Jon Gosselin showed up for a daylong divorce arbitration hearing Saturday with a bouquet of long-stemmed red roses for Kate — only to have her turn them down and later leave the courthouse empty-handed, people.com reports.

But while Jon wasn’t able to say it with flowers, the former couple was able to express themselves well in other ways, leading to a “successful and productive” session, his lawyer Mark Heller tells People.

“This has been called the real-life War of the Roses,” says Heller, referring to the 1989 black comedy in which Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner played bitterly battling spouses, “and he brought that as a peace offering to break the ice and try to bring the war to an end.”