Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Arrange a better bouquet

(For the 14th of February)

Cactus flower, Mexico
Photograph by Philippe Bourseiller
A lovely bunch of flowers bought from the florist or the supermarket may have been grown in a greenhouse thousands of miles away (Kenya is the largest supplier of cut flowers to the European Union). Apart from the environmental issue of transport over long distances, the boom in horticulture in some developing countries has a high social and environmental cost. In Columbia, the flower industry uses enormous amounts of polluting pesticides and exposes poorly paid garden workers to chemicals that may be carcinogenic or toxic. In drier regions, such a Kenya, horticulture requires substantial amounts of water and, as a result, overuses local water resources.

If you want a traditional bouquet, seek out organic and fair-trade flowers. Organic flowers are grown without toxic pesticides; fair-trade flowers are harvested on farms that provide better health and safety standards and higher wages for their workers. Look for the Fair Trade or VeriFlora labels, which ensure that your flowers come from farms with high environmental and labor standards. And consider giving a potted plant from a local nursery as a gift rather than a bunch of flowers. It will last far longer.
-from the book '365 Ways to Save the Earth', by Philippe Bourseiller

Personal Note: I think the idea of giving a potted plant is great. I remember when we were young the plants were usually kept in the balcony, but whenever we had someone special visiting for dinner, my mother would have them organized around the house. It made a remarkable difference to the interiors.

Also, my grandmum was a very religious/spiritual person and prayed twice a day. She would decorate her 'pooja' (shrine) with fresh flowers everyday. The speciality of these flowers were that none were plucked from the plant. She would set out with a little basket and fill it with the pretty flowers fallen on the ground every morning.

There are many pretty forms in nature which bring delight. From picking flowers from the ground I once remembered picking some pretty seeds. Some of these have such interesting aero-dynamic qualities because of their form. I thought they would make an interesting toy/wonder for a young girl and presented them to her in a little box. Also shells, or interesting objects you find at the beach.

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