Environmentally green


Insect Hotels

Insect Hotels…no you can’t stay here, they are happy little homes for bugs!

 

Really excited to be participating in the upcoming Design Contest in September and then having the opportunity to relax at the BBQ,  California style of course!  Looking forward to mingling and spending the day with fellow florists, and sharing a whole lot of creative brainpower with our other floral industry professionals!  Skyline Flowers has been an exciting addition to the Seattle marketplace both for the consumer who are getting the benefit from the freshest flowers available and the floral business community who now have access to fresh California grown flowers as well.

Love this video of Bob Rivers attending to his Bee’s   Bee’s are so important to the flower industry, and I can’t believe how much this impresses me! I wish I could be this fearless, but alas, it’s not going to happen.

Thanks Bob, we need more of you!

http://www.seedsavers.org/

Please consider how very important this issue is to our survival.  Honestly it is a serious situation. If you know nothing about agriculture, this still matters! Please start saving seeds! Thank you for loving Nature~

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/planet-mechanics/episode-heavy-metal.html I posted this article on twitter about 4 months ago, and I have been continually thinking about all of the possibilities for affordable housing.  It’s a brilliant idea.  I watched the original show on planet green.  So imagine my thrill this morning when I heard about a new organization that is taking the idea and moving forward with it, to provide a small village of containers to Haiti!  I was so excited to hear about the project, I couldn’t wait to share it with every one!  Here is their website, please check it out and find out how to get involved in the project.    http://www.givelove.org/

Here are their goals:

Complete construction and site preparation for 50 container homes that will provide housing for 400 homeless people over the next two years…

Develop ecologically sound sanitation, hygiene and composting system for 400 person village at Bois Neuf Field…

Create water reclamation and filtration systems for safe drinking and washing water…

How could anyone not support this fantastic idea?

Lately, I’ve been hearing all the talk about buying local, and supporting mom & pop business owners and I agree that it is important to try and do that.  Recently in talking with some of my customers, I realized that they have no idea where flowers come from, and how buying flowers is helping many families survive in small villages around the world.

Everyone has heard the stories about pesticides and pollution and harm to workers, but for every one of those stories, there are new stories about how the industry is working hard to create standards that improve quality of life and promote the safety of workers.  What workers wanted was for the Western consumers to be their voice , because without a demand for certified-organic and fair trade flowers, the Ecuadorian flower industry would have had little incentive to change, and it’s working. Companies are finally working to improve their environmental management.  What they don’t need is people campaigning for consumers to stop buying flowers, because they are very dependent upon having a market. Same holds true for me, although I understand the need to eat, and if given a choice of buying flowers or food, of course I’m going to choose food, but in some countries, working the land and growing flowers gives them their food.

I invite you to read some of the stories and educate yourself on the subject.  It’s an important issue.

The Rainforest Alliance is just one of the many organizations working to conserve biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods by focusing on  land-use practices, and business practices and the health and welfare of agricultural workers.  They are trying to bring forth social responsibility by working with people who make their living from the land . They are focused on sustainable land practices that do not harm the environment or the health of the workers.

http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/profiles/documents/flowers_ferns_factsheet_eng.pdf

http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/agriculture.cfm?id=main

I was reading this article on the status of agriculture in Africa,  http://www.new-ag.info/developments/devItem.php?a=1029 you really get a sense when you read the article, on  how much of a global business flowers are.  The country has been hit by more drought in the flower growing regions, and the economic aspects have hit them hard as well, since demand for flowers has diminished.  I know the economy has hit every one hard, but in some countries, it’s a bit harder, that little plot of land is all they have.  One of the positive things to come out of the drought, is that it is forcing them to look at new solutions, like hydroponics which reuses the water and makes more sense for a country that doesn’t have much in the way of water resources .  Nature always has a way of taking charge!

