A week ago, Sweet Husband sent me a pretty pot'o'flowers at work. He generally orders from Martha, but due to a bad experience last time (and this crazy hippie idea of ours that it's good to shop locally), this time he decided to try a florist in the town where I work instead.
Without a website to order from though, he basically had to leave it up to the florist to decide what the ultimate arrangement would look like. Although the flowers were beautiful, when I brought them home at the end of the week Sweet Husband was surprised at how different they looked than he thought they would. He commented about how hard it is when you're dealing with an unknown florist over the phone. You can't just say "do something pretty" because you have no idea what their idea of pretty is. Once you've built a relationship with a florist and know their sense of style it gets easier, but when you're finding someone new it's kind of a gamble.
My suggestion? Ask the florist what flowers they have in that day that are gorgeous. Pick just one kind--this is very important--preferably of a type, or at least a color, you know your lady likes. Then tell the florist you want x number of them (depending on the size of the flower and what your budget allows) in a plain vase with no greenery or babies breath or anything.
That's it. You're done.
It's classic, it's pretty, it looks good no matter what flower you choose--it's basically bulletproof. (Think Carrie's pink carnations from Berger in the pre-post-it note episode of "Sex and the City".)
Sweet Husband, impressed with my solution for what has been a perplexing problem for him (whether ordering flowers for me or for his mom or for his sister), said this was such a good solution that I needed to spread the word by blogging about it. So--here you are--go forth and never fear ordering flowers over the phone again!
EDITED TO ADD: Here's another example. See, even grocery store flowers look beautiful this way!