommend butterfly ranunculus because they’re gorgeous and have a good vase life. Plus, they come in loads of colours, so you can tailor them to your mom’s taste.
“You might not have considered going for a single stem bunch of the same variety before, but this clean-cut look is very in. They’re also a doddle to arrange once your mom gets them home, too. Other statement flowers that are having a moment include dramatic Icelandic poppies and big clouds of scented lilac.”
Be mindful of sustainability
“The flower industry has been guilty of unsustainable practises in the past, and it’s still a problem today,” say Mses Jess Geissendorfer, Olivia Wilson and Lulu Cox, co-founders of SSAW Collective. “So, it’s really important to do what you can to be as eco-friendly as possible when choosing a bouquet – something we’re sure your mom would approve of.
“Easy ways to do this are to buy from a local florist and enquire where they got the flowers from – was it a local farm or grower, or have they been imported? You should also pick flowers that are in season in your state or country so that you know they haven’t had far to go. In June and July, peonies and roses are beautiful and plentiful, so these are a good choice.
“Also, look for florists who are plastic-free, who don’t use floral foam to hold the flowers in place and have carbon-neutral delivery options. Ordering flowers already made up in a vase is a good way of reducing packaging and ensures that your present will look its best back at home as the flowers will be designed specially to fit the vessel.”
Start with colour and take it from there
“When gifting a bouquet the most important consideration is always the recipient,” says Mr John Hackett, CEO of Arena Flowers. “Does your mother or mother figure have a favourite flower or a strong colour preference? Surprisingly few flower types are available in the full spectrum, so picking a variety first may help to determine the palette.
“Alternatively, by selecting the colour first, you will narrow the array of flowers available. As long as you pause to consider your recipient there really is no right or wrong way to approach this and you’ll be well on your way to expressing gratitude in a more thoughtful way than most.
“Once you’ve established the base colour, things get really interesting... Minimalist or maximalist? Bold combinations reminiscent of Ambrosius Bosschaert and the old masters or monochromatic simplicity? Tight clusters of roses tied in a Dutch style or wilder arrangements that appear to have been freshly gathered from the garden? Personally, I’d recommend peonies: the most stunning seasonal blooms of the season, they never disappoint.”
Think about the person first, flowers second
“It’s easy to walk into a florist and feel overwhelmed by the choice of colour, scent and styles,” says Mr Larry Walshe, celebrity London designer and founder of luxury online florist, Bloom. “But don’t freeze – instead, ignore what’s in front of you and think about the person you’re buying for.
“Ask yourself some questions: What were the last flowers you saw them buy – are there any varieties they don’t like? Where in the home do they usually position flowers and what is the decor like in this area? What are your mom’s favourite colours? Pick a flower that will go with her interiors and suits her style – if you’re struggling, describe your mom to the florist and let them help.
“And, if you’re buying for someone who is time-poor and has been known to kill a plant or two, think about selecting flowers that require very little attention. Some of my favourites include peonies, hydrangeas, orchids and roses as they are stylish, picturesque and last for a while, without lots of treatment.”
Pick flowers with a sentimental association
“To me, flowers are extremely personal, and it is not only their visual beauty that leads people to appreciate them, but also their connection to memories and recollections,” says luxury florist Mr Ronny Colbie. “Before you go to a florist, think about any moments you’ve shared with your mom that might relate to flowers.
“Scent is a really special way to approach this: for example, does her perfume remind you of a particular flower? Or, have you ever been to a garden or event together that reminds you of good times with memories that could be evoked by the right floral arrangement? I work with clients to think about holidays they might have been on that could be represented in a bouquet and name my arrangements after unforgettable locations to help people with this.
“Finally, make sure she knows how much thought you’ve put into your choice by writing a note with a reference to the memory you’re thinking of.”
Don’t discount dried flowers
“Dried flowers and grasses have been one of the biggest floral trends over the past few years, so if your mom isn’t a fan of big, gushy bouquets, a dried arrangement has a cooler edge,” says Ms Phoebe Mulrooney, floral stylist and founder of Phohm. “I specialise in everlasting bouquets and they make excellent gifts because, as the name states, they really do last forever. This appeals to both the gift giver and the receiver as you know the flowers will become a permanent fixture they can enjoy for years rather than days.
“Dried flowers most typically come in earthy shades and I suggest working with a pared-back feel and opting for wheat stems, pampas grass, cotton stems and bunny tails. They look great in a bouquet but also as a wreath, which is one of my favourite arrangements and is a little bit different.”
Don’t buy into marketing
“Don’t let marketing tell you which flowers suit a certain occasion,” says Ms Lana Elie, founder of Floom. “Make up your own mind on what your mom would like and, ideally, create something bespoke for her. The idea that red roses need to be sent on Valentine’s Day or carnations are for Mother’s Day was just created by big companies to sell more bouquets, so feel free to be more experimental with your gifting. Be confident being different, it’ll pay off.
“While all flowers have their own meanings, many people have their own unique relationships with different varieties. So, buy what you know the recipient loves, and if you don’t know, buy something seasonal. This will ensure the colours really pop and the flowers are at their freshest and smell their best.”
Illustration by Ms Jeannie Phan