Flowers, more often than not, can pick up where people's sentiments and emotions have left off.

Organisers of the Flowers Surprises week, the first of ten weeks during this year's Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS), have managed to strike a chord in everyone's heart with this universal theme that has added to the decorations of the shopping centres and brought people together in their opinion on the importance of flowers in their lives.

"It's a way of expression, because flowers represent different feelings. I tend to use flowers to show how I feel, especially when someone's sad, they make them smile," Depthy Warrier, shopper, said.

Flowers are, in a sense, the global ambassadors of communication for generations all over the world, who see this miracle of nature as a symbol of natural beauty and happiness.

"They change people's moods and describe what they feel. They tend to say what people sometimes can't put into words," Moataz Hassan, shopper, said.

"They bring back nature into our lives, especially now as we are living in an age where we are surrounded by technology. Personally, it gives me a lot of peace and happiness, especially when I am the one receiving flowers," Teli Fathi, shopper, said.

Flowers are also seen by many as the ambassadors of fortune.

The global fresh cut flower market is a multi billion dollar industry, with Europe, North America and Japan topping the list of the largest consumers, according to international statistics.

Depending on the types of flowers, the top growing nations range from Europe to Asia and the Americas.

Today, the Middle East region is also emerging as a prominent player in the fresh cut flower industry in both exporting locally grown flowers as well as consumer demand.

"The floriculture market in the Middle East is among the fastest growing in the world. Led by a rapidly growing population with an increasing disposable income, the market is booming for flowers and plants," Stephen Eisenhart, Partner and General Manager, Flowers by Contempo, said.

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Dubai malls have gained much fame with the Flower Shower event that saw visitors, both young and old, under a rain of petals.
Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have growers of fresh cut flowers that include lilies and roses, according to Eisenhart, who adds that most of this production is exported.

"The Dubai Flower Centre Free Zone, which is currently nearing construction, has estimated that in 2006, the Middle Eastern Floriculture market will reach nearly 15,000 tonnes of products and by 2010 the estimate is more than 20,000 tonnes per year," Eisenhart said.

As part of their role as our ambassadors, flowers also have the power to bridge cultural gaps that people sometimes cannot cross, bringing together worlds that share their interest and respect for the simplicity and importance of nature's expression of beauty and serenity.

"Flowers and plants are very important in Chinese culture, because everyone has gardens and they see plants and flowers as representing life, change and hope. Also, flowers can convey what people want to say," Yani Wang, Bonsai Tree Garden, said.

Since the start of the Flower Surprises week, participating shopping centres across Dubai have organised elaborate floral displays, flower related events, such as weddings, and art workshops, setting the mood for the theme.

"Flowers are the language of peace and love. Everything about flowers is special," Raida El Khoury, Public Relations Manager, Mercato shopping mall, said.

Mercato mall has garnered much fame with its 'Flower Shower' event that saw visitors, both young and old, crowding under a rain of petals.

"The flower shower is a beautiful event. It's one of the most successful events of the Dubai Summer Surprises. More people are coming to the mall to see the flower exhibitions and also to witness the flower shower, because it's very unique.," El Khoury said.

BurJuman mall, the host of the opening ceremony of the Flower Surprises week, has been the site of a number of floral and plant displays, wedding ceremonies and fashion shows that have all added an air of romance to the shopping experience.

"BurJuman mall has seen a record number of visitors during the first few days of the Dubai Summer Surprises. It's a 60 per cent increase of traffic compared to last year's first week of events.

"The increase is attributed to the new extension of the mall and the sales as well as the flower decorations around the mall, which people come to see," Sabina Khandwani, Head of Research and Marketing, BurJuman, said.

So, with the intent to bring together visitors from all over the world to come and visit Dubai this summer, the DSS has chosen their maiden ambassador, the flower, to complete the extended welcome, reminding us that flowers are for everyone.