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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Flower Shops Blooming With Holiday Bouquets

In her hit ballad "A Million Scarlet Roses," pop diva Alla Pugachyova sings about the true story of a Georgian artist who presented just such a gift to his French lover. She expected nothing less.

So, gentlemen, take note: You must buy flowers for the women in your life. If not a million, then at least a bouquet. They deserve nothing less.

While the most obvious place to purchase your March 8 flowers in Moscow is from one of the omnipresent kiosks or street stands, the city does boast some specialized boutiques. Here a shopper has a much broader choice than the usual pink carnation or white rose, and the flowers are generally fresher and better cared for than the average kiosk variety.

Although dark red roses are the most popular on Women's Day, local sellers have noticed a trend toward the experimental, with customers buying every color, sort and arrangement imaginable. So be creative and mix the red tulips with the yellow carnations and the white gypsophilia. Salespeople at White Lily, located near Aeroport metro station, would even encourage you to throw in a pink-tinted pineapple (195 rubles, or $7) or a Prodeya - a meter-high bluish-purple blossom from South Africa (550 rubles, or $19).

Prices for single flowers tend not to vary regardless of where they're purchased. But stores get more expensive when it comes to bouquets, which can vary widely in cost according to the customer's taste or lady's desires. Prices start at a few hundred rubles and run up to 10,000 rubles ($350) at shops like Flowers on Sretenka, one of the few local florists that attracts a regular, upper-crust clientele. As a rule, the more exotic the flower, and the greater the distance it's traveled, the higher the price.

Carnations, the reliable standby, cost around 20 rubles (70 cents) a stem nearly everywhere, while roses can range from 40 to 160 rubles ($1.40 to $5.50) a stem, depending on whether you go for the Amir (40 rubles at White Lily), the Classic, the Raphael (65 rubles and 85 rubles, respectively, at Surprise Salon Interflora) or the meter-tall Grand Prix (120 rubles at White Lily; 150 rubles at Natali-Flora-Service; 160 rubles at Flowers on Sretenka).

Orchids, which tend to have 10 blossoms to a stem, tend to be the most expensive single flowers, with prices starting from 440 rubles ($15). "Strelitsiya," a bright, pointy variety appropriate for adventurous types, start at around 300 rubles a flower.

Ulitsa Bolshaya Nikitskaya in central Moscow seems to be flower alley, with at least four shops dotting a three-block stretch. The staff at Exotics claims to be able to order anything your imagination can dream up. World of Flowers gets the prize for best selection, and Surprise Salon Interflora, with roses from Ecuador and Colombia, seems most steeped in tradition.

One of the city's best shops is White Lily - it's "not roses," Tatyana said of her shop, which nonetheless offers several varieties of roses. Spring bouquets are their specialty, she added, and therefore the most popular. They have six different varieties of lilies, ranging from 85 to 180 rubles ($3 to $6.20, with prices likely to rise right around March 8), and a range of hard-to-pronounce, very foreign and very colorful varieties of flowers.

If you're out after dark, take special care to pass by Flowers on Sretenka, which flaunts the most fabulous window display in town. Working with renowned Dutch floral designer Gary Loen and the Flower Council of Holland, the shop has made their corner of the city one of Moscow's prettiest.

Inge Boar, Russian liaison from the Flower Council of Holland, said this year's flower theme for bouquets is what she called "Modern Romance." Bouquets should be composed of whites and the palest pastel shades, not overdone with ferns, and "loosely arranged, for a hint of transparency."

Belaya Liliya (White Lily), 62 Leningradsky Prospekt. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Closed for lunch from 2 to 3 p.m.) Metro Aeroport. Tel. 152-2014. More exotica means higher prices. Shop foresees a 20 percent to 30 percent price increase during the days leading up to March 8.

Natali-Flora-Service, 7 Ulitsa Krasina. Open Monday-Saturday (and this Sunday only) from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Metro Mayakovskaya. Tel. 255-9480. Promises every type of flower for Women's Day. Holiday shoppers can expect a 10 percent to 15 percent price increase.

Tsveti na Sretenke (Flowers on Sretenka), 1/1 Ulitsa Sretenka. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Closed for lunch from 2 to 3 p.m.) Metro Turgenevskaya. Tel. 925-0476. One of Moscow's best, with a beautiful interior and professional staff.

Surprise Salon Interflora, 14 Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Metro Biblioteka im. Lenina, Okhotny Ryad. Tel. 229-4555. The usual flower fair, with prices slightly below average. About a 5 percent increase for holidays.

Teatr Tsetov (Theater of Flowers), 19 Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Metro Biblioteka im. Lenina, Okhotny Ryad. Tel. 946-4270. Offers the smallest choice of the Nikitskaya bunch.

Mir Tsvetov (World of Flowers), 20 Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Metro Biblioteka im. Lenina, Okhotny Ryad. Tel. 291-9185. Slightly larger choice than Surprise Salon Interflora, with comparable prices.

Exotics, 21/18 Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Metro Biblioteka im. Lenina, Okhotny Ryad. Tel. 291-4420. Prices like the rest of the street. Tiny holiday increase.