Bridal flower power

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Our Environment by Katharine Fletcher

All brides desire a special wedding, where fresh flowers lend exquisite natural beauty to the occasion.
Nowadays, many brides choose environmentally appropriate choices wherever possible, turning to local entrepreneurs for products and services – including flowers.
$100 billion business

Our Environment by Katharine Fletcher

All brides desire a special wedding, where fresh flowers lend exquisite natural beauty to the occasion.
Nowadays, many brides choose environmentally appropriate choices wherever possible, turning to local entrepreneurs for products and services – including flowers.
$100 billion business
A recent study conducted by Global News discovered the international
cut-flower industry is worth $100 billion. Most flowers are grown in the Netherlands (55%), with Columbia, Ecuador and Kenya being strong suppliers. However, growing conditions raise environmental concerns – plus, flowers are flown thousands of miles to get to their destinations, thus contributing to greenhouse-gas emissions. (bit.ly/2T0tG1p)
What’s a bride to do? Enter flower power: choosing local businesses makes sense.
Pontiac growers share concerns
Mariane Desjardins Roy operates Greermount’s Herboristerie La Fée des Bois. She noted, “People do not realize where flowers come from. They’re often grown in terrible conditions where women and children are underpaid, working
with pesticides and other chemicals.”
However, no-one’s advising brides to gather local wildflowers. Species may be endangered, and most wildflowers will wilt and die even if you
immediately plunge them into water.
Trish Murphy operates Beaux Arbres Native Plants in Bristol. Although the cut-flower trade isn’t her market, she told me “it’s quite horrific and largely unexamined.”
Regarding incorporating wild native plants, Murphy cautions brides. “I’ve learned while arranging flowers from the garden that very few native flowers last long in water. Even flowers that provide very attractive long-stemmed sprays — Foxglove Beardtongue, diverse perennial sunflowers — prove very ephemeral. I’d suggest that florists interested in native plants should do an overview of what flowers have some staying power when cut.”
Pontiac producers
The good news is that here in the Pontiac there are florists brides can contact.
I mentioned to Desjardins Roy that I could imagine bouquets of
fragrant herbs with a few blossoms making a spectacularly fragrant bouquet for brides.
She replied, “We produce flowers for bouquets on a small scale, taking some to the weekly farmers’ markets. If demand happens, we will produce more, while keeping our focus on herbal tea production. Knowing in advance when we do our planning in February, we could take special orders for summer and fall weddings. In a couple of years, we’ll have a solar-passive greenhouse which will let us grow flowers year-round.”
She adds, “There are a few farmers in the Pontiac growing flowers as a sideline, so between all of us, I think we could offer a decent amount to provide a good quantity of local flowers for bouquets.”
Heidi Ardern operates Hardy Plants in Shawville. She supplies flowers for weddings. “I get lots of special requests and try to source locally grown
flowers. I have gotten wheat, oats and lavender from local farmers.”
Composting and containers
Ardern addressed other environmental concerns. “I compost all my cuttings and collect recycled items from local families, such as cans to create containers and a lot of plastics to use as basket liners. I have a little workshop where I create unique containers and decorations, all from recycled items and the forest. I help as much as possible in reducing brides’ costs by obtaining local materials.
FairTrade Flowers
I asked these local sources whether they’d heard of FairTrade Canada, an organization dedicated to “green” the cut flower trade and other businesses. (bit.ly/2v5xKFR)
All were familiar with and applaud this organization’s goals. However, Ardern summed up the challenge with using FairTrade blossoms. “Being rural and small means a lot of companies refuse to sell to me because my orders aren’t large enough or the shipping is so high it’s not feasible.”
Local businesses
Check local florists in the 2020 Télé-Pontiac phone directory (Fleuristes/
Florists).