(credit: NORBERT MILLAUER/AFP/Getty Images)
While William Shakespeare wasn’t referring to flowers, he had it right, suggesting that, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Because the availability of flowers changes daily, the prettiest bouquet for Valentine’s Day needn’t necessarily be long-stemmed red roses. Perhaps you’ve noticed how the price tag associated with this particular petal rises astronomically on the thirteenth day of the second month. These North Bay florists can help you with a traditional Valentine’s Day selection or something else equally fragrant and rather different.
501 Petaluma Blvd N.
Petaluma, CA 94952
We cannot discuss North Bay florists without looking first at Petaluma, for obvious reasons. For a Valentine’s message that’s communicated powerfully in petals, check out Vanda Floral Design where Bryce runs a top-rated business. Yelpers, brides, mothers-of-the-bride and happy recipients from all walks of life ooze with flowery adjectives about Bryce’s vision and delivery. The shop reminds that Valentine’s Day is, of course, its single busiest day of the year. If you’re planning on red roses, order ahead. A week is not too soon. For non-traditionalists, Vanda is very happy to suggest fragrant options.
501 Magnolia Ave.
Larkspur, CA 94939
The owner is called Mark, but he doesn’t mark up his roses for Valentine’s Day. In 1993, Mark Pajer opened his tiny shop in downtown Larkspur. He’s now a fixture in the ‘hood, winning repeat customers one by one by exceeding expectations for service. “Our beautiful roses from Ecuador come in fresh on Valentine’s Day,” says Mark. “Besides roses, you can say ‘love’ in so many different ways; tulips are a top pick on the 14th.” Mark will produce gorgeous bursts of red roses with purples and violets, as radiant orchid is the 2014 color of the year. “You won’t find carnations here, ever,” he adds. This shop doesn’t farm orders out, so plan at least a few days ahead for Valentine’s Day.
Sausalito, CA 94965
For many years, this family-owned Bridgeway florist has adorned Sausalito with bright displays of fresh flowers outside the shop. For busy Valentine’s Day, the staff spends weeks in preparation. Its ”best advice” is to set a budget and order ahead, explaining that pre-payment is the way to go for Valentine’s Day, as the better wholesalers require it. Besides long-stemmed red roses, Nancy Ann suggests that gladiolas can make a big statement for large spaces and high ceilings. Alternatively, this shop will help with a delicate, sweet and fragrant hand-tied posy. Delivery can be arranged, too.
1414 4th Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
Longtime customers know that Burns Florist has been serving the community for more than 100 years. Burns Florist welcomed new owner Krista Kaplan two years ago, who brings vision and enthusiasm to the legendary location, one of Marin’s very first florists. “The phone rings off the hook on Valentine’s Day,” she says. “We’re prepared, but planning ahead is always best.” One or more special Valentine’s Day bouquets are featured on the website to get the ball rolling. Red roses and fragrant lilies in a red vase sporting a pretty ribbon is an undeniably popular choice for online orders or in-person purchases, according to Kaplan, who also runs Kaplan Florists online.
1508 Silverado Trail
Napa, CA 94559
Approach the white-shuttered premises and step into a dreamy shop in this charming interior cleverly kitted out with period and garden-inspired touches. It’s no surprise that sophisticated floral design emanates from here, as it has for more than 20 years. Talk to John about what you’d like your Valentine’s Day arrangement to look like, and even if you don’t know all of the names of the flowers you’re looking for, Beau Fleurs will sort it out to please. Some longtime clients call it six-star service. Beau delivers throughout Napa Valley, too.
Laurie JM Farr is a freelance writer covering all things in her adopted San Francisco. A dedicated urbanite, she’s a transplanted New Yorker by way of a couple of decades in London as a hotel sales and marketing manager. Follow her work on @ReferencePlease, USA Today, Yahoo! and on Examiner.com.