I'm a sucker for every exposé documentary that pops up on netflix. The topics that suck me in are those demonstrating in graphic detail how the foods we eat, clothes we wear, and things we buy are killing our planet and ourselves. Some of these documentaries are uplifting and inspire change. And others are foreboding and leave me feeling hopeless about the future. But I watch them all the same.
Yesterday's farm tour and local flower discussion at Greenstone Fields was of the uplifting and inspiring variety, energizing me like a well made netflix documentary to want to try harder to incorporate local grown flowers into more of my work. I've always been a dabbler in local flowers - adding things here or there and mixing local ingredients from farms and foraging with items I get from the wholesaler. While this has always been an important component of my work, I know I could do more and adapt my design plans for my clients to ones that incorporate more local varieties.
Last night's guest speaker, Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers, put it simply that sometimes it just takes educating your client about the wonders of the alternatives. (Fresher, more long lasting, more unique, and quite frankly more beautiful flowers!) Buying local flowers not only has positive ecological impact, but has major economical impact as well - by putting money directly into the local community of growers and florists.
Using all local ingredients is an added caveat to an already challenging task of creating well designed floral arrangements. But creativity is born of limitations. When anything goes it can be overwhelming, but when choice is limited you're forced to re-imagine the ingredients. My favorite practice is using leftovers from client projects to create experimental arrangements (you'll see them all over my instagram labeled as #leftovers) - oftentimes leftovers may not consist of all the components I typically need for a completely composed arrangement - I might be missing focal flowers or greenery, or be limited to just 2 ingredients - but they end up being some of my most favorite designs.
What a gift to have Greenstone Fields practically in my backyard. Their blooms have starred in quite a few of our weddings over the past couple years, and I hope to incorporate them even more in the future. I remember one evening last summer, racing over to pick up hydrangeas from Barbara and her lovingly tucking them in my car, wishing them farewell, practically not wanting to see them go. She loves her flowers - and loving a living thing in that way radiates out into the world, which is a very special thing and something the world needs much more of.
My flower pal Colleen West and I are starting an online focus group to figure out how we can get more local flowers to more people in the northern Virginia area. Want to join? It'll be fun, and you may even get free flowers out of the deal.
If you're not in the Northern Virginia / DC area but want in on the local flower movement, you can find a florist near you that utilizes local flowers in their design work by visiting www.slowflowers.com.