Sustainable Flowers — Make Eco-friendly Choices!
By Caryn Gehlmann
This month we’re focusing on how essential oil lovers can show love for the environment. We love our plants and our flowers. So the question arises — does it really matter if we choose sustainable flowers for our bouquets? Yes! Essential 3 has a new neighbor in Phoenix, Oregon who is teaching us to do just that! Let me introduce you to Deanna Mulaskey of Bee Sweet Blooms. As a florist, she’s become educated and aware of the best environmental practices when it comes to flower production.
Tell us a little about your background and the inspiration behind your business.
I have always loved flowers! I spent most of my childhood in a rural area outside of Sunriver, Oregon and most of the summer I spent collecting wildflowers and pressing them between the pages of an encyclopedia. One of my first jobs was working at the Redmond Greenhouse where I learned many things about how to care for flowers and plants. It was also there at the greenhouse where I trained with the floral designer to learn the trade. I have worked in other fields over the years, including education after I graduated from SOU, but the flowers always called me back. I’ve learned to give value to the work I do. Bringing beauty into everyday life is important and flowers are a natural and ephemeral expression of emotion and love; a perfect medium for me to express my creativity.
Although I had worked for flower shops for over a decade, it wasn’t until we were evacuated from our home in Phoenix during the Almeda fire that I seriously considered opening up my own business. I felt it very important that the shop be located in Phoenix as there has never been a florist in town. I wanted to be able to be part of the revitalization of the town and I believe flowers are a wonderful symbol of growth and renewal.
Essential oils come from plants and flowers, why should we be concerned about sustainability?
Ethically sourced and sustainable flowers and plants are just as important to consider as when we make decisions about the food we buy. It is important to do as much research as possible before purchasing from an outside source. When it comes to flower production and farming, there are many who use environmentally unfriendly practices such as the use of pesticides and herbicides. There are also other factors to consider, for example, fair wages and labor practices. If we don’t support growers who have plans in place for keeping the soil, water and air clean, we won’t have long to enjoy the flowers and plants that we rely on to heal and bring beauty to our lives.
How can we make choices that are supportive of our local environment?
We are extremely lucky to live in the Rogue Valley where many flowers and plants are grown locally from farmers that use sustainable and organic farming practices. The best way to make choices that support our local environment is to ask questions! Start to think seasonally; meaning enjoy and look for the flowers that bloom with the changing season. This way you can support your local farmers and buy locally rather than requesting flowers that are out of season and need to be shipped in from another part of the world. This greatly reduces the carbon footprint associated with flower production and keeps your dollars supporting local business. I make it a point to prioritize local and organically grown flowers in my shop whenever possible.
What is your favorite scent? How does scent play a role in the flowers you choose?
I love this question! Personally, I will always choose a flower for its scent rather than how beautiful it is perceived. As I answer your questions I am smelling the scent of a flower called Stock, it is one of my favorites! That is another benefit of locally sourced flowers, you get a much more aromatic flower. Many flowers that are hybridized to withstand long shipping time out of water often lose their scent in the alteration of their genetics. Why buy a rose that doesn’t smell like a rose anymore?
Do you have a favorite essential oil or blend?
Some of my favorite essential oils are the fresh and citrusy blends. I love the bright scent and the way it makes me feel instantly happier and more alert. A few that come to mind are Bergamot, Lemongrass and Spearmint.
Thank you Deanna for sharing with us your tips on eco-friendly and sustainable flowers. We’re thrilled to be making earth-friendly choices and for supporting our local business community here in Southern Oregon. We’ll be talking more about this topic in upcoming blogs. To stay up-to-date, sign-up for our newsletter and you’ll get 20% off your first order.