What would your beloved gardener enjoy on Valentine’s Day? It depends on your beloved! She or he is probably giving you some good clues. I’ll show you how to decipher them and make the day just right.
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The Key to Knowing What to Give
Valentine’s Day can be stressful! If you’re in a relationship where these special occasions are important, there’s a lot of pressure to get it right. Personally, I opted out years ago, but I do enjoy Valentine’s Day as a spectator sport, and my years of observation may be helpful for you.
For the sake of this example, let’s say that Jake wants to make the day special for Jane, who is an organic garden fanatic and loves Valentine’s Day. That last part is key: make sure she wants this!
What should he get her? What should he do?
Okay, Jake. Here’s how to get it right. Or right-ish.
Related: Grow a Chocolate-Themed Garden
1. Traditional or Non-Traditional
What is Jane’s idea of a wonderful Valentine’s Day? Have you asked? Or listened when she mentions these things? Some people provide direct instructions; others like to keep you guessing but may drop some big clues.
If she’s told you what she wants, you’re set! Stop reading. You know what to do. Some people are truly happy with chocolates (does she look for fair trade cocao?), flowers (sustainably sourced, not from mass global markets), jewelry (repurposed metals), lingerie (hand-crocheted on Etsy. Kidding, I think.), and dinner out (local fare, of course) or some version of that. If the rules to your happy relationship have been written, don’t veer off course! I am making a bit of fun of it because, even simple tasks like giving a box of chocolates can be riddled with choices. But let’s hope Jane appreciates the effort and has a sense of humour (or forgiveness).
Those who enjoy non-traditional or unpredictable gifts with some creativity may require more thought.
We’re going to dig into some amateur psychology to find answers. I hope it helps.
2. Find Out What Matters
I borrowed this premise from The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman, which I haven’t actually read but have heard summarized and found useful. Forgive me if I you are more familiar with the book and find I have misrepresented it.
Every one of us has different ways we feel valued and express love.
It can be any (or a combination of) these:
1. Time | Spending time together without the usual distractions
2. Words | Clearly and kindly expressing words of love and appreciation
3. Deeds | Doing something your beloved would genuinely appreciate or benefit from
4. Physical | Physical affection
5. Gifts | An actual tangible gift
So, what makes Jane feel valued and loved? When you spend time together? When you tell her you love her? When you help with tasks? Hugs? Foot rub? Or that giant, potted flowering dogwood tree she has remarked on at the garden nursery every year for the past 5 years? That last one might be personal for me.
It could be any one of these things or a combination.
Listen to the Clues
The first clue is: many people show love for others in the manner they also like to receive it, which, ironically, is often not the way one’s partner best receives it. People are complicated. But there’s your first clue. What does Jane do to show you she loves you? That may be what she also wants for herself.
Next, follow the breadcrumbs. Sometimes a partner has been telling you what they need all along, but it is expressed as a complaint (nagging or upset) or a wish (indirect communication) rather than a clear request.
We never spend time together, just the two of us! is a request for the gift of time.
I wish you’d say you find me attractive, or tell me I’m a good mom! is a request for complimentary words (spoken or written), not sex.
We need to divide up the household chores is your cue to pitch in a do more, without being asked, and not just on one day of the year. She might be wrong about this, but this is about being kind, not right. And kind will take you much further, so go with it.
Any relationship can probably be improved, if, each day, one asked, What can I do to make his/her day better? and followed through.
You see where we’re going here, right?
Pay attention. Listen. And take notes when she gives you clues. Get it right and Valentine’s Day could last for weeks, months, or years!
3. Find the Winning Formula
So, you’ve thought about Jane and you’re pretty sure which of the 5 expressions of love she appreciates. If there’s a few, combine them.
Some of these can be given on the day, others are essentially promises (if it’s not gardening season in February where you live). You better follow through, or else!
And always refer back to what matters to her. Is she practical or romantic? What feels like love to her?
Gifts of Time
- Give her uninterupted time in the garden. Look after the kids, make the meals (hers included), keep the house in order while she happily works in the garden. And it doesn’t end when she comes back inside: the other part of a garden day is a shower, a nice meal, and rest.
- Give her your time in the garden, helping with whatever she needs.
- Spend a day visiting a botanical garden, garden tours, or a garden exhibit at a museum.
Gifts of Words
- What do you love about her? Tell her. Write her. Would she like it spoken? A note? A poem? A letter? A card? A singing telegram? A video?
Could be serious, sappy, funny, or a mixture.
Traditional or modern. Vintage or handmade. Again, what would Jane love?
Gifts of Deeds
- Is there something she’s been wanting you to do, help with, solve, build, make, move, or fix?
There’s no time like the present. That was a pun.
Gifts of Physical Affection
- Beyond hugs and kisses, or a great foot massage after a day of gardening, I think you can figure this one out on your own.
Gifts of Gifts
This is where practical and romantic can part ways, and you have to know Jane to get it right. Budget obvs also plays a key role. And planning. You gotta allow enough time to get the right things.
A very practical gardener is not going to appreciate something frivolous that they don’t want or need. A romantic gardener might just toss that expensive hori knife in dismay and love an extravagant, impractical gift instead.
A practical gardener might just appreciate the cash. The romantic might like the actual gift or a gift certificate.
- What’s at the top of her garden wish list?
An expensive tool? Plants? Seeds? Outdoor furniture? Raised beds? A greenhouse (yes, please!)? Landscaping? Fencing? A pond? Gloves? Water fountain? Garden art?
- Horticultural Society and Garden Club memberships
Look up her plant interests and see what each has to offer. There are clubs and groups for just about everything. African violets. Succulents. Permaculture growing methods. Hosta growers….
Often they offer meetings, publications, events, volunteer opportunities, and discounts for garden nurseries. Would she like a membership?
- Garden Books or Magazines
If there’s something she has swooned over, borrowed repeatedly from the library, or buys single issues of each month, there’s your clue!
My favourite gardening magazine (for visual inspiration) is Country Gardens.
Some of my favourite creative gardening books are listed here.
- Apparel and Gear
A great garden t-shirt, apron, boots, hoodie, are appreciated by the more practical gardener.
The romantics may not be so thrilled. Perhaps fig leaf lingerie would be a better choice.
- Botanically-Inspired Gifts
Art prints, posters, jewelry, t-shirts, necklaces, pillows, duvet cover, zipped pouch, garden notebook, journal….
I gathered a bunch of ideas here on Etsy as well.
- Lunch or Dinner Out
An avid veggie gardener may enjoy a great meal at a locally-sourced restaurant. The practical gardener would rather go on a quiet day: not Valentine’s Day when the place is packed. The romantic may like the mayhem, and be perfectly content.
Have you got this?
I hope I’ve given you some keys to her heart. Pay attention, watch for clues, and remember to start on it early so you get just what you need.
Or, get it all wrong and enjoy the chocolates yourself. You do know if she prefers milk or dark chocolate, right? And what perecentage dark chocolate?
Oy, life can be complicated.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