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Best of the Bunch

Valentine’s Day is less than one week away, which means secret admirers, dutiful partners and hopeless romantics are going to be on the hunt for those extra-special bouquets.

We caught up with Merivale florist Hannah Coomber (who, by the way, is remarkably energetic for someone who has been up since 4am) and found out why roses are still the most popular flower, ideas for alternative blooms, and simple tricks to keep your flowers fresh for longer.

When did you get your start as a floral designer? 

I started out at a 'traditional' florist in Wahroonga, where I worked for two and a half years before plucking up the courage to apply for a job at the heavenly flower hive of Grandiflora.

What’s your inspiration when it comes to building an arrangement?

The interiors! Most of our regular daily routine is spent refreshing Merivale venues so we really do have to bounce off the vibe and style of the venue. When we are not running around Sydney maintaining the venues’ installations, we are creating florals for events. I often ask the client to send me a few inspirational pictures or key words so that I can get a feel for their event – that's my favourite part, working with the clients and dreaming up new ways to flower bomb a room.

Roses, how did they become the go-to flower for Valentine’s Day? 

The Victorians began this tradition through Floriography, or the language of flowers, as a means to communicate feelings that could not be spoken. Red roses indicate passion and romantic love.

If someone wanted to give something other than the classic bud, what are the alternatives?

Well, I absolutely adore a big overflowing armful of any flower but that can make quite an impact on the purse strings, so to satisfy my love for an abundance of flowers dahlias are a great alternative. No longer a 'nanna' flower, dahlias come in all sorts of colours these days and are such a pop of glorious colour that receiving a big bundle will impress anyone.

What are your tips for keeping flowers in tip-top shape as long as possible?

Trim their stems (about a centimetre) as soon as you get them home and pop them into fresh water. Keep this process up every couple of days until their petals cannot hold on any longer.

Settle the debate – fill the vase with sugar water, yes or no? 

No - it's just a lazy person’s way of getting out of changing the water every day. A trim of the stems and fresh water is much more effective.

Celebrate all kinds of love this Valentine’s Day with flowers, bubbles and chocolate. The Bottle Shop, Lorraine’s Patisserie and the Merivale florist team have teamed up to create beautiful bespoke packages, perfect for your loved one. View all packages and order online at