Show your love on Valentine’s Day

Show your love on Valentine’s Day
Carol Saffer

Kellee Pham, florist and owner of Kellee Flowers in East Melbourne, said Valentine’s Day was the most important and busiest in her year.

“For us, it beats Mother’s Day hands down,” Ms Pham said.

To cope with the demand, she brings in a small team of university students at midnight to work through the night preparing hundreds of boxes of a dozen red roses.

“We have streamlined the process,” she said.

“We show them how to choose the best petals and rose heads and how to de-thorn the stems for safe presentation,” she said.

The classic red rose continues to be the most popular and traditional flower on February 14.

“Our most extravagant order from a customer one year was for 100 long stem red roses at the cost of $1500,” Ms Pham said.

Having been a florist for more than 20 years, she has seen changes in the industry and the choices of her customers.

Ms Pham said there was now a growing trend for the more classic white and green floral bouquets.

“While hardier native flowers are becoming popular with the younger generation,” she said.

Wei Shan, the owner of Growers Flower Factory in Carlton, agrees that red roses are his best seller on Valentine’s Day.

He points out most flowers are now flown in from Kenya, saying that “local growers are being pushed out of the market by the importers.”

He laments the impact COVID has had on his business, saying that he would normally experience a 100 to 200 per cent increase in business on the day in a good year.

His business opens at 7am, with all flowers boxed and wrapped ready for the customers.

As well as the tradition of giving flowers on Valentine’s Day, a special dinner with a loved one is usually on the cards.

Ashleigh Dyer and Glen Bagnara, co-owners of Hemingway’s Wine Room in East Melbourne, are very excited about their Farewell To Arms Valentine’s Day Dinner this year as it is their first one since opening in June 2020.

Ms Dyer said due to the COVID lockdowns, most of the restaurant’s trading was take away meals for the past two years.

Usually not open on Monday nights, Hemingway’s is set to wine and dine couples with a four-course set menu and a glass of NV Champagne Pol Roger for $149 per person.

“Our head chef David Yuan has put a lot of work into creating this speciality menu,” Ms Dyer said.

The menu includes such delicacies as Scallop Ceviche, Clam Chowder, a mouth-watering Angus Porterhouse, and to finish, a delicate Peach Melba with raspberry coulis, crushed meringue and sabayon.

“After the past couple of years, to have time for a special date and quality time to connect with your partner is really special,” Ms Dyer said.

“I know you should tell your partner I love you every day, but it’s nice to have an extra special day to say it.”

Ms Dyer said the Brasserie section in Hemingway’s was quite a romantic setting, and “we will be setting the mood for sure with extra candles and appropriate music.”

Bookings can be made at or by phone at (03) 9416 5064.

Other restaurants offering a unique Valentine’s Day dinner are the Carlton Wine Room in Faraday St and Scopri on Nicholson St.

History has it that Valentine’s Day is named after Saint Valentine, a Catholic priest who lived in Rome in the 3rd Century.

While Romans were converting to Christianity, Emperor Claudius decreed his soldiers should be completely devoted to Rome and passed a law preventing marriage.

St Valentine was conducting marriage ceremonies in secret and was jailed for his crime

It is believed he cured his jailor’s daughter of her blindness while in prison and his final act before being executed was to write her a love message signed “from your Valentine”.

Valentine was executed on February 14 in the year 270 •

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