News & Politics

Best Bouquet to Say “I’m Sorry”

A panel of Washingtonian women decide which flowers would make them accept an apology

Men make mistakes. Women like flowers. So sometimes men apologize for their mistakes with flowers.

We sent a Washingtonian reporter undercover as a distressed husband who needed to say “I’m sorry” to his imaginary wife. He called four local florists, gave each a different story, and pleaded for the best “apology arrangement.”

A panel of women on the magazine’s staff judged the bouquets, each priced around $100, and asked themselves: Would I accept his apology?

1 • Helen Olivia
128 N. Pitt St., Alexandria; 703-548-2848
Our “husband” told the florists at Helen Olivia that his wife had entrusted him to care for her three goldfish while she was away. He didn’t. The arrangement, which included a dark-purple orchid that matched the soft ribbon wrapped around the vase, was called “subdued” and “elegant” by our judges, a “somber, almost funereal” bouquet befitting her lost finned friends.

2 • Ultra Violet Flowers
1218 31st St., NW; 202-333-3002
Ultra Violet Flowers made this arrangement for a man who’s really in the doghouse. It seems his wife found some receipts that revealed he wasn’t on that business trip last weekend but instead in Atlantic City with a few buddies. A judge said the arrangement of peonies, yellow tulips, and lavender roses looked “whimsical.” Some loved the decorative ribbons draped on top, but one reviewer said it looked a bit “grandmotherly.” Would they accept this apology for a weekend of indiscretion? Said one: “Maybe if it came with a check.”

3 • Tierra Floral Design
4961 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda; 301-951-0199
The most divisive choice came from Tierra Floral Design, which sent this two-foot-tall tower of 30 roses to a wife whose husband had forgotten their anniversary. “This might require another apology,” said one judge, who thought the enormous bouquet might be a little embarrassing for the recipient. Others thought it was a great deal, noting that its grandness would show the extent of the husband’s atonement. “I would think, ‘Oh, my God—he really feels bad,’ ” said one. Many men on our staff liked these flowers the most.

4 • Amaryllis
1625 Eckington Pl., NE; 202-529-2230
Amaryllis sent this arrangement of pink and tea roses, peonies, lamb’s ears, and hydrangeas as amends from a husband who had ditched a dinner with his wife and in-laws. While one judge deemed the colors “too pastel,” it was agreed that the flowers looked among the freshest of the bunch, and it emerged the winner in the end.This article appears in the July 2011 issue of The Washingtonian. 

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Staff Writer

Michael J. Gaynor has written about fake Navy SEALs, a town without cell phones, his Russian spy landlord, and many more weird and fascinating stories for the Washingtonian. He lives in DC, where his landlord is no longer a Russian spy.