Have a heart - love is in the air

PUBLISHED: 14:24 14 February 2008 | UPDATED: 15:40 11 May 2010

IONE WOODGER-SMITH: “Most of our customers are men.”

IONE WOODGER-SMITH: "Most of our customers are men."

By NATALIE?BROADBENT and MATTHEW?GOODING Pictures:?DANIEL?WILSON ROSES are red, violets are blue…yes, it s that time of year again, and it seems people still love Valentines Day. There are many stories ­surrounding the origins of February 14. Some exper

SWEET SENSATION: Ladds staff  Linda Curtis, Linda Jest, and Mary Ladds.

By NATALIE?BROADBENT and MATTHEW?GOODING

Pictures:?DANIEL?WILSON

ROSES are red, violets are blue...yes, it's that time of year again, and it seems people still love Valentines Day.

There are many stories ­surrounding the origins of February 14.

ALISON DYCHE and CLAIRE BARRABLE at Flowers and Things.

Some experts say that it originated from St. Valentine, a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity.

He died on February 14, 269 AD, and legend also states that St. Valentine left a farewell note for his friend the jailer's daughter and signed it 'From Your Valentine'.

But in 2008 it is likely that many men will be heading for the nearest flower shop, and restaurants will be overrun with couples.

Ione Woodger-Smith, owner of Flowers by Crazy Daisy in Buntingford, finds that roses are still a best seller. She said: "Most of our Valentines ­customers are men.

"The men who have already ordered their flowers are very organised - they tend to order the best quality flowers and tend to spend a bit more.

"Then you get the men who have left it until the last minute and aren't so fussy about what flowers they get, and don't spend as much."

"One guy bought some lilies on Monday and gave them to his partner because he thought he would forget if he didn't get them then."

Valentine's Day is one of the busiest times of year for florists.

Claire Barrable, owner of Flowers and Things in Angel Pavement, Royston, said: "We've been rushed off our feet this week, and it will only get busier.

"As usual, our best seller has been 12 red roses, or one red rose for those on lower budgets."

Florist Alison Dyche added: "We have some nice white and pink roses this year, so I've been trying to encourage people to buy those, it gets a bit boring doing the same arrangements all the time!"

Those with a sweet tooth have been flocking to Ladds in the High Street to sample the store's wide array of ­chocolates.

Mary Ladds said: "The main thing people seem to go for are the handmade chocolates, because they can choose the type of box they want and what sort of sweets go in.

"We do have a lot of men coming in at the last minute, but there are plenty of women too."

And it seems that chocolates and flowers aren't the only way to show how much you care.

Royston mobile phone specialist m-viron, in the High Street, has reported that the purchase of text message bundles in Royston has increased significantly in the period leading up to Valentine's Day.

Store manager James Lunnon puts the surge down to two things - letting someone know you care, and texting being a 'safe' way to express your ­feelings.

"Customers have told us they are nervous of the outcome of sending a Valentine's card and find it easier to send a message via text.

"They can send a message to someone special and won't have the ­humiliation of being rejected face-to-face or in public.

"There is also the excitement of sending out a lot of Valentines by SMS and possibly receiving a lot of Valentine's texts back."

Valentine's Day is closely associated with the exchange of love notes and presents, but texting is now competing with the more traditional activities.

However you give the message, it appears that Valentine's Day is as popular as ever.

Mrs Woodger-Smith said: "Married men are still buying flowers as well.

"It's nice to see that Valentine's Day hasn't died out.

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