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Gerberas and Freesia from Gramercy Park Florist

Valentine's Day is life in fast-forward for every florist. I spoke with the people at Gramercy Park Florist (more on them next week), who have been in business to see over 100 Valentine's Days come and go.

Here are the tips they gave:

1. Order early, at least 24 hours (2-3 days ahead is ideal). Flowers are arriving and being spoken for well before the 14th. Early orders will always get the most consideration for arranging and delivery.

2. Gramercy's day starts at 4:00. With a doorman building your orders will be on a truck by 5:30 and to the door by 7:30 a.m. This is the advantage of ordering early so the florist can prepare yours for this initial delivery.

3.Give as much information as possible. You may know your girlfriend's address and how to get in, but the delivery guys appreciate anything extra to help guide them. Cross streets are great. Extra phone numbers or a neighbor's name and number, etc; all good. Think if someone is not home - can someone take the flowers in?

4. Post 9/11, security is much tighter in office buldings. Florists have to hand their arrangements over to central messengering services and have no control after that point. So make sure you have the correct office name, floor number and any secondary office contact information you can get.

5. Glen, a stylist at Gramercy, says that they can see up to 25,000 roses fly out the door on the 14th. You can show up at 5:00 on your way home and they'll be sold out. So always be open to options if you run to the florist after work - and be ready to think outside the box.

Dutch tulips were one suggestion that Glen had. They are in season, are a good buy, last long, and have a great impact when a bunch of 30 or so are put in a vase.

I grabbed a few pink Gerberas and Freesia (above), and love them. Gramercy also had beautiful, languid French Tulips, and their cut hyacinths were fragrant. Long stems of amaryllis and lillies towered above. I cannot imagine anyone not enjoying any of these options as an expression of love.

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matt at apartmenttherapy dot com

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.

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