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VM Choice: Valentine's Day 2015

Jane Packer, the famous flower shop and floristry school in London’s Marylebone, has created a Valentine’s Day display that makes full use of the architectural windows of its store. Two arches of greenery surround the exterior of the two main windows, each arch hung with red hearts. While bows would have looked ‘too Christmassy,’ changing the form of the contrasting red deftly moves the display on to February.

The arch does not obscure the fascia, and is secured on the pavement outside the store. Marylebone’s wider pavements allow for such 3-D display, although this may be more difficult on many high streets.

In a florist,  merchandise can double as props: the two rose-tinted bottles double as vases, both containing water although only one has a red rose. A phalaenopsis or moth orchid in its red pot completes the line up. It also underlines how few flowers are required to create a floral display: orchids last for months as long as they have some light and almost no water; the single rose stem can be replaced as it starts to fade.

While the foreground of both open-backed windows is loosely the same, made of stacked wooden packing cases, the background rings the changes. A white-painted, wooden folding screen hung with hearts neatly conceals storage space across most of the back of the store.

The storage space is made of wooden packing cases stacked on their sides. These look charmingly rustic and provide a pleasingly natural foil for the plant materials, just as they do at the front of the window, where they can be stacked and removed as required in any given display.

A red neon heart and smaller white ones are sufficient to bring light and therefore more attention to the windows. In total, hearts are repeated in four different forms across the store windows and interior; the only visible flowers are very few roses and orchids, both of which have associations with romance.

The red rose is a traditional symbol of romance and the orchid, or rather the cattleya orchid, features in Proust’s novel ‘Remembrance of Things Past’ as a playful euphemism for amorous fondling. Jane Packer’s windows always appeal as it is such a pleasure to see fresh flowers, but for Valentine’s Day this is really special.