My friend use to make these little plush widgets, and he used to talk to me about how people were critical of the fact that he had his product made in other countries, but he was always so proud of the fact that this little village of people were able to make a living and improve there lives by hand sewing these little items.  He loved to go to the village and visit, and see them so happy at having a way to market their skill. I learned from him that there are always two sides to the story.  You can read more about flower growing in Kenya here: http://www.kenyaflowercouncil.org/floricultureinkenya.php

This past week I was talking to one of the growers in Ecuador  who was telling me that roses would be in short supply from their farm for Christmas because they are pinching back the plants to have them ready for Valentines day.  Unfortunately they have to either sell their product at Christmas, and have none for Valentines day, or skip Christmas and have product for Valentines day.  Most of the farms in Ecuador are pretty small, something that I did not know until I became a florist and starting talking to farms.  What is amazing to me is that a rose that you buy on a Tuesday in my store was probably harvested on Thursday in the Andean highlands of Ecuador or Colombia, shipped via Fedex direct to my door and then to you the consumer.  Here was an interesting article in the Latin Times newspaper regarding Valentines day sales.  One more example of how we are all connected in a global economy. http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=326798&CategoryId=14089

A nice article explaining a bit about the Andean trade act and a more about Ecuadorian roses gives you an insight into the bigger issues facing our industry in general.

http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/The-Trade-Commission-Of-Ecuador-In-Los-Angeles-1076023.html

I have by no means covered all the countries that we get flowers from, which I will save for another post. Places that I will talk about in future posts, all the places that we get flowers from,  New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Holland, Italy, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru,  & yes, even the United States.

Don’t forget to make time to stop and smell the roses!


Let’s face it, flowers can be purchased almost everywhere. Every day I drive by the roadside flower tent, every week I visit the farmers market, and I shop the grocery store and I know from experience that they all think they can get in on the flower business and make a quick buck.

As a consumer you need to know that the standards  between flowers vary a lot between all of these sources.  There are flower rejects everywhere, and globally billions of flowers are purchased daily even though some folks think they aren’t functional or even necessary.   I’ve heard it all, “in lieu of flowers” or ” Flowers just die” or ” Flowers don’t last. I really can’t think of any other seemingly useless commodity that gives such delight and sends a message of forgiveness, or lets someone know you appreciate them, or tells them how much you love them, or that you are just thinking about them and miss them.

I’ve had customers who want to send plants instead, because they are long lasting, but I always have to remind them that plants come with a responsibility to be cared for.  It’s a little like buying a puppy for someone. You need to ask yourself if the person receiving your gift will share your excitement, once they know they have to care for it everyday.  Sadly, plants will die too if you do not take care of them.  At least with flowers, we know they are dead once they are cut, and that they are going to end up in the compost heap once they die in a few weeks, which is not necessarily a bad thing!  “Green” is good but make sure you think about the person receiving the gift and make sure they like gardening if you are giving them a plant.  Also, please don’t send a plant that is so huge that the person has to redecorate in order to fit it into their decor.  That is not a nice gift!   Sometimes the guilt free gift of flowers is a way better to go.

When I think about Brittany Flowers, I  think of ourselves as being at the top of the flower ladder, our flower shop is ” design oriented” . We are kind of funky now that we have relocated to our new design space which is way less than our grandiose retail storefront of the past 33 years, but one thing I can say for sure about us, is that we truly care about flowers! You are always guaranteed to have ” FRESH” and have access to a pretty diverse selection that comes from every country around the globe.  We buy from New Zealand, Holland, Columbia, Ecquador, California, Chile, Canada, Africa, Mexico, Australia, United States, small local farmers and organic farmers. It’s a hugely diverse business, and in some small villages and towns, it is the only source of income they have.

We know the flower business, we know how to care for flowers to get the most out of them, we know specific varieties,we know their life expectancy, and we know how to cater to our customers.  Our customer’s have impeccable taste, they are passionate about flowers, they enjoy buying flowers. The folks who buy from us are more than customers, they are our friends.  We’ve been there for the births of their babies and the deaths of their loved ones, and all the spaces in between the beads of life. I really encourage you to think about developing a life long relationship with your local florist. Find one you love and get to know what they do and how much passion they have for farming,  plants,  and the art of design. I wish you a new found friend in the process!

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