If you haven’t read the first part of this post, take off your rose-colored glasses and head over here: (part one) I warn you, it’s a rough read, but information people need to know. If you have read part one, you’re probably feeling a lot like I did and REALLY want to hear about some alternatives to the toxic floral industry.
Well, I promised alternatives, and alternatives I have! You can start smiling again now.
The first, and quickest solution to the bouquet conundrum is to simply change who you buy your bouquet from. Just like you can buy local tomatoes and eggs, you can buy local flowers. Here’s a directory to look up Farmer’s Markets by zip code, and you can narrow your search by item. For example, where I live, for about 9 months of the year, I can get certified organic, locally grown flowers at three different Farmer’s Markets within a 10 minute ride of my house.
Or, if you already belong to a CSA, ask them about adding flowers to your weekly order.
(sunflower farm near my mother’s home)
Another option is to head on down to a reputable nursery and buy flowering potted plants. Orchids are far easier to care for than they appear, and flower for months at a time. In these cold winter months, you can “force” bulbs of daffodils, paper whites, crocus and amaryllis, for a wonderfully fragrant, recyclable bouquet. (note, you have to start several weeks ahead of time with this method. Or, you can buy potted daffodils already in bloom, then save your bulbs for next year)
(pic from gardenguides.com)
For a beautiful, unusual, and easy-care option why not try succulents? They need minimal attention and resist all but the blackest of thumbs. Really, how gorgeous is this?
If you have a little bit of land, now’s the time to be ordering seeds to produce your own bouquets. By planting your own cutting garden, you’ll know exactly what went into (or onto) your flowers, and will be sure to always have your favorites on hand to fill a vase or present as gifts.
(yes, those roses came out of my backyard…)
If you don’t have the time or space, or if you want to send flowers to someone far away, there are several reputable organic growers, like this one in California: California Organic Flowers You can take a virtual tour of their farm and see actual pictures of the people who pick your flowers.
While I don’t personally feel totally positive about this next choice, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a link to companies such as OrganicBouquet.com who use certification systems which say their flowers are grown and picked under sustainable and fair conditions. It is my understanding that some chains like Whole Foods purchase some of their flowers with this certification. My qualms stem from the miles the flowers travel, along with quiet rumors that the better conditions only exist as long as the certifiers are at the farms.
Now for a total about-face, what about fake flowers? If you’re having bad flashbacks to your great-grammas plastic carnations, just stop right there and check out these amazing, eco-friendly alternatives: Bonus, they last for years, with only an occasional dusting.
There are fragrant plush Jasmine Blooms from Etsy seller LaPomme
Or how about these jaw-dropping clay flowers from Etsy seller Debashri? They amaze me every time I see them!
Then again, you could make some flowers yourself. Here’s a tutorial for some little blossoms made from recycled paper bags: Aren’t they cute! You could even write little notes on the petals!
So the bottom line is this: It’s time to start re-thinking cut flowers in exactly the same manner we’ve started re-thinking our vegetables and our meat consumption. It’s not about deprivation, not at all. When we know better, we can do better, and we can appreciate what we choose to indulge in that much more.