In nature, flowers exist for reproductive purposes. But, for humans, they’ve been a source of awe and inspiration for centuries. For Georgia O’Keefe, they were her ever-generous subjects. In “A New Earth,” spiritual teacher and author, Eckhart Tolle, writes: “When you are alert and contemplate a flower, crystal or a bird without naming it mentally, it becomes a window for you into the formless. There is an inner opening, however slight, into the realm of the spirit.” The giving and receiving of flowers has traditionally symbolized love and a positive gesture towards intimacy. But, as with anything that is produced en masse, the floral industry has negative implications on human health and the health of our planet. So, the next time you go to the bodega, or the supermarket or even your local florist to buy flowers, I invite you to ask - where have these come from?
That mystery is revealed this week during my conversation with Elena Seegers, a designer, botanist and florist, and an advocate for slow flowers, a movement started by florist Debra Prinzing for people who are interested in supporting local, domestically-sourced flowers. In this episode we discuss the dark side of imported flowers, why most conventionally grown roses don’t have a scent, the little-known, but toxic monopoly that is floral foam, the slow flower movement and the leaders of sustainable florals who are making a difference, and how to shop for flowers in an ethical way. You’ll also learn why Valentine’s Day is actually the worst time to buy flowers.
This conversation blew my mind in the best way and I know you’ll appreciate this knowledge the next time you have the power to choose what and how you buy flowers!
“You have to be a very peculiar person to work with flowers and not be fundamentally nice.” - Elena Seegers
“If you have a band around the center of the world, that’s where most of the floral production happens.” - Elena Seegers
“If you want a peony in January, they all come from Australia.” - Elena Seegers
“Scent is costly to a flower in that it takes a lot of energy for it, so that the more a flower smells, the less long it will last.” - Elena Seegers
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THE LAST 5 QUESTIONS:
1. What is your favorite place in nature? My parent’s in the south of France.
2. What is the animal, mineral or plant that resonates with you the most? Salt!
3. What is one thing we can do right now to connect with the natural world and bring more harmony into our lives? Use the greens on the top of your vegetables.
4. What’s the greatest lesson nature has taught you? Interconnectivity. The fact that each being is a big multicellular bag of different organisms and bacteria.
5. Nature brings me…Home.