My husband is notoriously crap at knowing which flowers I like. Don't get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful and lucky that he buys me flowers at all, but it's a bit of a standing joke that he simply has no capacity to remember which go down well and which don't. You'd think after fifteen years he'd have developed a vague inkling, but no.
So, as it's my birthday next week and I'm in the hint-dropping business these days, here is my Flower Buying Tutorial for Beginners:
First of all, you can't go wrong with big, blousey peonies. They're always a winner and they never fail to look beautiful. They're structured and ephemeral all at once. They're as good solo as they are in a group and when they're over, their petals fade and fall pleasingly into instagram-friendly piles.
However, their season is all too fleeting. So in my humble opinion, wives who like peonies (ie. me) also like tulips, freesias, daffodils, stocks, wild posies filled with greens, greys and white, ranunculus (thanks Zoe!), unstructured bunches wrapped in brown paper and the occasional lily, as long as they're not orange or yellow. Because they suck.
And whilst we're on a roll, those same wives (me again) intensely dislike irises, miniature orange roses and those big spiky flowers that look like light fittings. They are also generally suspicious of expensive-looking bouquets that are padded out with soggy, thick-stemmed foliage, most mixed bouquets and anything wrapped in orange, yellow or pink tissue paper then swathed in metres of cellophane.
And carnations should never be bought. Ever.