Flower Love

Poofed and preened to perfection, the floral displays beckoning Mother’s Day shoppers are undoubtedly supermodel stunning, but that showy gloss often ends up seducing and guilting us into investing well beyond our fiscal means. That’s not to say that the woman responsible for nurturing us from birth through adolescence and beyond isn’t worthy of a grandiose gift, but there are a number of reasons why going with conventionally raised flowers is tough on the planet as well as your wallet (seriously – mom would totally NOT approve!).

Talk about bummersville: The cheerful blooms available at your neighborhood florist are typically cultivated in factory farmed facilities – most often in Latin America – using copious amounts of natural resources (electricity, heat, water) and toxic growth stimulants/pesticides in order to bring them to market in record time. Oh yeah, and they’re transported by air and ultimately truck, both of which heap further carbon insult upon injury.

Then, sweet mothers across the nation inhale the practically nonexistent fragrance of their showy blooms (fyi – scent suffers thanks to genetic tweaking) while unwittingly drawing in the detrimental pesticide residues clinging to each petal. Just imagine the triple whammy playing out when floricultural workers, their fellow community members and the local ecosystem are regularly exposed to the very same pesticides and other laboratory-concocted floral chemicals in concentrated amounts. It’s a recipe for health and environmental disaster.

This Mother’s Day, allow the love that you have for your lucky momma to blossom exponentially with these far more thoughtful and eco-responsible bouquet alternatives, many of which will save you beaucoup bucks, too:

LOOK FOR A CERTIFIED ORGANIC LABEL

Cut flowers that bear the eco-seal of approval by the Flower Label Program, Florverde and Veriflora. All are far safer bets than conventionally-raised bouquets, since these three organizations attest to their ‘green roots’ and sustainable cultivation standards.

STICK WITH ORGANIC PURVEYORS

If you’re short on time or you lack the focus necessary to hunt down a green bouquet at your favorite grocer or natural food store, trust online sources such as Diamond Organics, Organic Bouquet and California Organic Flowers since they do all the eco-legwork for you – just place your order stat since the big day will be here in the blink of an eye!

BUY LOCAL

Whether through your farmers market or a neighborhood nursery, there are far more local, low-carbon sources for beautiful blooms with minimal chemical consequences. Fortunately, LocalHarvest makes the search for eco-flowers in your hood incredibly easy thanks to their nifty online search tool.

CULTIVATE YOUR OWN BLOOMS

If you live in a warm climate, you’re a natural green thumb and an uber-planner, then this suggestion is a no-brainer – strategically snip your way to a stunning Mother’s Day bouquet that will be as chemical-free as it is wowing. 

OFFER A GIFT WITH ROOTS ATTACHED

Cut flowers are one of those tried-and-true Mother’s Day gifts, but their beauty eventually fades before becoming fodder for the compost pile. If you really want to offer a thoughtful green gift that will keep on giving, a living (preferably perennial) plant is definitely the way to go. For even more impact, make it a yummy variety such as antioxidant-packed blueberry bushes, strawberry plants or fresh herbs, guaranteed to make your mother smile while tantalizing her taste buds for many years to come.

TRANSFORM RECYCLED MATERIALS INTO A SHOWY DISPLAY

If visions of adorably lopsided grade school macaroni murals and popsicle jewelry boxes come to mind, rest assured that you can surprise your mother with a thoroughly grown-up and dare I say glamorously eco-chic bouquet just by rummaging around in your closets and recycling bins for suitable materials.

To ensure that your homemade bouquet reflects your mother’s unique interests, use recycled materials that embody her most treasured pastimes for even more charm and personalization. For example, the pages of old books can be easily transformed into an eye-catching floral arrangement fit for a bibliophile, as can buttons rescued from old duds (sewing enthusiast!), scraps of fabric (quilter!), aluminum energy drink containers (perpetually thirsty fitness fanatic?), feathers (former Vegas show queen?), crepe paper (party planner extraordinaire?) and vintage jewelry (uber girlie-girl!). If she’s a chocoholic, you can even craft a bouquet made with a diverse collection of wrapped munchies that she can nibble on at her leisure – the sky really is the limit!

To add an extra layer of green glory to your gift, prop your handcrafted blooms up in revamped food containers, light bulbs, glass beer bottles, cozy upcycled sweater-covered vessels. Finally, an inventive eco-gift that will bring your mother sheer delight! In the unforgettable words of Grammy-winning, droopy-drawered 80′s sensation MC Hammer, “U can’t touch this!”

Photo: Ben Husmann