- Author: Betty Homer
I attended Sunset Magazine’s Celebration Weekend last Sunday, during which time, I attended several gardening seminars, including a presentation by Debra Prinzing, author of The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers (http://the50milebouquet.com/). This blog post is intended to share with you, some of the information I gleaned from this lecture.
As the slow food/local foods movement is picking up steam, especially in the Bay Area, the same is true for “slow” flowers. Most flowers which American consumers purchase from florists and other outlets, come from regions such as Ecuador and Colombia, where flowers are grown more cheaply than in the United States; in other words, the flowers we purchase as consumers, have a large carbon footprint. Sadly, the import of foreign flowers has led to a decline of flower farmers in America. However, there may be a change in the tide, as the demand and support for local flowers, grows.
In addition to being more "green" and strengthening and supporting local communities/economies, another reason to purchase local flowers, is that consumers will generally have greater (and seasonal) varieties to choose from. Unlike the flowers that are shipped to the United States from overseas which must be grown and bred to withstand long-distance travel and storage, by buying local flowers, you have access to a greater array of more delicate flowers which would not stand up to the rigors of extended travel.
Along the lines of being more “green,” Ms. Prinzing also discussed how florists are experimenting with various techniques to replace the green floral foam blocks traditionally used in flower arrangements to hold flowers in place. According to Ms. Prinzing, these floral foam blocks do not decompose/decay in an ecologically sound manner and contribute to our landfill. Alternative methods/tools that Ms. Prinzing demonstrated during the lecture for arranging/holding flowers in place of using floral foam, included forming chicken wire/poultry fencing into a ball for placement at the bottom of a vase/container, inserting twigs into a vase/container, and filling a vase/container with lots of foliage. Ms. Prinzing also discussed using traditional flower frogs, which are typically made of glass or metal, to hold flowers in place.
So the next time you are buying and arranging flowers (since most of you are following this blog, you are probably growing your own, so kudos to you, as it does not get more local than that!), stop, consider, and ask about the origin of the flowers you are purchasing. Also, consider employing creative strategies in arranging and holding your flowers in place so that you can have truly a “green” arrangement to enjoy.