Good Gardening: Flown Flowers

Jan 4, 2021

KLCC's Master Gardener John Fischer says his lavatera rose mallow is in bloom.
Credit John Fischer / KLCC

Hi All, Master Gardener John Fischer here with KLCC's Good Gardening. I'll be joined in a minute by climate master John Fischer who wants to talk about the environmental problems with flowers flown in from far away, but first let me give you some ideas on how you can decorate the table or give flowers to loved ones next month by finding beauty outside here and now.


We still have calendula flowers out back, poppy pods from last year's crop are always a nice touch for indoor arrangements, and the lavatera rose mallow on the south side of the house is already blooming - six months early. Snow drops, the seeds from money plants, colored stems from bare shrubs, and some of Oregon's lovely coniferous greens can all be used to build a valentine's day bouquet, or a nice centerpiece.

Credit John Fischer / KLCC

And now climate master John has something to say.
Thanks John. Flying flowers in from South America is an environmental nightmare. The fuel used during the 5,000-mile, 10-hour flight to get blossoms here produces greenhouse gas emissions in the upper atmosphere. And the exposure of workers to chemicals used to produce perfect blooms has also produced serious reactions in workers.
Yes, public pressure has improved working conditions, but flown flowers will never be a sustainable industry. Even local greenhouses negatively impact the environment unless they are purely solar powered or heated geothermally. When Chase Gardens was a local flower growing greenhouse operation, it was also the number one user of natural gas in the city.
The rose hips are likely still red on your plants, fern fronds go nicely with leaves I pressed this fall, and one of my clever daughters dries summer flowers so they can be displayed all year long.  
So before you send overseas grown pesticide treated lilies and roses, you might ask- is it worth the environmental damage when so many beautiful local alternatives exist?
We're John Fischer with KLCC's Good Gardening.