Hard to believe, but Valentines’ Day / Galentine’s Day is coming right up. I find it challenging to sell things for fairly superficial, made-up holidays, especially when it constantly feels like the world might be ending, and when there are MANY more important causes you could put your money towards. However, this upcoming holiday - no matter what - spurs people to buy flowers - so here we are.
As you might have gleaned from my previous journal post, we believe in celebrating love in all its forms at Molly Oliver Flowers. Whether you’re planning to treat your partner, a close friend, or your beloved neighbor, or lean into self-love this month, we’re here for you.
Why Sustainable Flowers for Valentine’s Day?
Beyond the problematic heteronormative tropes around this holiday is the problematic carbon footprint of Valentine’s Day flowers. Every February, industrially farmed roses, packed in non-recyclable cellophane, are shipped by the millions from long distances (Ecuador, Colombia, Kenya, the Netherlands) to fulfill millions of American Valentine’s Day orders. Really no shame to the long-stemmed red rose - it’s an enduringly beautiful flower. However, red roses do not grow locally (at this time), and it’s at great cost to our environment that our culture fixates on this out-of-season bloom. In fact, a greenhouse of 12,000 roses, grown with energy-sucking artificial light and heat, will emit about 35,000 kg CO2 into the atmosphere – roughly 10 times more than your average locally-grown bouquet. And according to Greenpeace, roses in Colombia are sprayed with 200 kilos of pesticides per hectare, about five times more than is conventionally used in the US.
The agricultural practices used by these farms - high use of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides - put workers and communities at high risk. The US flower farming industry was decimated in the mid-late 20th century, as long-distance cargo shipping became more economical. Flower farming moved to countries where the climate for growing was more suitable, but also where labor and environmental protections were much more lax.
Local Flowers in February for the Win!
I’m far from the only florist pointing out the un-sustainability of conventional Valentine’s Day flowers. I’m part of an ever-growing movement of farmers, florists, and environmental/sustainability experts that champion “slow” or locally-grown flowers.
Since I started Molly Oliver Flowers in 2011, the number of local growers has been steadily increasing. Where I was only able to source from about 5 local growers back then, the numbers have swelled to several dozen in my chosen sourcing radius of 200 miles. The vast majority of the farms we source from are women-owned or LGBTQ-owned. They are run by younger, 1st generation flower farmers who took up this difficult profession based on a passion for the environment, small business, and working outside and with their bodies. They use organic growing practices, avoiding pesticides and herbicides in favor of building soil health to increase pest and disease resistance.
“Seasonal flowers” is a relative term at this time of year.. Growing outside and blooming? Not happening in the Northeast. However, local growers ARE using “hoophouses” and greenhouses to create additional warmth around crops that prefer cooler temperatures. When its sunny, they do not need to use heat. If it's very cold and cloudy, they may need to turn on the heat for a day or two.
In our region, flowers that are planted in late summer or early fall for mid-winter harvests include Anemone, Ranunculus, Tulips, Calla Lily, Hellebore, Grape Hyacinth, Fritillaria, Hyacinth, and Daffodils/Narcissus. We are limited currently to the flowers that our specific local growers desire to grow or see a market for. Hopefully, with time, there will be even more offerings in the “shoulder months” of the year.
For now, I am happy to put my buying power towards locally-grown blooms. Slow season funds REALLY help farmers cover bills they have for the upcoming growing season - seeds, tools, capital investments, rent, food, and other basics!
Our Sustainable Take on Valentine’s Day Flowers:
Attention to reducing our impact and lessening waste is woven throughout every aspect of our business - down to the flowers we source, the materials we utilize for packaging, and how we handle our studio’s waste during and after production. From locally sourced seasonal flowers to compostable tissue and raffia used in our wrapping, we aim to create a floral experience that speaks to the heart AND that aligns with our responsibility towards the planet.
Flowers have a language of their own, and each of our Valentine’s Day offerings will meet the moment, energetically and environmentally. The Pink Pussy Willow Bouquet exudes softness and charm, while the Rusty Red Seasonal Bouquet bursts forth in a passionate display of colors. The Seasonal Valentine's Day Arrangement, presented in an elegant peachy-pink ribbed vase, will bring elegance and sweetness all at once.
Our Valentine’s Day / Galentine’s Day 2024 Arrangements
Pink Pussy Willow Bouquet - $65:
Embrace the delicate beauty of the season with our Pink Pussy Willow Bouquet, priced at $65. This enchanting arrangement features the sweetest seasonal buds, showcasing pussy willows in their silvery, pink, soft-as-a-bunny glory. Grown by one of our favorite wholesalers on their upstate NY farm, these blooms are wrapped in pink compostable tissue and tied with raffia – both environmentally friendly touches that align with our commitment to sustainability.
Rusty Red Seasonal Bouquet - $110:
Indulge in the rich and vibrant hues of February with our Rusty Red Seasonal Bouquet, priced at $110. This bouquet is a burst of chocolate, rust, and red seasonal blooms, including locally-grown Anemones and Ranunculus (regular and 'butterfly'), along with a touch of California-grown Leucadendron. Wrapped in pink compostable tissue and tied with raffia, this arrangement embodies the best of February flowers, making it a perfect gift for your loved one.
Seasonal Valentine's Day Arrangement - $125:
Elevate your Valentine's Day celebrations with our Seasonal Valentine's Day Arrangement, priced at $125. This exquisite bouquet features the same stunning blooms as our Rusty Red Seasonal Bouquet, elegantly presented in a pink ribbed vase. We take pride in selecting vessels that you'll cherish as part of your own capstone collection. Your arrangement will be packaged in a recyclable/compostable bag with pink tissue and raffia, adding a thoughtful touch to the overall presentation.
Pre-Orders Available Now: Orders close on February 9th!
To secure your sustainable Valentine’s Day flowers, place your order by Friday, February 9th. This helps us sustain our business: by pre-ordering, we can solidify orders with our farmers, and not over-buy… leading to a loss. (This is a common experience for florists on Valentine’s Day as it is difficult to gauge how much you will sell).
Thank you for placing your order in advance, as early as possible!
Exciting News to Share…
In addition to our regularly scheduled programming of sustainable floral design for events, and seasonal flower subscriptions, in 2024 we will be moving to a new studio space - and opening our doors for regularly scheduled floral design workshops for the first time!! Soon, we will invite you to immerse yourself in the healing power of creativity through flowers, as we teach you the basics of sustainable floral design. Whether you're a budding floral enthusiast or a seasoned pro, our workshops will provide a hands-on experience, unlocking the secrets of floral design. Stay tuned for details on our upcoming workshops – a unique opportunity to unleash your creativity and let the beauty of local flowers inspire you!