A growing concern when it comes to any holiday is the amount of waste it produces, between disposable decorations, wrapping paper, excess food and, of course, gifts. The latter is especially applicable to Valentine’s Day, when often-unsustainable gifts like cards, chocolate and flowers abound. However, there are lots of options when it comes to bouquets, and we can help you find the perfect sustainable flowers for Valentine’s Day.
Every year, 250 million roses are produced for Valentine’s Day alone, and the majority are — no surprise — red roses. Since more than one third of those roses come from Kenya, shipping them to the UK becomes a major factor in their environmental impact. Luckily, there are other options to consider. At McQueens Flowers, for instance, a lot of their supply comes from the Netherlands — checking the labels on your flowers, or asking your florist about their provenance, is a great place to start when choosing your arrangement.
Next, consider deviating from the norm and opting for an arrangement that doesn’t involve red roses. You might even end up with something more eco-friendly. “The most sustainable flowers are the Hellebores, purchased directly from one of the top growers in Holland, Sonnenveld. Sonneveld is famous in the summer time for their amazing Hydrangeas and they are one of the few growers in The Netherlands that holds all the MPS certifications for Sustainability in Floriculture,” says Richard Eagleton, the CEO of McQueens Flowers. Hellebores are a stunning rose varietal that is often richly-coloured in either a deep purple or burgundy.
Another way to break from the usual red rose crowd is to choose an arrangement in an unexpected colour palette. “A fun pick is definitely Bryher, which is not a typical Valentine’s Day bouquet,” says Richard. This is one of McQueens’ February feature bouquets, and it is meant to banish winter blues with its sunshine hues and pops of white.
Aside from choosing the arrangement itself, consider the impact of the packaging the flowers come with, too. McQueens does not use floral foam, which breaks down to microplastic pieces and then pollutes waterways. Instead, opt for a vase that you can use again and again for a variety of purposes, or bring your own if you have to. Lastly, to prolong the life of your arrangement, trim the stems regularly and keep the water fresh. This Valentine’s Day, choose a unique bouquet, ask the right questions, and show some love to the planet.
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