|flowers from Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers|
|everywhere you looked that night there were beautiful|
Hosted by the California Cut Flower Commission the evening was an opportunity to meet flower farmers from Washington, Oregon and California and learn about the challenges they're facing as an industry. Other attendees included floral retailers and wholesalers, designers and even a few fellow bloggers.
|I had to sneak outside and take a few pictures|
of the garden
|I really need to make another visit to the Leach Botanical Gardens soon|
|nobody grows mossy trees quite like the Pacific Northwest|
|a huge hanging staghorn fern|
|I met so many wonderful people that night - in the floral coat|
is Diane Szukovathy of Jello Mold Farms, in the oatmeal sweater
the very talented floral designer Françoise Weeks
and on the far right my friends, and fellow garden writers,
Kate Bryant and Ann Amato-Zorich
To me the ultimate local flower is one that comes from my garden. And while I’m at it let me clarify that “cut flower” doesn't always mean there is a bloom involved. More often than not whether I’m buying stems at my local florist or foraging something from my garden or neighborhood there is no flower – just foliage. In fact most everything that is pruned in my garden makes it indoors and into a vase, why not? If I love it enough to plant it in my garden why not enjoy it indoors too?
|and me, with two ladies I really admire...|
Lorene Edwards Forkner (middle) and Debra Prinzing
However if I can’t find what I want in my own backyard (and let’s face it there aren't a lot of King Protea blooms to be found there), then of course I want to buy a flower grown right here in the United States, right? I mean why not? Logic tells me they’re going to be fresher, and thus last longer. And economically speaking why wouldn't I want to support a farm worker and owner here in the U.S. rather than one in South America?
|Lane DeVries of Sun Valley Floral Farms addresses the group|
However, that night I learned "80% of the cut flowers purchased in the U.S. are not grown in the U.S.” – California Cut Flower Commission
|beautiful floral arrangements in Debra's American|
pottery collection decorating the tables
80%! That’s remarkable don’t you think? During dinner (which was an amazing meal from Simpatica, utilizing local ingredients, of course), there was a lengthy discussion about what could be done to change that percentage. Flower Farmers from California, Oregon and Washington all shared their thoughts. The most basic answer to the question is for us to ask. Ask your florist where the flowers they’re selling come from. If you don’t like the answer then tell them why. Of course buying in season from your local farmers market is a great alternative, but not one that's always possible.
|I was slightly envious of her pottery collection|
|but of course the flowers were the real stars|
Later that night there was an exciting announcement from Debra Prinzing, author of Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm and The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers. She’s launching a website SlowFlowers.com; a nationwide online guide to where you can source American-grown flowers, making it even easier to buy local. The site currently says "Coming Fall 2013," but as these things go I believe the launch date has been pushed back to January 1, 2014.
|close-up of the gift arrangements we were given to take home|
|naturally once at home I transferred the gorgeous|
flowers to one of my vintage vases
Since that night I haven't had the need to purchase cut flowers or foliage, the bounty of fall in my garden is filling every vase and then some. However the next time I do I will definitely ask about the origin of the flowers I buy. What about you, is this something you'll think about?
All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.