It's the calm before the storm.
That's how Mary Beth Flowers described Thursday afternoon, with just five days to go until Valentine's Day.
Soon, her Harford Road store Flowers by Flowers will be busy filling orders for loyal customers looking to give something special to their someone special.
For would-be customers, her advice is to be different.
"Traditionally speaking roses, carnations and daises are popular," she said. "They're the first flowers we learn about as kids, and everybody thinks red roses are romantic."
"Here, though, we like off the beaten path — we don't want our customers to go with the tradition. Men think roses, but if you ask their wives it's a different story," Flowers said.
"Woman will say to me 'Mary Beth, I love gerber daises' or 'I love sunflowers'—we'll include a rose to make you happy, guys, but we're going to make her happy too."
Flowers said that more and more newlyweds and young brides also are looking for the flowers they carried in their bridal bouquet—flowers like calla lillies and orchids.
"Orchids have a shelf-life similar to a carnation, too; you'll pay a little more money, but there's way more wow factor," she said.
For the dads out there looking to get flowers for their daughters on V Day, Flowers suggests that it's all about color — pinks and purples are when you're looking for.
In fact, the color of a flower—especially a rose—can mean a lot.
Flowers rattles them off rapid fire as she's preparing greens for soon-to-be arrangements: red is for passion, white represents the surrender of love, hot pink stands for infatuation, pink could mean new love or maybe young, innocent love, yellow roses are for friendship. But what about orange roses?
"I don't know! Fire maybe? Hot and spicy? You can be creative with those," she said.
Her favorite flower to suggest though? Tulips.
"To me, that's the most romantic — it's a little splash of spring in the dead of winter," she said. "Plus, tulips ... two lips, you can be cute that way."
What about if you're the receiving end of some flowers next Tuesday? How should you care for them? Flowers has great advice for you there, too.
"When you get a vase arrangement, within a day you should recut the stems and change the water, but make sure the new water is lukewarm."
If you do get roses and they open too quickly, you can extend the life of the flower by cutting the stem higher than you normally would by maybe two or three inches, then shocking them in cold water. If they won't open at all, follow the same advice but use warmer water.
"Also, it's winter and we keep our houses a little warmer but you should make sure not to display your arrangement in the warmest part of your house," she said.
So there you have it, a wealth of advice from a veteran florist who's celebrating her 18th Valentine's Day in the business this year.
What flowers to you love to give for Valentine's Day? What flowers do you like to get? Tell us in the comments.