Guest Post: Patricia Hall on Flowers

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hello, my lovely readers.  I have a special guest today who will be sharing her knowledge of flowers.  Thank you to Patricia Hall for this post.


Flowers for a Rich and Sustainable Environment


How do flowers fit into the life of an environmentally aware individual? Sustainable agricultural practices and social responsibility are the basis for these standards. Buy flowers from local organic growers to enhance their positive environmental impact.



Locally Grown

Seeking out locally grown flowers from reputable florists will help to eliminate many of the problems associated with those supermarket posies. When flowers are grown locally, they obviously are not shipped for long distances. They don't require chemical preservatives, since they will be much fresher at the point of sale. Refrigeration for long periods of time is not required to keep these beauties looking their best.



Supporting the local economy is another boost for the environment. When good jobs are available in the vicinity, workers do not need to commute for long distances. They can stay closer to home, participating in a vibrant community and avoiding the lines at the gas station. A thriving community that encourages the population to gather at a locally sustained market is excellent support for a healthy environment.



Sustainably Raised

Sustainable agriculture improves the soil instead of depleting it. Flowers, since they are usually not eaten, can be used to help clear toxins from contaminated soils. Instead of contributing to the load of environmentally detrimental chemicals, they help to remove contaminants from urban ground.

The few flowers that are destined for the plate should be labeled as such, and grown in healthy soil with no pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Most of the flowers at an organic farmers’ market could be used in this way. It is always a good idea to ask the farmer directly whether the flowers are suitable for human consumption.



Grown without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, flowers help to sustain the beneficial insects that pollinate food crops. Both wild and farmed bees need a continual supply of suitable nectar in order to keep a hive robust for the job of sustaining food production. With an abundance of choices available, the insects needed for this vital service will have an appropriate food supply between food crops.

Sustainably grown flowers also help to protect biodiversity of both plants and the insects that depend on them. Hummingbirds, too, depend on certain flowers for their food and water needs. Naturally available nectars provide a wide range of micronutrients for these small creatures.

Flowers can play an important role in crop rotation. Organic farmers often rotate crops according to the part of the plant that is eaten; the root, the leaf, the flower or seed, and the fruit. Between the root and leaf crops, they will plant a “green manure” crop that is returned to the soil to keep it sweeter and more fertile.

Green manure crops may be either legumes or grains and grasses. A combination of these is often used to provide complete soil nutrition. Hairy vetch is a nitrogen-fixing crop that sports lovely purple flowers that bees particularly enjoy. Another flower that is great for the soil and attracts beneficial insects is red clover. The flowers also make a tasty snack for the farmer.



Naturally Beneficial

Because they take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, those showy additions to the landscape help in their own small way to rebalance the atmospheric gases. Either indoors or outdoors, flowers help to boost oxygen levels and decrease carbon dioxide in the air.

Recycling flower plants by adding them to the compost pile will further increase their beneficial impact on the environment. The seeds can be recycled to grow new crops of these beautiful plants.



Flowers are wonderful additions to the landscape that add color and grace to the human environment. They are simply good for the soul. In the garden or in a vase, flowers create pleasure and a gentle reminder that life is good.

Giving flowers on special occasions or to cheer a loved friend who is going through a difficult time strengthens the bonds between human beings. This is a boon for the social environment and another way in which these graceful plants contribute to the overall health of the planet.

So indulge the impulse to buy or grow flowers. They are a joy to see and touch. They fill the air with fragrance and the heart with pleasure. When locally and sustainably grown, flowers are one of the supreme messengers of love and good cheer. What could be a better boost to the environment?



About the Author

Patricia Hall works part-time for a florist focussing on floral delivery but loves to surround herself with flowers at any given point of time. Even in her free time she loves to involve herself with everything flora and fauna.

''To me there is nothing more beautiful and global as the language of flowers - it is the easiest to understand all around the world in the same way. That is one reason why I truly admire flowers for what they represent in some ways - unity of all mankind!''
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