Saskia Havekes on: love in bloom

love, or something like it, is in the air – we asked tastemakers to weigh in on the ultimate ways to indulge, from delectable blooms and beauty do-overs, to the most brilliant books on love (with a twist)


saskia havekes, of grandiflora, on ...

Roses and love – it's the most symbolic partnership. Why the attraction? They have a long and colourful history – roses have been symbols of love, beauty, war and politics. The rose is, according to fossil evidence, 35 million years old, so we have a deeply engrained cultural memory of it. Garden cultivation of roses began approximately 5,000 years ago, most likely in China. They were used as confetti at celebrations, for medicinal purposes and as a source of perfume. The delicacy of the petals coupled with the elegance of the stems and the sensuous fragrance all spells romance to me. 

"The delicacy of the petals coupled with the elegance of the stems and the sensuous fragrance all spells romance to me."

- saskia havekes

What ignited your love of flowers? I grew up surrounded by the Australian bush and an unusual eclectic exotic garden, tended to by my mother. She would always explain the origins and names of the different varieties she was cultivating. Sometimes she would let us pick the flowers to make posies to sell on the side of the road, it started at a very early age.
And your secret pick-me-up? A deep inhalation of pure organic lavender oil, followed by a warm glass of purified water with a slice of fresh lemon.
A book about love that moved you: Snow Falling On Cedars by David Guterson.
The most romantic destinations in the world: Pavillon de Madame in Paris and Como Shambala in Ubud, Bali.
As a busy working mother to three daughters –Ginger, Sunday and Ruby – how do you find the time to recharge? Time for self-indulgence is extremely rare and requires good organisation. It does not happen often. A session of acupuncture transports me to other worlds and deep regeneration.
And your guiltiest pleasure? One night and one day at the Mangrove Mountain Retreat [in Mangrove Creek, NSW] to meditate in silence, breath the pure and fresh air, and replenish with wholesome simple food.

Main picture, top: Smelling the roses: Grandiflora's Opulent Red bouquet; inset picture: Sydney-based florist Saskia Havekes, pictured with pillowy Black Red roses. Below left, a bunch of painterly Henri Matisse roses, and right, a signature Grandiflora Red. Photographed by James Nelson.

  2. Tales of unconventional love; her ultimate hit list
    1. 1). Just Kids by Patti Smith: This exquisite memoir from rock legend, poet and fashion icon Patti Smith chronicles her unorthodox love affair with artistic collaborator and soul mate, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

    2). The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion: This quirky romantic tale is the perfect Valentine's Day gift. It had me rolling with laughter one moment and swooning the next.

    3). The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion: A poignant meditation on love and loss that is both piercing and insightful.

    4). Amour, directed by Michael Haneke: Love, ageing and death are fearlessly explored in this masterpiece of French cinema. One of the greatest films about love you will ever see.

  4. ... A DESIRABLE DECORATION Above left: an iconic collectible, such as the Heart Chair by Verner Panton for Plus Linje, has the potential to transform any room into an otherworldly abode. Available from

    ... HIGH POLISH Above right: It's hard not to obsess over Chanel's neo-deco beauty trick – the reverse manicure. For its summer 2014 collection due out in June, the house will launch two of the most wait-list-worthy nail colours: Le Vernis in Eastern Light, 613, and Mirabella, 623. Together they make the ultimate companions.

    ... AN OLD TRADITION A handwritten love letter has surely become one of modern life's most thoughtful gestures – particularly when in lieu of the phone text or memo. More so if it's an engraved notecard by Bernard Maiser, pictured below. The renowned New York-based calligrapher, whose fanciful script has appeared in films such as The Age of Innocence and P.S. I Love You, has created a few of the most beautifully etched and handwritten folded cards with endless love in mind.