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The Flower in Your Hand

Updated: May 5, 2021

For the past year or so, I have been slowly making sustainable and ecological changes in my personal life and this shift has begun carrying over to my business—and rightly so! I have many new goals, plans, and visions for Taylor Rae Bouquet, but I won’t overwhelm you quite yet. I’ll start with one change that will appear simple, but has had a significant impact already: using locally grown flowers and greens.

Foraging in my area (when appropriate) and sourcing from nearby flower farms has been an enjoyable habit to make. It is important to mention that this change in practice may not always be possible or economical as I have to take in account where we live. Utah has cold winters, hot summers, and a lack of rainfall, so local sources may be too limited at times. Although this may seem like a con at first, it has an admirable silver lining. Knowing that certain flowers aren't available at certain times, I can better appreciate and utilize what IS growing and thriving in any given season. That will trickle down to you, the one’s receiving the flowers in the end. We can all create a deeper connection with our environment and what it has to offer.

This change reminded me of a book I read in college called The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers by Debra Prinzing. Overall, Prinzing urges her readers to help bring the flower industry back to what it was—a green and sustainable trade. She reminds people of the simpler times within the world of farmers, florists and flower enthusiasts. Taking us back to “...our grandmother's gardens, and to the flower farms that used to surround every city, offering sweet peas in spring and dahlias in late summer and cherry blossoms in February” (9). This industry could “slow down” (and it has already, for many people) just as the food industry has—bringing an emphasis to the slow flower movement.

“How did something as natural and ephemeral [lasting for a very short time] as a flower spawn a global industry? And what, if anything, had we lost along the way?” (9)

This quote struck me, and had me thinking, “What have we lost along the way?” I put my thoughts down in the form of a list. You may relate to a few of these and/or have some thoughts of your own to add. Here are a few of mine to get us started:

  • We’ve lost a connection between producer and consumer. Think of the last time you picked up flowers from the grocery store. Did you think about where they were grown, or more importantly who grew them?

  • Without that personal connection, it's easy for the product (flowers in this case) to lose value. If a face or name can't be placed with the person who put the seed in the ground, tended to the growing flower, and eventually cut the stem, it’s easy and understandable to overlook the value of what's being held in hand. Flowers are so EASILY accessible and convenient these days that it's hard to give the product much thought.

  • We’ve lost some perspective. Just as it's hard to picture where the tied up trash bag ends up after it's taken out or where the water comes from that spews out the faucet, that bundle of flowers you have in your hand took a great deal of effort to get to where it is.

To understand the need for “slowing down” picture the rows and rows of premade bouquets sold at the grocery store. They can come across as nearly perfect, making it hard to imagine they were grown in gritty soil, doused in rain and sunshine. When compared to a vase full of freshly cut, beautifully imperfect garden roses—one can then see (and feel) the difference. Pair that vision with walking away with a newly wrapped bouquet at a farmers market or bringing in a bucket full of fresh flowering branches from your own garden. It’s hard to put words to, but the difference in sensations and emotions is evident.

I feel this change of reception comes down to the process a flower goes through to get into a consumers hand. These cellophane wrapped bouquets are bought without much thought on their source, how they are grown, or the environmental and financial costs it took to have such a perishable, luxury commodity in possession. Purchasing flowers from local fields, regardless of the season, helps the buyer better respect the cycle of each season and what each has to offer. It gives the farmer down the road an opportunity to share what they’ve worked hard to grow, to place a new variety of a well known flower in your hand and to bring some freshness back to an innately raw and natural business.

This authenticity, personality and sustainability can be grown and nurtured back to life. Through buying locally sourced flowers, a seemingly simple step, the buyer is creating a more natural and sustainable way to bring flowers into their lives. You can become more involved with the outside world, your local surroundings and the charm of fresh blossoms. I remember being drawn to this paradigm shift when I read the book then, and I’m grateful for the space to make actual changes now.

I want to help you feel a greater connection and appreciation to the flowers you are being handed and what better way than to use flowers grown by our very own neighbors. I’ve been able to connect with several local farmers already through the Utah Cut Flowers Farm Association! They have a beautiful and informative website. After clicking “Find your Local Flower Farmer,” a list will pull up full of farmers throughout Utah with links to their respective website and location. In the future I will share some more personal accounts with these new local farms I am sourcing your flowers from, and in the meantime, hopefully you can create some experiences with them as well!

So here’s to sustainable changes and filling your home with Utah’s finest florals and greens.

Flowers grown by: Wasatch Blooms

Picture Credit: Dallin Sheldon

Cited Sources:

Prinzing, Debra, et al. The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers. St. Lynn's, 2012.

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