Where to get a dozen roses—or something much, much better—at the last minute.
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In the flower business they live for Valentine’s Day. The only problem is that people procrastinate, and many places get hundreds of frantic orders on February 14, right as the roses are running out. If you’re one of those stragglers, try calling these top flower shops; an understanding florist will be waiting.
The green thumb is hereditary at this Chelsea store. Owner Gaige Clark’s heritage in the flower industry stretches back four generations to her great-great-grandmother’s celebrated gladiola farm in Hudson, Massachusetts. Today, Spruce is a favorite among the fashion and entertainment set. Accepting orders until 5 p.m. on Valentine’s Day (and open for walk-ins until 9 p.m.), the shop offers a fresh spin on the typical bouquet of roses. The rose crate ($85) has nine or more red roses arranged in a rustic wooden box and embellished with lush moss for an organic yet elegant effect. Executive director Paul Riner suggests last-minute shoppers browse with an open mind: “People will come in on Valentine’s night at 7 o’clock asking for a dozen roses…and that’s not going to happen.” As an alternative, peonies (which are rare among florists this year because of harsh weather conditions) will be available at Spruce from $125 for a set of nine. Spruce: 222 8th Avenue, 212.414.0588
Ovando, known for dreamy, otherworldly designs, has built a solid reputation partly on the strength of its ornate window displays. In 2010, it was commissioned to collaborate on Tim Burton’s exhibition at MoMA. Fittingly, its Valentine’s Day offerings also lean toward the whimsical. Opt for the sculptural “All-a-Flutter” bouquet of red dogwood and pink anemones (from $250), or the hot-ticket “Valentine Irresistible,” which pairs a dozen roses with a delicately scented candle ($175). Ovando will accept orders until 12 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, with both the uptown and downtown boutique locations open for walk-in customers until 7 p.m. Early birds will score a discount: Orders placed on the 13th get 10 percent off (use code FEB13 online, or mention the promotion over the phone). Ovando: 337 Bleecker Street, 212.924.7873, or 19 East 65th Street, 212.988.2600
Stepping into a flower shop can leave you feeling overwhelmed by choices. Not so at Michael George, where chic simplicity is the status quo. Michael George himself is a 33-year flower-biz veteran whose artful, graphically bold arrangements have caught the discerning eyes of designers including Tom Ford and Calvin Klein. The shop will be open until 6 p.m., on Valentine’s Day. Ever the minimalist, George himself recommends the Romantic Rose Composition, which comes either as a collection of long-stemmed buds in a classic white box (from $100) or as a bouquet paired with striking hydrangeas and set in a pewter bowl (from $250). Michael George Flowers: 5 Tudor City Place, 212.883.0304
The signature Bouquet Wall at Posies, a cheerful hideaway on the Upper West Side, is a dream for the indecisive shopper. Adorned with pre-arranged European-style (i.e. hand-tied and often monochromatic) bouquets starting at $40, the user-friendly wall has helped the shop become a neighborhood favorite. Though the boutique will stop accepting custom orders after February 13, Posies—and its Bouquet Wall (an especially handy tool when the clock is running down)—will stay open until 8 p.m. on the 14th. Owner Susan Holt offers an insider tip: Supplies of the ever-popular red rose (two dozen from $125) tend to run out by about 3 p.m., but you can find a sure-to-please alternative in Dutch tulips, which are sold in arrangements of 30 stems from $75. Posies: 366 Amsterdam Avenue, 212.721.2260
“If someone really, really wants red roses, we have them,” says Rado Bomba, owner of Fort Greene’s airy, brick-walled Stem. “But if you’re giving someone flowers once a year, why not give them something unexpected?” Point taken. And you won’t have trouble stepping outside the box at Stem, where traditional accents like baby’s breath are eschewed in favor of eclectic choices like jasmine, seeded eucalyptus, and even blackberries. For a twist on a Valentine’s Day bunch, Bomba suggests dropping in for locally grown anemones, which—while supplies last—will be offered in purple, red, and white, and priced from $65 to $125. Stem: 112 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn, 718.722.4767