Snapshot: Preparing bouquets for Valentine's Day

Snapshot: Preparing bouquets for Valentine's Day
Mavis, Wyn and Deborah, Mountains of Flowers, Mount Tamborine
A big, burly bloke over six feet in height in shorts and boots stands at the counter waiting for his order as the three florists at Mountains of Flowers put the final touches on tomorrow's offering behind a workbench laden with cellophane, ribbon and stem cuttings. 

The shop is a hive of activity on Valentine's Day Eve, as one would expect, with Mavis, Wyn and Deborah, who owns the business with husband Alan, all on deck to finalise arrangements. 

"Originally, you'd only by a rose if you wanted to be accepted by somebody or loved by somebody – you were asking them to be your Valentine," says Wyn from behind a dozen elegant red roses, the most popular order for the day. "It wasn't for anyone who was already in a relationship or married."

But thanks to the Chinese whispers effect and tactical marketing, the married men will come, spending between $5 and $500 on their ladies (and some ladies on their men). Phone orders and online orders via InterFlora and Petals from customers started coming in a fortnight ago.

It takes a year to prepare for Valentine's Day, though the orders for flowers, sourced from the markets in Brisbane, were put in over a month ago. Some are Australian grown and others come from as far afield as South America, South Africa and Korea. 

Pre-orders account for 50 per cent of orders on the day. "We get a lot of walk-ins on Valentine's Day and the day before," says Wyn. "But a lot of them get in early and order."

While Mother's Day is on par with Valentine's Day in terms of shop traffic, February 14 is frantic. A florist of some 16 years, whose parents had their own orchards, Wyn says the work can be intensely hard and requires constant attention. 

It's a nurturing profession; the flowers need careful care – trimming back old stems and replacing the water daily to keep things fresh. Just like our relationships, don't you think?

Girl With a Satchel