Flowers for Valentine’s ~ Thailand

Two cream coloured frangipani (plumeria)

Flowers for Valentine's : The Two of Us (Frangipani)

Valentine’s Day got more  than the usual bad press this year  – or maybe I have too many cynical people in my circle at the moment, so it was more noticeable.

It’s not that I am a particular fan of Valentine’s Day myself. My childhood memories of pressing out punched cards from a sheet of light cardboard to give to my school friends  – and worrying about whether I’d receive any in return – are not fond ones. In elementary school, valentine cards were a marker of popularity: a sign of friendship given to classmates regardless of gender. Traditionally, they were meant to be anonymous, but we always made sure the people we valued knew that we had given them one – and we always knew who the ‘alpha female’ in the class was: the girl who received the most.

I do, however, think that the ‘anti-Valentine’ people, those who claim it is a trumped-up occasion, invented by the modern greeting-card companies in cahoots with rose growers, florists, and the manufacturers of chocolates and teddy-bears, have got it wrong. While the tradition of giving cards has nothing to do with any of the many martyred St Valentines of early Christendom, it does go back at least to 1400. The oldest surviving valentine is a 15th century poem written by Charles, Duke of Orléans, to his wife, while he was being held prisoner in the Tower of London. Nothing what-so-ever to do with modern commercial enterprise!

I do understand their argument that trinkets and gifts one day a year are meaningless. But, symbolism is important, and special days give us an opportunity to make the time to acknowledge a loved one. We don’t have to “buy into” conventional commercialism: small gifts or cards chosen or hand-made with care are always more special. And, if every day is Valentine’s Day, all the better!

This year, I spent Valentine’s Day alone. My husband was in Singapore on business – and not for the first time. (No wonder the country has one of the lowest birthrates in the world: running trade shows, oblivious to Valentine’s Day, is not good for population growth!)

Two years ago, however, we managed to escape from Bangkok to Prachuap Khiri Khan, where the staff at our resort made a wonderful fuss over us. Thai’s love a romantic cliché, and we were treated to sparkling wine and a dinner of pink foods overlooking the ocean.

I will take chocolate any time and in any shape, but I’ve never been a great fan of roses. Although they are beautiful and smell gorgeous, I’ve always considered them ‘fussy’. Someone recently called them ‘snobs’ for thinking they so are special, while in fact, as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince points out to the roses of earth: “You are beautiful, but you are empty.”

But, Thai gardens are abundant with other flowers – and I delight in trying to capture some of them with my camera.

Two lilies and their reflections in a quiet pool.

Flowers for Valentine's ~ Quiet Moments (Lotus)

Single purple lotus in a pond, surrounded by green leaves.

Flowers for Valentine's ~ Surrounded by Love

Boldly coloured purple lotus on green leaves.

Flowers for Valentine's ~ Independent and Proud (Lotus)

A pink and white yemibonang flower in bloom against green leaves.

Flower's for Valentine's ~ Unusual is Good

(Apparently, the flower above is a แย้มิป่นัง (yemibonang???) in Thai…  If anyone knows what it is in English, I’d appreciate hearing from them!)

Two pond lotus: one blue one pink.

Flowers for Valentine's ~ Opposites Attract (Lotus)

Red hibiscus on a green bush, against deep blue sky.

Flowers for Valentine's ~ Red as a Rose (Hibiscus)

Red hibiscus, backlit, against a blue sky.

Flowers for Valentine's ~ I'm on Fire!

Close-up: the creamy white flowers of a purple bougainvillea

Flowers for Valentine's ~ Purple Rain (Bougainvillaea)

Small white flowers blooming amid golden orange bougainvillea bracts

Flowers for Valentine's ~ Golden Dreams

Small white flower blooming amid the pink bracts of a bougainvillea

Flowers for Valentine's ~ Valentine Pink

Single frangipani against grass

Flowers for Valentine's ~ All by Myself (Frangipani)

Two yellow frangipani flowers against a green background

Flowers for Valentine's ~ Butter and Cream

Three deep pink frangipani

Flowers for Valentine's ~ All Together Now!

Group of white star-shaped Pudica White Frangipani

Pudica White Frangipani


The flowers all around us were a reminder to stop, take a moment…

… and smell the not-roses.

I hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day – with or without chocolate and flowers.


Text: Happy Travels





Photos: 14 February 2010 (Most of them)

Keerreewaree Resort, Prachuap Khiri Khan





  • Pongpet - February 16, 2012 - 3:44 pm

    I do thank you for sharing your such beautiful photographs. I think you are very kind-hearted and love to share good things to friends and the world. I miss you when I don’t see you at KMUTT on Saturdays.ReplyCancel

    • Ursula - February 17, 2012 - 2:17 am

      Pongpet – lovely to see you on my Blog. I’m glad KMUTT still has you teaching – they need to hang on to the good ones! 🙂
      Signe – you and Lance are in that lucky minority: those who get it “right” the first time! 😉ReplyCancel

  • Signe Westerberg - February 17, 2012 - 12:16 am

    Great Photo’s as always Ursula, whilst Lance & I don’t fuss over Valentines day, beyond a verbal greeting, I am blessed to be reminded everyday of our special relationship… so I’m ok without the gifts LOL. I have never been a roses fan, I to appreciate the fragrance, colour etc however as a kid having to dead head them, trim thorns and help maintain my mothers rose garden I nowadays prefer carnations and sweetpeas. The frangipani are beautiful and so simple…yet not prolific in Sydney gardens although with the climate change that could.

    Thanks as always and I know you and Gabe don’t need a calendar event to celebrate your special relationship…hope he’s home soon.ReplyCancel

  • gabe - February 17, 2012 - 2:25 am

    Ursula, I really enjoyed this one. Your photo’s are sharp and the sentiment is wonderful.


  • Carol - February 17, 2012 - 3:28 am

    Carol like 🙂ReplyCancel

  • dietmut - February 17, 2012 - 6:29 pm

    die Blumen sind alle sehr hübsch, vielen Dank für den “grossen Blumenstrauss” zum Valentinstag. Grüsse aus Holland, DietmutReplyCancel

    • Ursula - February 18, 2012 - 10:25 am

      Dankeschön, merci villmahl, muchas gracias, many thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Tony Dobson - February 19, 2012 - 4:08 pm

    Beautiful floral photos, Ursula. Sandy and I visit the card section of a local store, pick out and show our partner our own favourite card, share a high five, and replace the card. Costs nothing and doesn’t add unnecessary poundage!ReplyCancel

    • Ursula - February 20, 2012 - 12:02 am

      Hi Tony! Thanks for the visit. That sounds like an economical option… though I do love going through old cards. (I don’t throw anything out; one of the reasons we’ve had so much trouble moving – and why we could never live on a boat!)
      Happy sailing. 🙂ReplyCancel

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