I love flowers; their beauty is a feast for the eye and as someone who among potted plants has a bad reputation as a killer, it’s most often cut flowers that I buy.
To my credit I’ve become good with orchids(I even get them to bloom again) and a few leafy greens(which I’m really into right now actually) but tulips,hydrangeas and peonies will always have a special place in my heart. Potted hydrangeas could be an option but I was given a huge bush just before Christmas and sadly within a few days it was dead; they are high maintenance in that form whereas cut hydrangeas last forever. Especially if adding some glucose to the water.I’ve desisted from reading Amy Stewart’s book “Flower confidential” because I have a feeling it will ruin cut flowers for me, for ever.
I have been thinking about this in general and an article in the Financial times House&Home supplement also brought it up. The article had another focus(about flower subscriptions; very interesting; sadly behind their paywall so I can’t link: weekend edition 11/12 of February) but the point was raised about how having fresh flowers is such a part of how we live now, it’s considered an “everyday luxury” and arrangements are seen in many a photo in social media(guilty as charged). But how to square that with the consequences? In the end it can’t be sustainable to fly flowers all over the world if they last only a few days, especially not if they are cheap, right?
The article point the the “good value” that subscription services can offer(lower overhead cost and a different strategy for buying) and also that they can work in close contact with suppliers and chose those growers that have more sustainable practices. I see the point of that.
I don’t know about subscription services but in Stockholm there is a florist, Bunches, that aims to work with growers that have fair working conditions and a sustainable practice. They try to make this profitable by selling only flowers in season and in ready bunches. Which suits me just fine as I prefer having one kind of flower in my vase or just the one stem. Hopefully they’ll grow their business and this kind of practice will spread. On occasion I’ve asked for organically grown or fair-trade flowers at other florists and every now and again there is something. If we as consumers keep asking the market will cater to our demands.
Another thing that I do sometimes is pick up the fair-trade certified carnations or roses that they sell at the deli where I live. Neither of them are my favorites but when they turn up in delicious colors it’s worth it. Maybe no environmental points but at least I hope that money is ending up in the right hands.
When the flowers are bought it’s all about following instructions; ask how to make them last as long as possible. There is a special knife sold that gives great cuts and that make it easy to renew it after a few days. Changing water is essential etc. I won’t give advice on the how much glucose to put in water to make some flowers and branches last because the few gardening books I have and the instruction on the bottle give conflictual advice; I still haven’t figured out which way is the best.
The best flowers, not surprisingly, are the ones I grow or forage for myself. I woke up to snow again this morning so it is high time I started making impossibly grand plans for my little balcony; maybe I’ll try some flowers this year?