Flower power

If you waited until Valentine’s Day to order flowers, it might already be too late … but here’s some of what local florists have to offer

Photo By allison young

My husband and I aren’t known for displaying our affections with gifts—none at birthdays, none at Christmas—and especially not with flowers. There was a day, however, about six years ago, when he truly surprised me by buying flowers on Valentine’s Day. He hopped on his bike and rode to the nearest flower shop, where he was outfitted with a vase filled with a dozen red roses, some sparkling pink regalia and a balloon reading, “Be Mine.8221; Then, he rode his bike home. Only when he was on the road did he note the stares from passing cars and consider how he appeared.

“I might as well have been wearing a dress and high heels!” he said later.

Still, for all of you who enjoy both purchasing and receiving flowers, on Valentine’s Day or otherwise, here is a look at what you can get from local vendors, many of which have been part of our community longer than I have been alive. In honor of my husband’s dainty bike ride, I shall begin with …

Flower Bucket Florist

1657 Prater Way, 359-8846


This local floral shop has been in business for 30 years. The owner, Pat Panages, knows the business: with regard to Valentine’s Day, it’s “the man’s choice holiday,” and the shop will do all it can to help that poor man. If he is utterly befuddled, they ask a few leading questions to try to pin down the “type” of woman. “You tend to try more romantic stuff,” they say. “You want it to show how much he loves and respects his wife.” In order to do this properly, he must show that he “knows” what his wife will like. Roses still remain number one, but some women require an upgrade to stargazer lilies, while the “soft and cuddlies” often like a stuffed animal to boot. As for special offers, the garden style bouquet—different varieties of flowers, and instead of the usual triangle shape, the flowers are gathered in one spot, as opposed to spread all the way through, full of natural greens—is very popular. Men looking for “big and showy” can get it for $65-$85. Or they can also “knock her socks off” for $85-150 and have it delivered at work.

St. Ives Florist

700 S. Wells Ave., 333-9190


At St. Ives you can spend anywhere from $3 to $300. The owner, Laurie Acton, has been in business for 23 years and her enthusiasm for her profession has never waned.

“I am truly blessed to do this work,” she says.

Her days are filled with people bubbling over from joy about a new grandbaby or happy young couples on their way to the altar. People, in other words, at their best. Extremely proud of her store, she boasts, “There is nothing even remotely close to this in Reno.” She also has a lot to choose from as V-Day approaches. For $3 you can get a flower wrapped up nicely. For $300 you can get a vase draped in orchids. If $300 is not in your budget, for $50 you can get an orchid cylinder, or half a dozen red roses. When you visit, be prepared: at St. Ives, you’re invited into the cooler to touch and smell and choose for yourself, with some direction. St. Ives also has chocolates, balloons and gift items, such as crystal perfume bottles, scarves ($15-$40), hats, jewelry—earrings $15, necklaces $50—and purses that range from $55 to $900. I forgot to ask if complimentary shots of whiskey come with the purchase of that last item.


3882 Mayberry Drive, 348-6161


Devonwoods has been in business for 10 years and insist they are the “better florist,” offering more custom work instead of generic creations. “We do a cleaner, more lush look than most others, a nicer vase with a nicer filler, not your typical baby’s breath,” florist Elaine Longa says. The costs, however, are comparable. Small mixed arrangements, including roses, start at $35, mediums at $50, and larges at $70. Her goal is that whether it is small or large it looks beautiful. They can even accommodate at $20. Also on offer are jewelry (Swarovski crystal or antique mold from Paris, $25-$200), a beautiful truffle line as well as candles, purses and other girly gifts.

Flowers by Patti

3430 Lakeside Drive, 825-6111


Founded in 1977 by Patti Parrish, the shop is now owned by Kathy Parrish. At Patti’s—or Kathy’s?—you can find roses in red vases draped in a heart pendant with a piece of Swarovski crystal inside, sparkling like a diamond ($64.95). Bouquets start at $25 for a small, $50 for a medium, and large for $75. Of course, if you have $200 to spend, they can accommodate you. There are also all sorts of small gifts, such as balloons, chocolates, cards, stuffed animals, spa products and the like, for the frazzled husband who doesn’t want to arrive home with just the roses.

Sparks Florist

5000 Smithridge Drive, 358-8500


On Feb. 1, Sparks Florist turned 53 years old. To celebrate their achievement and, of course, to help you celebrate your romance, they are doing a joint promotion with John Ascuaga’s Nugget this year. All floral deliveries will include a “two for one” offer at the Nugget’s fine dining restaurants: The Steakhouse Grill, Restaurante Orozko and Trader Dick’s. And if you are currently short on funds, but still want to eat out, rest assured that Sparks Florist claims to have something in pretty much every price range, from rose bud vases as low as $22.99 to a dozen long-stemmed red roses for $114.99. They also offer basket arrangements, like the Dream Lover ($44.99) or an arrangement of spring flowers (includes two red roses, $59.99).

Southtown Florist

748 S. Meadows Pkwy., 853-5554


Formerly Kabloom of Reno, this shop has been in business eight years, and is family-owned by Karin and Chris Wells. This year, you can get the “Wow Her” bouquet: gorgeous large white calla lilies, red roses and unique greens ($150). The “Be My Love” bouquet comes with white asiatics, red roses and white daisies ($55). The chocolates, teddy bears and balloons are also there and they deliver worldwide. However, if you want to send your love in Paris some flowers, you’d best order early. On Feb. 14, they will only be taking care of local customers who blew it; those outside the USA are on their own.

All these floral shops emphasized the need to order early. There seems to be a misunderstanding out there that the day you order the flowers is the day they’re wrapped up and made ready for delivery, to waste away in a cooler, wilting as the days pass. Not true, said all my respondents. You are not ordering a Big Mac! In fact, when you order early, this allows the florists time to purchase the best and freshest of whatever is ordered. Ordering late means there might not be any more calla lilies in the store. Also, the floral creations are put together the day before or day of, and then there are all the deliveries to be made. It’s rare, all shops said, to find someone with the time even to take your order. So if you waited until Valentine’s Day, it’s probably too late. Of course, you don’t need a holiday to buy flowers.