Slow Flowers…

Slow Flowers

by Linda Wiggen Kraft

Have you heard of Slow Food? Probably. Have you heard of Slow Flowers? Probably not. The Slow Flower movement is part of Slow Food’s effort to promote sustainably and locally grown plants. Instead of plants we eat though, Slow Flowers are cut flowers we share in our homes, celebrations and life transitions.

Slow Flowers are all about locally and sustainably grown. The Slow Food movement has brought awareness to the deplorable conditions and impacts of factory farms and long distance food shipping. Slow Flowers bring awareness that the cut flower industry is not much different than factory farming. Most cut flowers are grown out of the country where toxic chemicals banned in the U.S. douse both workers and land. Some of these flowers never see sunlight or soil.

The passion and calling to change the way flowers are grown and sold has inspired growers and florists who are bringing beautiful, fresh, fragrant, unique and organic or sustainably grown blossoms to people. Many of these flower farmers are bringing back old ways of growing, along with new attitudes of caring for the communities of life that live in the soil and upon it. Saint Louis is fortunate to have some of these growers and sellers. They provide small bouquets, buckets full of flowers and arrangements for weddings, special occasions and everyday beauty.

Growing cut flowers is not new to the St. Louis region. Cut flowers were grown in greenhouses throughout the area starting in the early 1900s. Carnations and long stemmed mums were the largest crops. In the 1950s there were close to fifty different greenhouse businesses growing just cut flowers. As the ability to ship by plane increased, the cut flower greenhouses closed or changed to growing bedding plants for the garden.

One of these old greenhouses is in the Dutchtown neighborhood of St. Louis. A now restored greenhouse, 5,000 square feet of raised beds and a hoop house are where flowers are grown by Urban Buds, City Grown Flowers. Mimo Davis and Miranda Duschack are the urban flower growers and designers here. Their flowers are sold at the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market and to florists who buy locally grown.

Flower Hill Farm Missouri is an hour’s drive from St. Louis in Beaufort. An aerial photo shows a hillside covered in row after row of bright flowers covering one and a half acres, with another half acre for edibles. Vicki Lander and Jack Oglander grow with organic methods and materials. People can come to the farm to cut and pick their own flowers and veggies. A house on the property is used for special events and retreats. Last year their flowers were sold at Clayton Farmer’s market. They sell onsite and to florists.

Kirkwood’s flower farmer is Katie Fleet, who gave up most of her lawn to grow flowers. She sells at nearby Kirkwood Farmer’s Market and to florists. The Lake St. Louis Farmers Market is where Mossy Creek Farm of Troy sells flowers grown by Cheryl and Steve Dubois. Their flowers grow on one and a half acres.

Two Cherokee St. florists and one on LaSalle St., specialize in locally and sustainably grown flowers. They are: Flowers to the People, Flowers and Weeds, and Wild Flower. Other florists are starting to offer local and sustainable. As more people ask for Slow Flowers, more florists and stores will sell them. When you buy flowers next time ask for Slow Flowers; the growers, sellers and our planet will thank you.

Note: A Google search will bring up websites and Facebook pages for the above businesses. And for Slow Flower growers and sellers in other parts of the U.S. go to www.slowflowers.com.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and sustainable gardens. She is also a mandala artist and workshop leader. Visit her blog: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com/blog or website: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com. Contact her at 314 504-4266.