designer Richard Barinsen to handle the rush.
"Roses are the number one order," Goldblatt said. "Men don't know
a lot about flowers, but they do know roses. Ironically, most growers
A trend Goldblatt applauds is women buying flowers for men, often
sent to their offices.
"Men love the attention," Goldblatt said.
He also fills many orders from men to men and women to women.
"I am located right next to the Boom," he said, referring to one
of Laguna's iconic gay restaurants and nightspots.
If a customer is willing to listen, Goldblatt will suggest some
alternatives to the traditional red roses for Valentine's Day.
"There is a big trend toward tulips, which are now domestically
grown in greenhouses and available year-round," Goldblatt said. "I'll
probably go through 800 tulips for Valentine's arrangements, but I
will go through 1,200 to 1,500 roses.
"Exotics last longer, so they are really a better buy."
A gift of flowers may fade all too soon.
Black Iris partner Bill Merrill said fresh water is the key to
keeping an arrangement perky.
"If the arrangement is directly in water, not oasis, it is best to
change it every other day," Merrill said. "Tip the vase to the side
and empty it -- then immediately refill it."
Aspirin is not necessary. Black Iris designers put preservative in
the water with their arrangements, but it doesn't need repeating.
Merrill said he has heard of putting a teaspoon of sugar in the
water, which helps the stems draw in the moisture.
Black Iris, at 2950 Coast Highway, began its 24th year in Laguna
in December. The shop has a design staff of five, headed by James
Davis, three assistant designers and two flower cleaners, who strip
lower leaves and thorns and cut stems on the diagonal, for better
The whole staff is working full tilt and will take orders right
through Valentine's Day, one of the busiest days of the year at the
store. Another is Mother's Day, but ordering differs.
"We most often live near our lovers, but we don't always live near
our mothers," Merrill said. "So a lot of Mother's Day orders are
wired out -- all over the world.
"We order by phone, rather than by computer, to make sure our