Sep 7, 2023 - News

From Seattle to Westminster Abbey, the Slow Flower movement grows

A late summer Seattle bouquet. Photo: Missy Palacol/Slow Flowers Society

In a sea of unlabeled, imported flowers at floral shops and grocery stores, it isn't always easy to find locally-grown blooms. That's why Debra Prinzing, a South Seattle writer and gardener, started the Slow Flowers Society.

Driving the news: The movement, started in 2013, aims to expand definitions of what constitutes floral beauty as well as to help flower lovers find local growers, florists and floral designers who use regionally grown blossoms and plants.

  • Since then, it has grown into a worldwide movement with members in Canada, Asia, Europe and Australia, Prinzing said.
  • In the U.K., Slow Flower practitioner Shane Connolly used only local and seasonal blooms for the 2023 coronation of King Charles III and the 2011 wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey.

Why it matters: The carbon footprint of sending roses on Valentine's Day, for example, is estimated to produce about 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, per Scientific American — the equivalent of driving 23 million miles in a passenger car, according to the EPA's emissions calculator.

  • But a bouquet of tulips grown under cover in Monroe, Washington, and gifted locally has a fraction of the environmental cost and is just as lovely, Prinzing told Axios.

How it works: Florists, studio designers, wedding and event planners, supermarket flower departments and flower farmers who are committed to using local flowers pay a fee to be included in the online directory.

  • The directory allows consumers to locate flower sources, many who are willing to deliver, by searching city, state or zip code and choosing a category, such as flower shop or wedding and events.

What's next: Connolly, who designed the flowers for the royal celebrations in England, will be in Seattle at the end of the month, headlining lectures and workshops using flowers and plants from the Washington Arboretum and the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

  • The Wholesale Growers Market is a farmer-owner cooperative in Georgetown that primarily wholesales flowers, foliage and plants to professionals but is also open to the public Monday through Friday between 10am and 1pm.

Be smart: Advance registration is recommended for Connolly's lecture on Sept. 29 at Saint Mark's Cathedral and is required for the floral design workshop on Oct. 1 at the Center for Urban Horticulture.


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