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Valentine's Day blossoms with gift options

Flowers and other traditional items are keeping merchants busy, but many people look for gifts with a personal touch.

By MICHELLE JONES

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 12, 2001


LAND O'LAKES -- The song Everythings coming up Roses is certainly appropriate at this time of the year -- with roses being the flower of choice.

With prices ranging from $14.99 to $79.95 for a dozen, they can be fitted into just about anyone's budget this Valentine's Day.

"But what (people) really want is to be remembered by the other person," said Jeannie Bromley, a Land O'Lakes resident and owner of A&J Automotive.

She and her husband are planning a trip together.

"No work, no volunteering," she said.

Just about everywhere you look, you see red, including hearts, jewelry, boxes of chocolate and roses.

Pat Martinez, owner of Country Garden Flowers on Collier Parkway in Land O'Lakes, advises customers to order early.

Her roses sell for $65 a dozen, either boxed or arranged, and for another dollar, a designer perfume vial will be added to the bouquet. The vials of Armani, Chanel or Liz Claiborne perfume are called Sweet Scentsations.

Martinez said she hopes to go out to dinner for Valentine's Day.

"I know I'm not getting flowers," she said.

Another person who is not getting flowers is the wife of one of Kiefer Village Jewels' owners, J.R. Harrelson.

"I bought a 14-karat gold ferret charm, and I am putting rubies in it for her," said Harrelson, who along with his wife has six of the animals. "I think gifts are best when they are personal."

He said he sells a lot of diamonds at this time of the year at his Dade City store.

"Everything is hearts and diamond solitaires," Harrelson said.

He said that men aren't the only ones buying gifts for Valentine's Day.

"Women are buying anniversary bands, with diamonds in them, for their husbands," he said. "Especially those who have been married awhile."

Michele Hall, manager of Alle Florist on U.S. 41 in Lutz, says men can earn points when they send flowers to their sweethearts' workplaces.

"Women calling in for flowers have increased," she said. "They usually stick a balloon on their arrangements to embarrass the men, especially if they think they aren't getting any flowers (themselves)."

She said she has kept her arrangements at $79.95 a dozen for the past few years.

At Tiger Lilli's Florist in the Turtle Lakes Plaza on State Road 54, Lisa Sanford, the designer, said she is swamped with orders. Her rose arrangements sell for $55 or $65 a dozen.

"This year, roses are coming in better than in 20 years," she said. "The weather patterns must be getting in sync with the roses."

Sanford said she is hoping for chocolates, diamonds, flowers or lingerie from her husband, David.

"I got him a heart-shaped box of chocolates, with the chocolates made into the shape of tools," she said. "If I get chocolates, I told him it better be a Whitman tin; I don't want the box."

John Hill at Big John's Produce Stand on State Road 54 in Land O'Lakes said he doesn't have to worry about buying anything for his sweetheart.

"I don't have one," he said. "I just worry for everyone else's."

His roses will sell for $14.99 a dozen or $18.99 a dozen in a vase.

For those who don't like flowers or are allergic, there are other options, including naming a star after the one you love; red, heart-shaped candles; soap; or wreaths. There are even whimsical socks and T-shirts featuring hearts of many colors. A singing Valentine with a card, a box of chocolates and a red rose can be purchased by calling (888) 755-7464. The cost is $50.

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