This just in: more inspiring flower news

Another report on seasonal, local and sustainable flowers — and design — recently appeared in my in-box, thanks to my “Google Alert” service. I have it programmed to find phrases like ”sustainable flowers” and “organic flowers.”

Last week’s link led to an August 27, 2010 article in Toronto’s major daily, Globe and Mail. The headline promised: “Local bouquets offer rarer, pesticide-free blooms.”

She had me at the first two words: ”Local bouquets.” Thank you, reporter Katie Hewitt!

You can read the entire story here, but I can’t resist highlighting some of its quotes. The piece echoes everything David and I have been writing about and documenting with photography and videos:

Just as locavores forage for the freshest food, some renegade florists are tapping nearby gardens to acquire the best local blooms

The organic food movement popularized the 100-mile diet, turning tomato plants and bean poles into backyard staples. But if you can turn locavores onto beans and beets, why not roses and rudbeckia?

The 100-mile diet? Try the one-mile bouquet.

. . . this summer in particular, gardeners-turned-florists across the country have been resisting the imports while the season allows, transforming their own backyards and those of neighbours and strangers into mini flower farms for small-scale flower-arranging businesses.

Hewitt’s story profiles Toronto grower and designer Sarah Nixon, whose perfectly-named floral service is called My Luscious Backyard. Nixon says her clients want and appreciate the “wildness” of her unique bouquets.

In Vancouver, another city flower farmer is doing something very similar. Her name is Megan Branson and with partner Dionne Finch she operates Olla Urban Flower Project - a collective of three backyard flower farms that produce blooms and bouquets nearly four seasons of the year (the Christmas rose – which I believe is a hellebore – is used for winter arrangements). The two Vancouver women also opened a new floral boutique in Vancouver’s hip Gastown neighborhood to feature designs created with floral ingredients sourced from area gardeners.

The Globe and Mail’s Hewitt highlights some of the reasons why growers and designers who emphasize “local” are gaining a following:

  • Their bouquets often include aromatic herbs, which add a sensory aspect to bouquets (she mentions the fact that many commercially-grown blooms are scent-less)
  • The arrangements incorporate unique flowers and botanical specimens not typically seen in flower shops. This gives the bouquets a “hand-crafted” feel
  • The designers (and customers) appreciate the lack of pesticide use on garden-sourced local blooms.

I’m thrilled that the Globe and Mail is adding another voice to the conversation about this sustainable flower explosion. What I find most inspiring about Hewitt’s piece is the notion that anyone who grows or picks flowers can be a floral designer.

Think about it: when you fall in love with a special flower – say a peony, hydrangea, lilac or rose – you want to enjoy more and more of that blossom. And growing those flowers in your own garden is one way to celebrate the joy of local!

SPEAKING OF JOY . . .the photographs you see on this post just make me happy. They also illustrate the incredible beauty and diversity that grows in ordinary (okay maybe a little more than ordinary) gardens.

I collected this group of  flower images from my former garden and from friends’ gardens to use on the “back” of my new business cards. I love that the online printing company allows customers to upload 20-plus images to use in one order. The “deck” of my business cards looks like a flower-lover’s set of trading cards.

And YES, they are all seasonal, local and sustainable.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennie September 8, 2010 at 7:58 am

Thanks for posting this! It makes me feel a little better to know I’m not so crazy if there are other urban flower famers/florists out there (albeit in a different country). :-)

compostinmyshoe September 27, 2010 at 6:38 pm

It is full circle for those of us growing up bringing in bouquets to mom picked from the roadsides….. I love your posts. All exciting and beautiful florals for the senses!

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