If St. Valentine gave a floral posy, no doubt it was plucked straight from his garden and packed with fragrance and sentiment of the moment. This Valentine’s Day, after years of believing that one-dozen long-stemmed red roses equals “true love,” more sweethearts are gifting local and seasonal floral bouquets and home-grown arrangements from America’s flower farms.
The cultural shift taking place means that more floral consumers are asking: “Where were these flowers grown?” The conscious choice to buy locally-grown, domestic flowers has gained momentum in recent years, paralleling the Slow Food Movement.
This year, there are more local and American-grown floral choices than ever, says Debra Prinzing, founder and creative director of Slowflowers.com, which educates consumers about American grown flowers.
“We surveyed 700 members of Slowflowers.com, an online source for American-grown flowers, and discovered an abundance of creative — and sustainable — ways to give flowers this Valentine’s Day,” she says.
America’s Number One floral holiday calls for flowers packed with a message about your values, say members of Slowflowers.com. “Have integrity about where those Valentine blooms come from,” suggests Tobey Nelson of Tobey Nelson Events & Design in Langley, Washington.
Creative flower farmers and florists single out fresh and unique seasonal options for Valentine’s Day, such as flowering branches, spring-blooming bulbs, succulents and air plants tucked into bouquets or wearable gifts like floral crowns and botanical jewelry. Even wreaths are moving beyond the Yuletide season to become a creative and timeless Valentine’s Day gift.
In snowbound states floral designers deliver local romance with what they can harvest regionally. Christine Hoffman of Foxglove Market & Studio now offers a 100% Minnesota-grown pussy willow heart-shaped wreath, while Lisa Larsen of Sunborn Farm in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, grows, harvests, dries and assembles pretty-in-pink wreaths that sweethearts will enjoy long after February 14th.
The best Valentine’s Day florals begin with the source. Giving flowers is a highly personal way to share your sentiments. Your gesture speaks volumes without words. And that’s why Valentine’s Day is the best time of the year to communicate love with flowers that are seasonal, sustainable, and grown on American farms.
Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide, online directory to American Flowers, surveyed its members across the nation and collected some of the best design ideas for Valentine’s Day 2017. Top romantic floral gifts include:
- Blooming bulb flowers paired with seasonal garden perennials and flowering spring branches, designed by Daniele Allion Strawn, JoLee Blooms, Sonoma County, California :: “I enjoy foraging wild-harvested spring bulbs and fresh greenery, as well as cutting spring bulbs that grow on my farm. I source additional ingredients from my friends’ farms in the North Bay Flower Collective.”
- Footed compotes, hand-tied bouquets and vintage vessels, such as (top image) “Pretty in Pink,” designed by Andrea K. Grist, Andrea K. Grist Floral Design, Lees Summit, Missouri :: This Kansas City-area floral designer has limited access to locally-grown flowers at Valentine’s day. Instead, Andrea K. Grist relies on tulips, spray roses, Orlaya, stock and eucalyptus supplied by California flower farms, to create a pretty, spring-themed arrangement in a vintage milk glass dish. (Bottom image, designed by Teresa Sabankaya, Bonny Doon Garden Co., Santa Cruz, California :: Exquisite blooms in sentiments of love, passion, happiness and more are artfully arranged -Posy style- in a beautiful glass Kensington vase. A selection of seasonal flowers and herbs convey sentiments in the language of flowers. © Danyelle Dee Photography
- Sultry palettes that go far beyond RED. Apricot, lavender and silver are fresh and new options. Purple and Peach by Erin Shackelford, Camas Designs, Friday Harbor, Washington :: Purple and peach present an unexpected V-Day palette, with Oregon-grown roses, Washington-grown hellebores and California-grown stock. © Robert Shackelford Photography
- Eco-friendly American-grown garden, hybrid tea and spray roses vs. imported jumbo-roses. These wild-textured roses in a vase are arranged by Erin Shackelford, Camas Designs, with Peterkort Roses, grown in Oregon, pair with unexpected textures, all Washington-grown: chestnut pods, fiber optic grass, mint used as foliage and curly willow. A definite nod to the wildness of nature, from the heart.
© Robert Shackelford Photography
- Succulents and tillandsias (air plants) as cut or planted design elements, Kathleen Barber, Erika’s Fresh Flowers, Warrenton, Oregon :: Lush succulents and exotic tillandsia plants enhance a bouquet featuring Oregon-grown tulips from the designer’s farm. She arranged the bouquets in a vintage milk glass vase, showing three beautiful Valentine’s petal palettes. “The tillandsias, also called air plants, and the succulents, will last years if properly cared for,” she says. Growing information can be found at her web site. © Kathleen Barber photography
- Wearable crowns and jewelry for your beloved. Top: Designer Sandy Figel from Verbena Floral Seattle fashioned a romantic floral crown with pieris, ranunculus, roses, and sarcococca, sourced from her garden and Pacific Northwest flower farms. Photo (c) Wojoimage. Bottom: Designer Tobey Nelson, Tobey Nelson Design & Events, Langley, Washington, used strawflowers, snowberries, gomphrena, cyclamen foliage, dried hydrangea petals and nigella seed pods as a botanical necklace. (c) Suzanne Rothmeyer Photography
- Wreaths as home décor gifting :: Lisa Larsen, Sunborn Farm, Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin :: Silvery and soft, Dusty Miller foliage feels modern and fresh. Sunborn Farm’s design starts with partially-dried pewter Dusty Miller foliage, wired to a grapevine wreath in small bunches. The accent flowers are added and allowed to dry overnight.
- American Grown Flowers by Mail: Stargazer Barn, Arcata, California :: Top: Spring tulips are a fresh, seasonal alternative to imported long-stemmed roses. This red-pink combination is a delightful, modern take on Valentine’s Day florals. Grown in Northern California, these flowers are available shipped nationwide. Bottom: Fragrant and long-lasting, a bouquet of white lilies and classic pink Stargazer lilies will endure far beyond February 14th. Grown in Northern California, these flowers are available shipped nationwide.
For more ideas, visit our American-grown Valentine’s Day Floral Inspiration gallery here.
Editor’s Note: With thanks to Flowers from the Farm, a collective of U.K. flower farmers, for the inspiration phrase, “Grown not Flown.”