Everything's coming up roses
As a double celebration of love approaches, an army of florists are preparing for the big day.
This year's Valentine's Day is special because it falls on the same day as the Chinese Valentine's Day, the Yuan Xiao festival. But it may not translate to more business for the flower shops.
Mr Royston Low, 55, managing director of Katong Flower Shop, said: "It does not really boost our sales because most people do not celebrate the Chinese Valentine's Day anyway."
Miss Lim Li-Sha, 18, who is an assistant at Florale Galerie at Raffles Place, said: "Usually some people do buy flowers for both Yuan Xiao and Valentine's Day.
"However, because this year both occasions happen to be on the same day, most buyers just place a single order."
But it's still a big season for roses.
At FarEastFlora.com, the annual season of love is the busiest sales season, with more than 40,000 rose stalks sold.
With 80 per cent of sales on Valentine's Day involving roses, the classic flower is still the chart topper.
Ms See Pei San, general manager of FarEastFlora.com, said 60 per cent of rose purchases are for the timeless red roses while another 20 per cent are for their light pink counterparts.
Flowers are usually imported from China. But after a huge snow storm last October affected their quality, Ms See, 39, got them from other large rose suppliers in Holland, India and South Africa this time.
With over 4,000 bouquet orders, FarEastFlora.com started preparations last week.
The roses are stored in a cold room at 5 deg C and are only removed to be wrapped upon request. They are then returned to the room to ensure freshness.
This year, Ms See has even expanded the range of colours of the roses flown in from Ecuador.
"The Ecuadorian rose stem is taller than the usual rose stem. The rose heads are also about 20-30 per cent larger, which make them even more attractive," she said.
FloristJulie Chan, 50, is in her ninth year of bouquet-wrapping and is tasked with the bouquets involving Ecuadorian roses because of her experience.
For Miss Lim, the most alluring flower she has on sale is the black rose.
Unlike other roses, this flower comes naturally in a darker shade of scarlet and thus, appears to be black.
When asked if Florale Galerie receives big orders for huge bouquets on Valentine's Day, Miss Lim said: "We do have orders for very large bouquets but they are not usually for Valentine's Day as flowers are more expensive during this season.
"People seem to be more willing to splurge on birthdays or proposals."
EXTRA HELP HIRED
Back at FarEastFlora.com, about 50 extra hands have been hired in the run-up to the big day.
Starting from 10pm this evening, workers will collect bouquets from the cold room where they are stored and will neatly classify them according to the driver's routes.
The preparation will continue overnight, when all bouquets have to be delivered by the 200 drivers that are hired on an ad-hoc basis.
Before delivery, Ms See and her team will check each and every bouquet after it is removed from the storage room.
While all the people in the flower business are busy churning out orderson Valentine's Day, it seems they often miss out on the fun.
When asked if she receives flowers from her husband on Valentine's Day, Ms Katherine Kee, 32, said: "No, my husband has never gotten me flowers for Valentine's Day.
"Anyway, I see flowers every day and I don't want him to spend so much."
The assistant manager for marketing and communications at FarEastFlora.com said: "But actually, I've never seen anyone who was unhappy to receive flowers.
"If he does give me flowers some day, it'd definitely make me a very happy woman."
DID YOU KNOW
The state of the economy does not really affect the number of bouquets sold each year. Instead, what really matters is the day on which Valentine's Day falls. If it falls on a weekday, sales are usually higher as men try to get the bouquets delivered to women in their offices.
BY THE NUMBERS
999. That is the largest order of roses received by FarEastFlora.com on Valentine's Day. The massive bouquet, which weighed about 30kg and cost $5,350, had to be assembled by six people over a span of a few hours and was carried by two delivery men.