Sustainable Flower And Garden Conference

Recently I was one of the guest, keynote speakers at the State University of NY at Farmingdale in Long Island.  It was a conference I was so honored to speak because  I never thought I would see one of its kind on the subject of my passions & work-agriculture that saves the environment and its inhabitants,  local farming, history of flowers, and-my US grown flowers to centerpiece movement.

The event is called The Sustainable Garden Conference which benefits their Sustainable Garden Dept. of Urban Horticulture & Design program; however I saw the real benefit as what it brought to all those attending.    Years ago, colleges had no sustainable programs at all much less on horticulture; you went like me for environmental science and forestry-that was option 1 and 2.  Now there are a whole new group of college curriculum emerging in all fields of sustainability across the country.

The presentations within this conference examined:

  • why locally grown flowers & food fell out of favor
  • why the growth of international flower markets dominate the industry
  • sustainable growing for planet, creatures and people alike
  • what opportunities exist here for local production agriculture.

The array of speakers went from landscape designing with native species, helping our failing pollinators , the local flower movement, non GMO varieties, natural strategies for flower diseases, finding  edible flowers, and myself who examined it all as an ecologist,  floral designer and florist owners point of view .  And… how I started eco-green floristry until now.

How wonderful a day was that for me?  Everything I passion and live for, continually promote and work at, in an all day conference.   I joined up with Cornell U horticultural specialists about helping our bees and butterflies, listened on agricultural chemical use, I molded with local growers and those that want to be, I absorbed intently about historical botanical prints and cooking with flowers (cooking has much mystery for me), and I repaid by giving details of all my transformations and advocacy to a fascinated public.

Lynn Mehl speaking on green floristy

Here I am-telling my story

It’s not every day you get to be amongst a large audience of the same mind and passion, kind of like fans at a Yankee game but deeper.  We ecologists and environmentalists think with our soul, not our pocketbook or for corporate growth.   I am so used to being the lone wolf out, that it nearly overwhelms you with emotion and glee.  I was with my pack.    As I always get at these like minded events; I was smitten, and I was giddy.  So giddy that my notes were useless so I just shuffled them around and went with my heart.  It was a rapt audience.   It kind of put me to mind of a Stephen King novel….there really are others out there ,  believing as I that we can do something to save the world-or at least our part of it. .

I came away with a renewed hope that the planet does have a chance and so do US grown flowers & food if we all give them a chance and patronize them.   Long Island was once one of the growing capitols in the East at the turn of the century, and it has seen resurgence with many new boutique food, flower, and wine growers emerging.  I see it also in NJ and upstate NY in the Catskill/Adirondack region.  I recently acquired (yet another for my collection) an original copy of the American Florist monthly from 1919.  If you could see the lists and adverts for seeds men and growers in the US then; in the 1000’s from Illinois to Minnesota to Virginia to New York.  Where and when did they all fail?  One hundred years and now only 8% of the flowers purchased in this country at any florist, outlet, or store  are US grown.    And I have them.

1919 carnation grower in NY

A carnation grower in 1919 Flatbush NY

 I ask you always to think before you buy and use your dollars to send a corporate message.  I do not want my only choice of banana to be from Costa Rica where they plowed a mile of the rain forest for the crop.   I don’t want my only choice of cooking oil to be from an Indonesian palm oil farm that ousted the last family of orangutans to grow it.  And….  I want my beautiful and aromatic, American Beauty roses; not scentless roses from the southern hemisphere.


Lynn :))

Local Grown Fresh Eucalyptus

Discovering About Eucalyptus

 As a new, diva florist 4 years ago, I never laid my eyes on anything with a name like eucalyptus; in fact, I had no clue if it meant an animal friend, a yummy treat, or a vet trip.  It began one day as there was much commotion by Lynn; she was yipping and yaying at someone carrying in buckets & buckets of the oddest looking things I ever saw; so I just had to investigate.    As you know, we canines investigate with our nose and I had no idea what I was in for!  Well let me tell you- it was quite memorable; they were so soft but ever so strong smelly and I wasn’t impressed.  Why would anyone want it in a flower shop?  But with Lynn’s infectious energy I knew it must be something special so I gave it chance.

How To Love Eucalyptus

It’s wasn’t easy for me to like it but as time went by; I learned this plant is a favorite because of that smelly scent.  I even kind of grew to like it for my room now and again as it rids any and all possible odors like my abc bones (already been chewed)  or my so undignified scent when I come in from the rain.  I will also admit that I find it really easy to arrange because it drapes over a vase just perfect; and it fills in the occasional empty spaces in my designing perfectly too.

And of course… the wreaths are really cool because they hang away from your nose farther; canine easy to make-unless

you are like my grandmamma-who likes ready made by us….then we do that too.  I like the mini wreaths-they make quicker than Lynn’s big ones and less sticky time.

If you want to venture into aromatherapy, there’s nothing easier to start with.   It keeps its scent for years if you just want to dry it, or you can steep (like soak) it in oil for a real potent scent.   Lynn ties a little bunch to our showerhead which seems to open its scent gates big time with the steam.  I hear so many people in the store sneezing with allergies-ugh.  This is the best remedy for that.  Try it, bet you’ll love it.

Nothing Better Than Local Grown Eucalyptus

As a eucalyptus connoisseur now, I too anxiously watch for those incoming buckets every year.  The local grown eucalyptus has big round leaves and so soft you can mash it with one paw.   Its stronger smelling and lasts for weeks.   In the winter we get it from Cally (CA), and it is nice but not as paw friendly being stiffer and much smaller leaves.  Except….for the ‘willow’ leaf variety which of course is my winter favorite.

All in all, the quality is the best-the grower brings treats, and it is the longest lasting air freshener.   I’m telling you it is the best.

The Best Eucalyptus Deal in the World!

The buckets (and my farm treats) only come to the store from August to about Thanksgiving so it is a seasonal excitement that you just have to experience with me.  Leaning on the grower last week, I am thrilled to say he and I have come to an agreement I wanted to benefit both you my friends and my greyt friends.  Guess what? Every week from now until Nov. 5th you can have a big, freshly cut, growers bunch for only $12. dollars.  Do you know how big a bunch that is?   Like almost 30 stems!  Wow, this is enough for one super large vase or bucket, 5 smaller vases, or about 10 little bitty’s and one for your best friends area.   The greatest buy!

And want to know the best part?  $2. dollars of every bunch sold will go for treats to my friends waiting at the greyhound rescue!  Love, love it.     He is so nice to do this as these big bunches usually sell for $20. dollars.   He loves racing-so I hit his soft spot I think when I said “race cars not dogs”  hehe I’m a flirt.   So please help me make a big splash for my other friends; this will be so yummy for their long waits at the adoption kennel.  You can stop by any day, sometimes we sell out so you should maybe order your bunches for pickup on Friday or Saturday at the shop.  If you know someone who is sinus stuffy, maybe has an odd smelling place, or with

abc bones laying around….call me-we’ll deliver them a bunch or 2 with a big ribbon.   I looove our nice ribbons-they don’t itch.   My very own, promotion- I like being a diva florist.  Yay!

  Belief-it’s what gets you there….  love & leans,  Willow

My flirt mode 🙂