ROMANTICS across Tamworth are gearing up for the most amorous day of the year – and so are the city’s florists, who have stepped it up a gear for Valentine’s Day.
Tens of thousands of roses – predominantly red, the traditional colour of true love and passion – have been delivered to the city’s florists and are being cut and prepared into arrangements for bouquets for tomorrow.
Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest days on the calendar for florists – only Mother’s Day is bigger for many of them.
Tamworth florist Aunty Jax alone had received 14,000 roses of various colours and sizes, as well as 61 cartons of assorted flowers, by yesterday.
It’s not just those beautiful red roses that are popular purchases for the hopeless romantics – lilies and gerberas are also choice picks.
“And anything purple just walks out – lisianthus, Singapore orchids, some of the lavender-coloured roses, purple carnations. It’s just such a fashionable colour,” Aunty Jax owner Brian Stevens said.
“We’ve got more pre-orders than we’ve ever had before.”
He said the store had also ordered almost 4000 teddy bears and a large number of chocolates for Valentine’s Day, with special combination packages of a dozen roses, a teddy bear and chocolates in big demand.
The shop has a team of eight delivery staff who will start work at 7am tomorrow and will likely be run off their feet all day.
“Yesterday the roses arrived, so they were all dressed and wired. Today we’ve just started doing all the arrangements and bouquets, ready to go out,” Mr Stevens said yesterday.
“The assorted flowers arrived last Friday, so we just work and get all the bouquets and everything done up.”
The shop has been making preparations for Valentine’s Day since November.
“We’ve now got two extra coolrooms in the front yard, as well as the ones in the shop, just to accommodate the flowers,” he said.
Tall Poppy manager Erin Wheatley said indications were it would be a very good Valentine’s Day this year.
“I’m seeing a big trend towards roses in particular, whereas previously it’s been more towards mixed bunches,” Mrs Wheatley said.
“I think possibly people aren’t watching the pennies quite as much this year – it’s more about romance and less about affordability and budgeting, which I think it has been (in recent years). I think people are being a little bit more optimistic this year.
“It seems people have got a little bit more romantic spirit this year. I think times have been a little bit tough ... but people are definitely seeing the brighter side now.”
Quirindi Florist owner Kerry Challenger said there had been “a lot of sales already”.
“We’ve got lots of roses and lots of varieties of flowers, because not everybody wants roses anymore. We’re getting new customers, too, which is good,” Mrs Challenger said.
For those who would prefer to spare their partner from the hassles of cooking dinner and cleaning up afterwards, some Tamworth restaurants are putting on special menus tomorrow.
A Gregory’s Restaurant spokeswoman said it was confident it would get decent Valentine’s Day numbers this year. Women will receive a bag of chocolates and an extra surprise on arrival.
“We’re definitely still taking bookings. We’ve got extra staff on and we’re opening up a large area, so there’ll be plenty of room in the restaurant,” she said.
“It’s one of our busiest days.”
Quality Hotel Powerhouse Tamworth group general manager Mary Ryan-Garnett said its popular Monty’s restaurant would likely be booked out tomorrow, but there were still reservations at The Workshop.
“Obviously people are still embracing Valentine’s Day. All in all, we’re very happy with the response,” Mrs Ryan-Garnett said.
“It’s a special day for us as well.
“What we’re doing is a lovely rose for the lady and a glass of champagne and handmade chocolates on arrival for our guests (in Monty’s). The Workshop will have a limited
a la carte menu, and ladies will receive a rose, a glass of sparkling wine and chocolates.”