by Erin Jackman
A topic growing in awareness and discussion amongst my floral peers is sustainability. If you look online you’ll find various opinions about the definition of sustainability. For now, let’s start with: choices humans can make to keep ecological balance.
It is not a topic I can cover in a single blog post- here, or on Instagram. I think it is an ongoing conversation. I plan to share the discussion happening in the floral community, and how we at Middlemist apply it specifically.
Becky Feasby of Prairie Girl Flowers in Calgary, Alberta, has a blog and Instagram series called Sustainability Sundays. She raises awareness and asks thought provoking questions to and about the floral community. One of her posts is titled, Impossible Bouquet. In it she shares a picture of the painting, Flowers in a Vase with Crown Imperial and Apple Blossom at the Top and a statue of Flora, by Dutch Master, Jan van Huysum, painted from 1731-2. Huysum was know for his fantastic floral paintings. She goes on to explain that it often took him 1-2 years to complete a floral painting because he would combine blooms that never could have co-existed in nature. He would need to wait for the seasons to change in order to capture the characteristics of a particular flower. Hence, the Impossible Bouquet.
In today’s world it is not so challenging to get goods from across continents, including flowers. It makes the impossible bouquet, possible. People are pretty divided about whether this is a good thing.
Looking out the window I see snow. Winter time. Living in Colorado the typical local flower growing season is May-October. This is for flowers that are grown in the ground and outdoors. A couple of local farmers force tulip and narcissus bulbs from January – May, and a couple of wholesalers grow lilies, but in general, the variety and availability for fresh local flowers in Colorado is limited from November-April.
This is more or less when I begin to see people making different choices. Some people will forgo purchasing fresh flowers. Others will put focus on dried local bloom creations only. Some will expand their net to have their floral purchases include US Grown flowers. Some may further expand to include imported flowers.
If you care about carbon footprint it is ok to ask your florist where your flowers originated. The top domestic locations will be from California, Washington and Florida. The top foreign locations will be from Columbia, Ecuador, Japan and Holland. Further as it pertains to carbon footprint is how your flowers were grown. What is the carbon footprint of something grown close to home in a greenhouse versus grown in the ground, further away, and that had to be shipped, driven or flown in? I don’t know the answer to these questions but I do know there are a lot of diverse opinions.
I will be transparent with you to the best of my abilities about the origin of the flowers we use in our Middlemist bouquets and arrangements. Middlemist strives for local Colorado flowers first, then US Grown, and then imported. I don’t currently discriminate based on greenhouse growing, mostly because I don’t always know or have a way of knowing. But I will share. I will do my best to provide you with options so you can make the choice that is right for you.
If local only blooms are important to you check out slowflowers.com. You can find florists and farmer-florists committed to the seasonality of blooms grown locally and in North America.
If you want to learn more about sustainability in floristry take a look @sustainablefloristry on Instagram.
Middlemist is a boutique floral studio in Golden, Colorado focused on everyday luxury floral design.