If you’re buying flowers for Valentine’s Day (or any old time), my friend Joy told me this handy tip:

The other day, I found a crisp ten-dollar bill buried in a snow bank, so, naturally, I headed to the grocery store to treat myself to fresh flowers. As I browsed, I asked the florist, “Which flowers just arrived?” and she immediately directed me to a bin of pale pink tea roses. “These came in this morning,” she whispered, like it was a best-kept secret. It had never occurred to me to ask before, but it makes so much sense, doesn’t it? (After all, at the fish market, I always ask for the freshest fish; and I’m forever checking expiration dates on milk and eggs.) Flowers can be a splurge, and it’s a bummer when they wilt a day later. Meanwhile, my tea roses have kept me company all week.

Smart, right? It had never occurred to me. Thanks, Joy!

P.S. How to arrange deli flowers, and a 11 romantic gifts.

(Photo by the amazing Amy Merrick)