As a florist I am being asked quite often for local product,  of course I’ve talked about this subject before,there is not much local in the NW except in summer.  I did recently make contact with our local farmer’s market director last week to request a list of local farms and what they carry. I thought about my conversation with her, and I realized that we are all so busy doing what we do, that sometimes we forget to look outside our box. I’m looking for product and they are looking for silly is that?

I was thinking about all the growers that are local around me, and wondering why I didn’t know of a single one? Some of them are in my own neighborhood!  It reminded me of the time I needed lilacs, and I called my mother and had her cut them from her tree and ship them to me, they arrived the next day and they looked beautiful.  she lives about three hours away from me.  Sometimes I walk down the street and look at the beautiful things growing in the neighbors yards, and I always think how much I would love to buy some of that natural product.  They have the time to nurture and grow,  I have time to sell & design!

I have a wedding coming up that is going to need magnolia leaf,  & no one is commercially growing that around here, but many folks have it in their yard.  I just happen to know someone who loves to have me take it! I have a customer who prunes her corkscrew willow tree and calls me to come pick it up. I love it, I’m helping her and she is helping me.

My old store used to be in the middle of a wonderful neighborhood community and we used to find gifts at our back door, salal trimmings, willow, cherry tree prunings,  pittosporum, magnolia, ..we dubbed them ” gifts from the flower fairy”..  I always appreciate it so much when someone takes the time to call me and ask me to take their “natural trimmings”  That enables me to pass  the saving on to my customers.

I have a customer who is retired, and he loves to grow Dahlias in his spare time, I buy them from him because he uses the money to buy books to donate to the local schools.  I have another customer who loves to grow calla lilies, I really love going over to her yard and pick them fresh and then pay her instead of someone I don’t know.  She lives in the neighborhood where my store is located. I have another gal who cuts her holly back every year at Christmas, and I always  make her a lovely centerpiece during the holidays in exchange for the holly she brings.

Think about your neighborhood, think about the local florist, the next time you prune your yard and have to pay to throw it away, why not pass it on and give joy to someone else,  and joy to yourself!  I’m sure your florist would give you a beautiful arrangement in return for taking your trash or be willing to pay you for it, if you have cut it at the right time, hydrated it properly and handled it carefully.  It’s just what flowers are supposed to do…spread a little joy to everyone!  Call your local florist the next time you think about loading that truck full of yard waste to take to the landfill!